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Mobile Marketing

A Current and Future Outlook

What Consumers See

A common refrain in marketing these days is connection. Specifically, it’s about building a connection with your audience. With that in mind, let’s try something different. 

I am your writer for the day. I am 32 years old. I live in the Bay Area. I enjoy photography, fitness, cooking, and a mezcal cocktail. I also lead a relatively routine lifestyle. Like (presumably) most of you, the majority of my week is spent at a computer or on my phone.

My mornings usually start roughly the same. The notifications I received throughout the night are the first things grabbing my attention. I like to consider myself a loyal friend so I have purchased some stocks in brands where my friends work. Robinhood, an investment management app, makes sure to let me know which ones have moved each morning through a few push notifications.

Since I love fitness, I have a Whoop wristband that has left a stark tan line from months of almost never leaving my left wrist. When I’m fully awake, a push comes from them as well, letting me know my sleep data has been calculated. From the notification, they send me directly into the app, so I check out if my tiredness matches the data.

Spoiler alert: data has shown me tiredness is often more mental than physical.

While in the app, I complete my journal about the previous day’s events. Did I stretch? I’ll say five minutes, but it’s usually closer to three. Did I avoid processed foods? We all have our vices, Whoop. Thank you very much.

From there, my notification center is usually full of a few other notifications. The list often includes an ESPN alert, an OfferUp promotion letting me know what people are selling in my area, and a litany of Gmail and Slack app notifications giving me previews into my emails and messages.

All of this happens before I even leave my bed, let alone open my computer to start working.

Throughout the day, more of my most trusted brands find their way to my phone. Instagram sends me some reminders. Sometimes, Google Photos makes sure I wax nostalgic about the traveling I did before the pandemic hit.

Each day between 12:05pm and 12:15pm, Coffee Meets Bagel, a dating app, serves up a new list of potential matches. These ones are often pun-filled—a welcome change from the other brands with more by-the-numbers tones.

Some weeks, I’ll receive SMS messages confirming appointments. Other days, Doordash is sending me a variety of emails and push notifications about my lunch/dinner/processed-food laden snack. (Sorry, Whoop.)

Come the end of the work day it’s time to workout. Whoop again makes an appearance tracking my strain and letting me know when I’ve hit my daily target. It’s the little wins that count and that’s one of my favorite messages. Later, they tell me how much sleep I need.

Everything you just read is true and you probably have come to one conclusion: I’m on my phone a lot.

This is a judgment-free zone, but I’m on it more than four hours a day. In a recent survey Iterable conducted of 1100+ consumers, 63% of people are in the same boat as me, using their phone for more than four hours a day. And these four hours aren’t consecutive, either; they’re spread out through all hours of the day.

Above, I named about 10 different apps that reach out to me on an almost daily basis. And there are more I could’ve included. Over half (52%) of those surveyed are in the 4-6 apps per day range. I didn’t even include my text messaging apps like iMessage and WhatsApp.

When it comes down to it, my time is spent on my phone, in apps.

My Mobile, Your Mobile, The Consumer’s Mobile

So why did I just give you a glimpse into my life? It’s not because I don’t have a journal and found an outlet here.

No, it’s because mobile is a deeply personal platform. The way I use my phone is drastically different from the way even my best friends use their phones, and we have a lot in common. Imagine how differently my parents use their phones! My colleagues! 

Think about how differently you use your phone. Do we have any apps in common? I’m willing to bet not many, and I listed some very popular apps.

Mobile—and specifically mobile marketing—is a window into someone’s personal life, into what they deem important.

It’s high engagement, meaning high quality matters. Most consumers (61%) say a great mobile experience positively shifts their perception of a brand. When I say a push notification confirming the intensity of my workout means a lot to me, it means a lot.

In using 4-6 apps per day, consumers are expressing their brand loyalty to good experiences. Value driven is trust earned and trust earned is loyalty.

Mobile as a platform for a good customer experience is one that taps into the personal. It’s one that is contextualized to a consumer’s interests and how they connect with your brand.

