Mobile devices have become the primary—and for many, the only—gateway to the digital world, and the growth is not slowing. According to Statista, 41% of the world population will have access to a smartphone by 2020 (up from about 30% today).
Most brands have (wisely) started targeting mobile devices as a primary medium for consumer interaction. Marketers and product managers are focusing heavily on improving mobile user experiences and optimizing their content for consumption on the small screen.
Mobile devices are not so much a channel as they are a new format for many different channels, including apps, websites, email, video, push notifications. While many best practices hold true across different delivery formats, marketers and product developers need to pay heed to a slightly different set of rules when engaging consumers on mobile devices. Here are a few easy-to-implement tips and best practices from industry leaders that will help you boost your brand’s mobile engagement rate.
Have a clear onboarding experience
Providing a seamless and valuable onboarding experience is especially important in the mobile space.
With onboarding, you want to make your users feel valued and supported, but your real goal is to actually get them to use your app or other mobile offering and realize maximum value from that experience as quickly as possible. Making a good first impression is imperative: a great onboarding experience can increase a customer’s total lifetime value by as much as 500%!
Here are few tips for delivering a stellar onboarding experience to your users:
- Include features and offerings in the onboarding process showcasing the benefits of your app or service.
- Make sure sign-up and login forms are easy to use and understand. Integrate with OAuth services like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc for faster, frictionless signups and logins.
- Educate users with in-context gestures and animations on your app rather than asking them to read a long tutorial or leaving them to figure it out on their own.
Leverage Push Notifications
Apps that do not actively compete for user attention quickly fall into neglect or get deleted. But you need to walk a fine line between engagement and annoyance because nothing is worse than unwanted (or untimely) push notifications. You have to be both creative and respectful, and provide incentives and relevant content to draw them back to your product.
A good example is Spotify. They are very judicious about their push notifications, only sending them when they are highly relevant, e.g. when they are fairly certain a user will love the music they are recommending, not just when they have something new to promote. They also tailor their frequency and content based on how (and how frequently) people use their app.
Personalize the user experience
Push notifications can (and should) be tailored and customized for each recipient. You can target device type, device platform, trigger and specific content based on an individual user’s behaviors and preferences. More relevant content means that they are more likely to engage with it, but it also means they will hold your brand in higher esteem and be more likely to engage with (and not dismiss) future notifications.
Two brands about personalizing the user experience in their mobile ecosystem are Etsy and Spotify. Both are careful to engage their users with relevant content and only in limited and timely ways that are tailored to their unique behaviors and preferences.
Integrate SMS into your product
SMS is a highly effective way to reach out to your customers, both to inform them of promotions and to facilitate transactions through the app. It’s also been proven that engaging users across multiple mobile channels is more effective than focusing on a single communication mechanism. Again, remember that texting is primarily a person-to-person communication method, so be respectful and relevant, otherwise, you’re spam.
Uber is a clear leader in combining SMS and in-app messages in a seamless fashion. In many countries when you book an Uber, you’re not just notified by in-app and push notification but also via SMS. This mitigates the problem of data connectivity issues, and enables users to engage through their preferred method.
Another class leader, Amazon allows users to track their packages via SMS as well as push notifications. Amazon uses SMS to mitigate data connectivity problems, but they go a step further by deep-linking their SMS notifications with app or web-based based links, giving users an effective shortcut to track their packages without opening an app or navigating to a profile page.
Recommend mobile exclusive offers for your users
Another way to drive higher mobile engagement is to implement mobile-exclusive offers.
Amazon also does a fantastic job here. They have a mobile-only offer for daily prizes, and they host a weekly quiz on their mobile app. If any users answer all the questions correctly, they stand to win products like Smartphones, laptops, etc.
This sort of tactic encourages its user base to engage with the mobile app more often than other alternatives (like their website), and it does so in a “gamified” way that is very appropriate to the mobile environment. These tactics through either push notifications or SMS based notifications as well.
Make it easier for users to reach out to you
Feedback from your users is very crucial for any mobile brand to succeed. Yet, most brands neglect this part of their mobile app or web application.
The Contact Us section is generally hidden deep into the product and is frustrating for the users. As a result, instead of raising a complaint or providing feedback, you’re bombarded with negative reviews in mobile app stores.
It is essential to provide clear and easy user-initiated feedback mechanisms, but you can go even further and use triggers to prompt users for feedback and reviews at specific moments, when they are most likely to be engaging positively with your application or service.
We’ve barely scratched the surface on mobile engagement tactics or the tools that today’s marketers and publishers have at their disposal. For more information on how to ensure your customers are loving your brand so much their thumbs hurt, contact us for a demo.