You Should Have Been There: The New Rules of Success for Mobile Apps
Everyone knows if your brand isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re losing half your audience in the digital media landscape. Actually, you may be losing more than that: Smart phone users spend an average of 94 minutes each day on mobile apps, which is more time than they spend on the web.
In the Urban Airship online seminar “The New Rules of Success for Mobile Apps,” Brent Hieggelke and Trever Westerlund kicked off their presentation by ruminating on the intimacy and rapid consumer adoption of mobile technology. Today, you’ll find that one out of every seventh person is walking around with a smart phone, but it is estimated that 80 percent of the US population will own one by 2016. Quick fact: More Americans sleep with their phone than with their spouse!
Although the average smart phone user has 80 apps on their phone, the lifespan of any app is usually about one month. Before you get discouraged that the money shelled out to developers is getting flushed down the digital drain, the presentation highlighted the most valuable weapon in a marketer’s arsenal for increasing consumer engagement and retention is the push notification.
Push: Mobile Relationship Marketing
So what is a push notification? Besides that little bluish box that pops up on your iPhone screen, a push notification is a message from an app carried over a data network that shows up on the home screen of any IP connected device, with or without the app running. It’s not SMS, and no data carrier relationship is required. That’s why many brands prefer native apps to a simple mobile site.Say you walk into a football stadium and your signal suddenly drops. Your ESPN app can still send you push notifications even if you can’t send out a text.
An effective push strategy can drive awareness and consumer action with useful alerts, and it allows plenty of customization so users can choose the type and frequency of notifications. Some brands are using push effectively to send out special offers and coupons to customers at the right time and place to incentivize a visit or purchase. Many have also increased engagement by incorporating rich media and specific calls to action in the notification.
For a mobile strategy to incorporate “good push”, you must remove all guesswork and let consumers tell you exactly what they want the notifications for. Push notifications must be perceived as a service call, not a sales call. When your message interrupts consumers on their most personal devices throughout the day and forces them to fish out their cell phones, almost everyone is thinking, “This had better be good!”.
To guide you through the jungle of mobile app development, Hieggelke revealed some helpful guidelines to help create apps and push strategies to help you best serve your customers.
7 Rules of Good Push From a Customer’s Perspective:
- These notifications fit into my ever-changing schedule. (I have the ability to change timing and turn notifications on or off.)
- This app engages me with relevant messages. (My notifications are highly customizable; they fit my preferences and deliver a great service with day-changing information and offers.)
- This app allows me to personalize my experience. (For what and when do I want a push notification?)
- This mobile experience stays consistent with the brand (voice, design, etc.) and delivers the brand experience I expect.
- This app delivers rich and engaging push experiences. (Rich media, offers, maps, etc.)
- This app continuously serves me in a better and better way. (The brand is always striving to improve my user experience.)
- Good push adapts to my current situation (Messages are perfectly timed to hit me where and when I want to receive them. My app is psychic!)
Wrapping up the presentation, Hieggelke left the audience with a few final tidbits to consider when developing a mobile strategy:
- Enhance the experience with location and context. (If a user is passing a restaurant near lunchtime, that restaurant can push a special offer to a user’s phone and give an incentive to stop in to eat.)
- Use precision audience targeting. (ESPN can adjust their notifications when fans are at a game, and Walgreens can detect when prescriptions are expiring and notify users to refill when they are near a store.)
- Apps are everywhere. The possibilities aren’t restricted to smart phones and tablets anymore. Now we have smart TVs, smart refrigerators and even a smart washer/dryer you can control from your phone.
With consumers now immune to email marketing and spam, the smart phone home screen has become the most valuable real estate for advertising. Media interruptions have been around for decades, and instead of avoiding marketing messages as with Ti-Vo and DVR, consumers are actually opting in to receive mobile messages. Downloading an app and allowing push notifications is like a double opt-in from consumers — giving marketers 100 percent permission to interrupt them whenever and wherever. But with great power comes great responsibility…
The old reach and frequency media model is dead — The model has flipped to give consumers the ability to broadcast messages to their scaled word-of-mouth channels. As a result, effective marketing now boils down to a great customer experience. By entering the mobile arena, you are entering into a contract with the consumer to engage in a meaningful relationship with them and their most personal devices. So go forth and use push messaging — but use it wisely. Always strive to enhance your customers’ lives with helpful push, quality incentives and great service.
Want to learn more about Urban Airship or hear the full presentation? Listen to the seminar recording from MarketingProfs.com.
Tarah Benner is the associate editor of The Agency Post, where she edits content, researches new technology and writes on industry trends. She's a runner, rower and avid blogger who enjoys curling up on the couch with good pizza and a movie. Her experience includes copywriting, content marketing, digital publishing and writing for the web. You can connect with her on Twitter @TarahBenner or on LinkedIn.