Whoop works with me to achieve my goals. DoorDash keeps me informed of new restaurants in my area to miss those goals. And Coffee Meets Bagel is reminding me why I set those goals in the first place. It’s an ecosystem built by me and tailored by the brands with which I engage.

The Mobile Ecosystem

It’s also an ecosystem that is shockingly fragile, with changes happening swiftly and without remorse.

Mobile is synonymous with immediacy and, in that moment, a consumer’s sentiment towards your brand can be made or broken. A delayed, irrelevant message breaks the seamlessness of your brand’s experience like an invasive species disrupts an ecosystem.

The dominos can keep falling if you’re not careful.

Going back to my Whoop example. A few weeks ago, I noticed a few days of data missing. Not a great experience, but I reached out to the team through the app and was met with immediate remedies for the problem and check-ins after-the-fact. What could’ve been an experience-ruining event became an experience highlight—and one that has since been carried through email, push notifications, and more to keep the positive sentiment.

Mobile will emerge as the central choreographer in this broader, connected ecosystem. 

Forrester

It’s important to embrace the ecosystem that mobile marketing encapsulates—lean into the good and be cognizant of the pitfalls. By this, I mean a few things.

First, understand how your brand fits into the consumer’s life. What value does your product or service provide, and through which channels—email, SMS, push, in-app, etc.—does it make the most sense to reach consumers?

Whoop knows that I categorize my workouts frequently as CrossFit, so they’ve begun sending me information about how CrossFit athletes use the app. Apart from the jokes about how to spot a CrossFitter—they’ll tell you first—this is a great example of a brand paying attention to behavior and driving value with content. We’ll talk more about this below.

Second, when you find your fit, how do you drive that value in each moment with your audience? How do you maintain a consistent, real-time connection with your customers in a meaningful way?

When I order food, it’s the only thing I think about so I appreciate that throughout the whole process DoorDash is sending updates. The most useful one is the confirmation that a restaurant has received an order. I’ve ordered food through other delivery apps and not known for 30 minutes that the restaurant was actually closed. It’s a small addition to the experience, but it can be a real time-saving game-changer. We’ll talk more about real-time value later.

And lastly, how do you bring that fit and immediacy into play through personalization, technological connectivity, and emotion? When I receive mobile messages—even as a marketer scrutinizing every message—my eyes glaze over when the message is impersonal, so I’ll walk you through some ways to connect with your audience.

I think a lot of you will think of SMS for this one—a wide range of ALL CAPS promo codes mixed with lowercase restrictions and Y or STOP responses. SMS doesn’t have to be that way and can actually be a highly valuable channel for connecting with your audience. It starts with your tech stack and comes together with your empathy.

These three pillars/elements/keys/insert benchmark-term-here are how you can make sure the mobile ecosystem of your brand is one viewed as worth inhabiting. Let’s take a look at how you can find your fit, win each moment, and prioritize connections. And an example of each.

As consumers, we’ve always treated our phone lock screens as highly-personal real estate. Until recently we operated in an opt-out world, relying on ad blockers and spam folders. We’re shifting to a world where the most relevant digital touchpoints are opt-in. As businesses, that means we have to provide a clear value with every communication —especially if we want to reach that lock screen.

Lisa Martin

VP of ISV Sales, Twilio

Find Your Fit

There’s a quote floating around the interwebs that I’ve seen attributed to a few people, but the sentiment is really what matters: If your presence doesn’t add value, your absence won’t make a difference.

Brutal, but effective and extremely accurate when it comes to mobile marketing.

Consumers are flying through apps at an incredible rate. If yours isn’t adding value, a consumer’s life won’t be impacted one way or the other when they delete the app. Whether you’ve built your app already or are in the process of development, you have to understand your role in the consumer’s life.

This understanding, however, doesn’t come from looking at mobile activity and behaviors in a silo. You likely have a rich history of data from email analytics, desktop behavior, in-store insights, and more. The channels are seemingly endless, but the insights to glean from each matter in how you approach something like mobile marketing.

Just as highly-relevant, well-timed, targeted communications have the potential to delight users, a poorly-targeted, irrelevant message sent via the wrong channel or at the wrong time may result in user opt-out from the messaging channel, or—worse—the user may uninstall the app altogether.

