As a stalwart of the email marketing and deliverability world I’m always interested to read best practice documents, mobile design guides and naturally the unavoidable vendor selection guides that come out from numerous sources. The most recent guide from ClickMail Marketing includes a section on mobile–it’s important for any company looking for an ESP (email service provider) to consider the ‘mobile capabilities’ of a potential vendor. This is great, it’s important to consider, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. [Read more...]
GPS on a mobile phone allows app publishers to deliver more relevant content and drive mobile engagement by establishing where a user is through their GPS coordinates or their IP (if they haven’t opted in to share their GPS coordinates.) There’s been a great deal of excitement around iBeacon technology to deliver targeted offers to mobile users in-store via proximity based devices.
A recent survey by Retale found that 71% of mobile app users say they don’t like the idea of being tracked into a store via their smartphones. The data points to the fact that either marketers are not thinking about the many nuances involved in effective marketing via geo location or they are perhaps being too aggressive in their approach. Geo sounds great, numerous companies tout the benefits, but let’s think about the steps necessary to engage users via Geo.
Mobile Engagement via Geo Location
For a retailer, or marketer or any app publisher for that matter to engage their audience through geo location based messages a few things have to happen first:
- The mobile user has to opt in to receive notifications (This is the 1st form of opt in)
- The mobile user has to share his or her GPS location (This is effectively the 2nd form of opt in)
- At this you have a double opted in user that is open to receive geo based offers. The user has to cross a geo-boundary to trigger a message (Let’s hope that the constant pinging of the location doesn’t drain his or her battery)
- For iBeacon to work the mobile user has to have bluetooth enabled. For anyone with a device older than 3 days you know that bluetooth tends to drain the device’s battery very quickly.
- If iBeacon’s are in the store then the only way to really inform the user of the device, and potential offer, is to make sure their bluetooth is enabled via analog signage upon entering the store. (Let’s hope they’re not staring at their phone as they walk in.)
- All previous conditions should probably be true… and maybe, if you were really on top of your game, you emailed them about the in-store offers via iBeacon.
Today we published our Mobile Retail Study: an exhaustive review of the top 500 Internet Retailers and how they use native mobile messaging channels like push, local notifications, in-app alerts and the rich inbox. The data yielded some interesting findings that point to a good, and consistent growth of mobile apps among retailers (12% between 2012 and 2013).
However, we discovered that of the top 500 Internet retailers less than 2% actually had a Rich-Inbox built into their app. For those that may not know, Rich Inboxes are essentially ‘email-like’ inboxes within a mobile app. HTML designed content can be loaded into these inboxes that can display anything from special offers to confirmations. The unique thing about the Rich Inbox is that the data in them is ‘pulled’ from a server rather than delivered to them.
Why is the method of delivering data to a rich inbox important?
Simple: it gives retailers, or anyone deploying the technology within their app the ability to ensure there’s fresh content in the app whenever a user opens the app. Each time a user navigates to an app the rich inbox will update and can load previously loaded content, new content or both. App publishers can control the content in the rich inbox dynamically and ensure that relevant information is waiting for a user when they open the app.
Push notifications can be deep linked to deliver users into specific parts of an app including the rich inbox. When you think about it, you can design a push to grab someone’s attention, deep link it into the rich inbox, upon push open (swiping the push) the user arrives to a fully rendered HTML call to action, or some other piece of information that helps create an immersive and completely branded experience.
Retailers live and breathe email; the fact that more of them aren’t taking advantage of the most ‘email-like’ messaging channel within their mobile apps is surprising. You can find more data points and insights like this when you download the report.
Sr. Marketing Mgr.
We recently contributed to an article on Fierce Developer. The piece was focused on aggressive ‘growth hacking’ using SMS/MMS as a means to grow a list and gain traction for nascent apps. As a long time email marketer and advocate for best practices in ALL digital messaging, I’m compelled to say that it’s not a good practice.
Growth hacking as a concept is fine; sending messages with behaviors similar to email worms is not. The basic rule of thumb that you should always follow is this: if you were to receive a message like this would you find it odd? Offensive? Phishy? Spammy? If the answer is yes, then don’t send it.
I’m sure you can make the argument that you’re small, you need to grow, to validate your efforts and your app, but let’s think this through. Growth at the price of selling your soul and throwing best practices out the window is tantamount to a premature death, the scrutiny of people who control the walled gardens of app stores and potentially the FCC.
Approach growth with the same care that you approach retention and engagement: with targeted personalization. Ground your efforts in deep analysis of how your app is used, the kind of audience you want to attract, and then create social mechanisms that don’t skirt the lines of legitimacy. This is the only way to do it right.
Sr. Marketing Mgr.
As the use of mobile phones as holiday shopping tools continues to grow — 58% of American mobile phone owners used their devices in-store in the 2012 season alone. Marketers incorporating mobile messaging into their overall strategies can use this pre-holiday season as a time to begin gauging the impact of their SMS, mobile email, push notification and in-app message content.
And according to OtherLevels’ CEO, Brendan O’Kane this is critical, because today’s consumers are being constantly bombarded with marketing messages from every direction. In “4 Tips for Effective Holiday Mobile Campaigns” published in Target Marketing today, Brendan shares some tips that can help marketers maximize the ROI of their end-of-year mobile campaigns.
You can read all of Brendan’s holiday marketing tips here.