Illustration of hand holding magnet attracting mobile engagement

5 World-Class Ways to Increase Mobile Engagement

Growing your mobile engagement is oftentimes more “art than science” but like most art forms, mimicking what the pros do can make a huge difference.

With the right strategy and technology, you can increase mobile engagement across push notifications, in-app messages, permissions, personalization and more.

In this blog post, we’ll cover how world-class apps create easy wins and overcome difficult technical challenges so you can increase your mobile engagement right out of the gate in 2019.

Increase Mobile Engagement Like a Pro With These 5 Strategies

1. Share News and Articles With In-App Messaging
Robinhood mobile engagement

Robinhood shares product updates via in-app message.

Mobile apps have a notoriously difficult time keeping users engaged. Ideally, you should have multiple reasons for people to check your app daily.

Robinhood amazingly executes on this concept by having a news banner right on the homepage of the app.  This new content will keep users engaged on a daily basis. It also reinforces the idea that Robinhood is up-to-date on market trends and ahead of news cycles.

Some example of news and in-app messaging content that you can include are relevant articles, influencer blog posts or reviews of similar products.

Iterable tip: if you don’t want to build your own end-to-end in-app messaging (which no one would blame you for), you can simply use Iterable’s in-app messaging as a starting point to allow your marketing team to send out all the news, content or recommendations your users want.

2. Ask for Permission Before Asking For Permission
LetGo mobile engagement

LetGo uses custom push notification permissions.

If you’re an iOS user, you’ve probably downloaded an app and the first thing that pops up after opening the app is a notification asking for your permission to receive push notifications. For most users, “Don’t Allow” is their go-to button.

The numbers speak for themselves with only 40% of iOS users opting to receive push notifications, which instantly isolates the majority of your users on a powerful (and free) marketing channel.

Asking their permission with the default iOS operating system pop-up is not a good idea, since it can only be asked once in a user’s lifetime—even across all of their devices. In fact, the user has to click four times to navigate inside their Settings to turn your notifications back on! Most likely they won’t go through the trouble so best to avoid it.

A better idea which LetGo utilizes is to actually “wrap” the operating system permission pop-up with your own custom pop-up that asks the user at a more appropriate time. If they refuse, you can always re-ask on a later launch or after a key event.

Iterable tip: An even better idea is to use Iterable’s A/B testing to determine the best time in the user journey to ask for their permission to receive notifications.

For example, you may want half your users to receive the custom pop-up once they’ve launched the app and the other half may receive a custom pop-up once they’ve logged in and built their profile for the first time. This way you can maximize the number of users who receive your push notifications.

3. Make Users Take Action With Actionable Push
Venmo mobile engagement

Venmo encourages mobile engagement with Push Action Buttons.

Push notifications have historically not been that popular with users because they are oftentimes guilty of spamming a home screen with content that is, frankly, not useful.

Wishing your users a happy New Year via push notification may seem like a nice gesture, but if there’s no action around it, it may result in them muting push and decreasing their mobile engagement.

A better technique is to make sure your push notifications save time while providing value through Actionable Push Notifications. Actionable Push Notifications differentiate your notifications by adding Push Action Buttons to the interface. These buttons can be for almost anything but it’s recommended to add actions that save your users time and effort.

One really useful example by Venmo is allowing a user to comment on recent transactions or pay right from the home screen without having to jump into the app.  This Push Action Button reinforces Venmo as your go-to payment method and creates mobile engagement by being the most efficient payment app on the market.

Iterable tip: Setting up Actionable Push from scratch can take a chunk of your mobile engineer’s time—so to move towards a better user engagement model faster, Iterable has built the ability to create Actionable Push right from the dashboard.

This feature will cut your development time 10x so you can focus on marketing.

4. In-App Promotions Drive Users Back For More
eBay mobile engagement

eBay’s in-app message promotes their latest deals.

In-app messages, which allow customized pop-up notifications when a user opens an application, have been slow to catch on in many parts of the mobile space. However, they offer an amazing marketing channel for coupons, promotions and flash sales.

The mobile gaming industry, which is often considered the most sophisticated app vertical, has widely exploited in-app messages for promotions because of the channel’s ability to maintain engagement for users who have short attention spans.

Once a user opens your app, they show immediate intent but, inevitably, a portion of your users will drop off without performing any of your key performance indicators.

By offering your users a hot sale or temporary promotional code you can almost guarantee some incremental lift (incremental lift is earnings you wouldn’t have gained without a specific campaign).  eBay accomplishes this in the awesome 70% promotional sale pictured.

A best practice is to have the logic for the promotional sale on the backend so that you can sunset the promotion or change it towards a seasonal offering without having to update the application.

To take things one step further, you will want to not only measure your incremental lift with analytics but also test which campaigns are creating more conversions by A/B testing the promotional content.

Surprisingly, even the slightest of design changes can dramatically increase mobile engagement (like when Airbnb changed its save icon from a star to a heart and increased conversions by 30%).

Iterable tip: Building all of this in-house is technically time-consuming, but luckily Iterable offers both A/B testing and in-app open analytics as part of its standard integration.

5. Make Push Notifications Personal to Your Users
Yelp mobile engagement

Yelp personalizes mobile push with local eateries.

Personalizing push notifications can be as simple or as sophisticated as you want, but the right technological choice depends on your business.

Here is a list of personalized push examples in order of difficulty:

  • An alert to complete user onboarding. This is simple and can be done directly from the app without the need of a backend or third-party vendor.
  • How my stock is doing on a day-to-day basis. This is straightforward because it’s just one query based on the user’s profile.
  • Recommended jobs in a user’s area. This is slightly more challenging as you need to know both the user’s location and the job location.
  • Specific product recommendations based on past orders and user demographics. This is difficult to do properly and can be quite sophisticated by adding a machine learning model.

Yelp does a great job of personalizing push notifications by sending me information about a new steakhouse within a mile of my house. I’ve already put this restaurant on my must-try list!

However, it’s worth noting that even if it looks easy, personalizing push notifications can be tricky.  Your development team has to not only know what content is most personal to your user, but they also have to know the best time of send and validate that the data is up-to-date with your system (or vendor’s system).

Iterable tip: Iterable has customers utilizing all of the above use cases by using Iterable Data Feeds.  This tool enables your team to make sure all of the push notifications sent to your users match what you have in your internal database and are personalized to individual users at the time of send.

Mobile Engagement Made Easy

We covered five world-class ways to increase mobile engagement—any one of these strategies can make all the difference for your conversions.

To learn more about getting started with personalized push notifications, in-app messages and more, please reach out with your questions and comments. Feel free to request a demo or drop me an email at bryan.marks@iterable.com—we’d love to hear your feedback!

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