Winning brands know the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with their users, based on a mutual exchange of value. These brands work tirelessly to develop and maintain good opt-in rates for push and email in particular, since they understand the importance of these channels.

These brands view lifecycle communications as an ongoing process that is never finished. They constantly strive to increase the level of personalization and immediacy of CRM messages and ensure maximum alignment with their users’ needs and expectations.

Andy Carvell

Partner, Phiture Mobile Growth Consultancy

When finding your fit, ask yourself these questions:

How personal is our relationship with our customers across channels?

What type of relationship do we want to have with our customers?

What type of relationship do our customers want, need, and expect from us?

And what will it take to deliver that relationship?

How personal is our relationship with our customers across channels?

What type of relationship do we want to have with our customers?

What type of relationship do our customers want, need, and expect from us?

And what will it take to deliver that relationship?

Like any relationship, it starts with looking introspectively to understand what value you can deliver to make sure that your presence makes a difference.

Getting Started with Iterable

Questions are great, but answers are pretty nice too, right? Here’s how you can start finding that right fit to set yourself up to deliver that relationship.

Iterable—and our extensive partner ecosystem—is here to help.

1

Workflow Studio: No stone goes unturned in Workflow Studio. You can make sure that your whole lifecycle is planned down to the smallest detail. You can jump from email to SMS to push and back easily so your users never miss a thing.

2

Native Mobile Capabilities: “This is really cool, but I wish I could do…” Scrap this from your mobile marketing vocab with native capabilities across SMS, push, in-app, and mobile inbox to customize as you see fit, saving you time, resources, and headaches.

3

Experiments: You’re great, but you’re not perfect. Test, tune, and refine your messaging for maximum value easily in Iterable to find the secret sauce.

Yeah, You Would Say That

Yes, yes, we would say that, and can you blame us? But since you’re clearly skeptical, here’s what Stitcher, a leader in all things podcast, found when they took these principles and applied them.

They were challenged with something I can comfortably say almost every mobile marketer faces: retaining first-time users of their app. The team looked at backend listening and app behavior data to identify “at-risk” churn windows and addressed these with more personalized push notifications.

Stitcher also leveraged the same data to strengthen onboarding campaigns, enhance reactivation workflows, and personalize re-engagement campaigns. Essentially, they built targeted content across the customer lifecycle—the Holy Grail.

In doing so, Stitcher is ensuring listeners are getting access to podcasts they actually want to listen to. Consumer trust earned. Bottom-line value earned. 

Win The Moment

Timing matters. In the grand scheme of things, the best relationships happen due to a confluence of events—the most important of which is timing.

For mobile marketers, the immediacy of mobile usage means getting that “meet-cute” right, and sustaining the relationship for each and every moment from there on out, is paramount.

Ill-timed, off-base, or out-of-context messages can derail a developing experience faster than it takes you to set up that fateful SMS. That’s why it’s imperative that you understand the engagement timeline.

Opening

There’s no opening with the close here. Your customers are neutral to positive about your brand at the start so keep your initial contacts fun, enjoyable, and welcoming. They’re your valued guest. Pretend the Queen of England just signed up for your push.

Ascending

Keep the good times rolling. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Other clichés. Engagement here comes from branching out to your cross-channel experience to make sure customers understand the breadth of how you can take care of them.

Opportune

This is the most connected they will be with your brand. They’re locked and loaded and ready for the best you’ve got. Here, your goal is to remain connected with them as they are with your brand. In this stage, it’s absolutely critical you pay attention to meaningful conversion signals like extensive browsing or cart abandonment.

Declining

Ruts happen. It’s only natural. At this stage, maybe the customer’s interest is waning a bit. They’re visiting less often and for shorter periods of time. Think: your visits to your parents (give them a call when you’re done reading this). Much like in Opportune, here you should keep an eye on disengagement signals like interaction gaps and full dismissals of content.

Closing

Last, but certainly not least, we come to the close. Here, we’re in full avoidance mode. Practicing our best Jasper, the not-so-friendly ghost impression. They’ve put everything you own in a box to the left. Unsubscribes and opt-outs are imminent.

This timeline isn’t necessarily new to marketers, but it’s one that is extremely important to remember. Print it out and staple it to your wall because when you understand at the individual level which stage your customers are at, you can act immediately and win that ever-crucial moment.

Timing is crucial, and you need to meet your customer or prospect exactly where they are in order to optimize their experience. But how?

Iterable and Adjust work together to optimize your mobile marketing. With a Mobile Measurement Partner like Adjust, you can find out to a high degree of accuracy where your users are located, how they discovered your app, how they use your app, how much you paid to acquire them, and much more.

Data you receive through Adjust, such as attribution data for installs, in-app revenue data, and in-app events data, can be automatically sent to Iterable and linked to your data there. This gives you the insight to focus your efforts on the marketing efforts that are working, cut those that aren’t, and tailor your engagement with customers and prospects to exactly where they are.

With the visibility and automation provided by Adjust and Iterable, you can win the moment for each customer—over and over again.

Lokesh Bidhan

Senior Director of Partnerships, Adjust

Getting Started with Iterable

Timing is everything when you’re trying to win a series of important moments with hundreds/ thousands/ millions of customers every day.

Iterable takes some of that stress off your hands by making it easy to synthesize those moments that make a memorable customer experience.

1

Real-Time Data: Everybody loves attention; it’s a matter of finding out which type they like. A real-time data environment lets you respond quickly with relevant content. Don’t fall behind.

2

Scale with Dynamic Content: Not all data is useful, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Employ your whole data set for scalable, dynamic personalization—no siloes, no irrelevant content.

3

Flexibility: Things change, so Iterable’s platform flexibility allows for the customer journey you envision—no matter the circumstance. 

Yeah, You Would Say That

Take a seat. Let’s grab a cup of coffee.

Blue Bottle Coffee makes a mean cuppa, but their guest-centric experiences in store were anything but mean. As they expanded their stores, e-commerce, and mobile businesses, they wanted to make sure every customer got the VIP treatment regardless of where they interacted with Blue Bottle.

With Iterable and Segment at the heart of their martech stack, Blue Bottle was able to incorporate different blends of cross-business browsing, purchase, and user profile data to create deeply personal interactions whenever and wherever the customer was. Peep the deets.

Embrace Connection

Connection is a versatile word. It can be used to indicate strength, like referring to humankind’s—sometimes unnaturally strong—connections to their dogs. But it can also be used to indicate weakness, like the tenuous connection that dog metaphor made.

Marketers have a strong, strong connection to the past. We look at historical data. We use platforms and technologies that we know. It’s human nature to gravitate towards what you already know, which inherently is the past.

The future of mobile, unlike most future outlooks, seems to be a certainty—one full of growth and advancement. So as we consider the learnings of our pasts, so too must we consider the potential of the future and build with that in mind.

To round out our discussion about the mobile marketing ecosystem, it’s important to understand the importance of connecting our past—and our data—to what we want to see from our future.

Leverage

This starts with leveraging the tools that complement your desired operational objectives. Digital transformation happened at a blistering pace thanks to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean your systems can’t be set up to empower near-term and long-term growth.

Unify

We should not maintain a strong connection to our pasts of siloed data sources. That’s how we end up in the Declining and Closing stages of engagement. Build out your tech stacks to unify the insights from all data sources. Holistic visibility is the secret to personalized customer interactions.

Engage

Connect with your audience. You have the tools and the visibility. Capitalize on these connections to build deeper ones with each customer.

Mobile is neither an afterthought nor the half-sibling of email and desktop. The connection between the two runs much deeper than we are led to believe. Keeping this connection in sight keeps your connection with your customers stronger than ever.

A Word About Emotion

The world has been forced into a reality where digital connection is often more common than a physical one. As marketers, it’s vital that emotion and empathy can be conveyed through the screen. Like I said above, mobile is a personal, intimate experience.

Are you more likely to connect with the SMS that says, “20% DISCOUNT. Offer ends 8/17 11:00pm. Restrictions apply. Reply STOP to unsubscribe” or one that shows a bit of empathy and understanding, “The pandemic has been hard. Send a gift to a loved one with this 20% off coupon.”

Human connection wins out. Every. Time.

A Word About Emotion

The world has been forced into a reality where digital connection is often more common than a physical one. As marketers, it’s vital that emotion and empathy can be conveyed through the screen. Like I said above, mobile is a personal, intimate experience.

Are you more likely to connect with the SMS that says, “20% DISCOUNT. Offer ends 8/17 11:00pm. Restrictions apply. Reply STOP to unsubscribe” or one that shows a bit of empathy and understanding, “The pandemic has been hard. Send a gift to a loved one with this 20% off coupon.”

Human connection wins out. Every. Time.

Getting Started with Iterable

Certain aspects of marketing are tough and will stay tough. Standing out amongst the ever-increasing sea of brands? That likely won’t be much easier moving forward.

Setting your team up for success with a strong technological infrastructure? That part is a bit easier. Iterable and our partners have you covered.

1

Easy Integration: You would love my friend. I’ll set you two up. We have comprehensive documentation, SDK toolkits, and native integrations that make it easy and efficient to implement and integrate new mobile channels.

2

Channel Personalization: No channel is left behind. Important data captured across all sources is consolidated and activated for personalized mobile and cross-channel use.

3

Mobile for the Future: Build for that future I talked about. Our platform extensibility simplifies the flexibility and adaptability to power memorable experiences.

Yeah, You Would Say That

Sometimes you need to hear it from a coach.

At the start of the pandemic, UK-based subscription fitness app Fiit had been doing well, but growth of 300% YoY took them by surprise. In particular, they were challenged with optimizing the onboarding process at scale and for a new persona: the fitness lifestyle folks who had discretionary spending for fitness.

Fiit used in-app for active users, and email and push notifications for the onboarding process. To see how they could better connect with their audience members, they tapped Iterable Experiments to combine behavior with context to see what works best. From these experiments, Fiit saw first-day activations jump from 58% to 70%, and, most importantly, trial-to-paid conversions increased from 56% to 65%!

A Mobile Experience Wholly Your Own

My phone plays an integral role in how I stay connected. It’s often how I build connections. It’s my go-to when I have a problem I need to solve. It’s my friend.

Ok, that last part is not true, but the sentiment isn’t far off. When I’m using my phone, I do it in a way that is unique to me; it’s an experience wholly my own.

Mobile usage, like just about everything else in life, is a series of moments, a string of decisions put together to create a memory. Marketers who want to make the most of mobile marketing would be wise to understand this. You have to fit into the customer’s life, win every moment to make sure those micro-decisions lead back to you, and embrace the idea of connection.

Because when you do, your brand will be a connection worth maintaining…over and over again.

About Iterable

Iterable is a cross-channel platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize, and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Zillow, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Visit iterable.com for more information.

Your data when you need it. Where you need it.

Integrate all your data silos with Iterable to orchestrate seamless campaigns and easily send messages across all the channels your customers prefer.

Trusted By:

Understand your customers as the individuals they are.

Go beyond segmentation and really know your customers based on all their demographic, lifecycle, and behavioral data directly on the user profile.

Take away the busywork. Unleash your creativity.

Iterable AI helps you decide when to send a message and how often to engage—so you can focus on building engaging campaigns for customers.

Grow better with analytics and experimentation.

Get all the analytics you need to make better decisions and iterate more quickly through experimentation across the entire customer journey.

Your data when you need it. Where you need it.

Integrate all your data silos with Iterable to orchestrate seamless campaigns and easily send messages across all the channels your customers prefer.

Understand your customers as the individuals they are.

Go beyond segmentation and really know your customers based on all their demographic, lifecycle, and behavioral data directly on the user profile.

Take away the busywork. Unleash your creativity.

Iterable AI helps you decide when to send a message and how often to engage—so you can focus on building engaging campaigns for customers.

Grow better with analytics and experimentation.

Get all the analytics you need to make better decisions and iterate more quickly through experimentation across the entire customer journey.

Trusted By:

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