Retailers & The Rich Inbox – Mobile Retail Study Findings


The Mobile Retail StudyToday 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.

-Len Shneyder
Sr. Marketing Mgr.

Click here to read the Press Release.

More on aggressive SMS ‘growth hacking’


SMSWe 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.

-Len Shneyder
Sr. Marketing Mgr.

4 Tips for Effective Holiday Mobile Campaigns

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.

OtherLevels and The Astrologer Boost Mobile User Engagement and Retention through Message Testing

Top Astrology Mobile App Achieves Audience Engagement Lift Through Advanced Mobile Message Testing 

With the increased number of messaging options now available to brands using mobile, having the ability to test, measure, and retarget mobile messages to maximize engagement and sales is critical for marketers. That’s why The Astrologer, developer of one of the world’s top rated mobile horoscope apps, is working with San Francisco-based mobile messaging analytics vendor OtherLevels to boost long-term user engagement and ROI from its newly-upgraded mobile app.

“Analyzing deep, actionable data is helping The Astrologer fine-tune its messaging to resonate with its mobile customers,” said Brendan O’Kane, OtherLevels’ CEO. “Whether they are trying to boost customer engagement and retention, monetize, or up-sell, mobile marketers can now carefully analyze responses to message campaigns and make sure they’re sending the most effective messages.”

Mobile message testing performed by OtherLevels demonstrates the benefits of targeting user segments and the advantages of A/B split testing.

In the first of a series of tests it carried out with The Astrologer, OtherLevels measured a control message that was sent to the entire active user base:

Message: “Will 2013 be your lucky year?  Find out now with Kelli’s 2013 Forecast.”
Result: This message achieved a modest open rate of 2.8%.

Then, in the next series of message tests, sign- and astrological-specific messages were sent to members who had identified their birthdates:


“Warrior Mars moves into your sign until July 13. Speak up and you’ll be heard. Tap for more.”
“Hi Cancer, communication planet, Mercury moves into your sign until August 8.”
“Hi Pisces, your ruling planet, Neptune turns retrograde. Be sure to catch up on old creative projects.”

Result: These messages saw open rate responses of between 4% and 10.5%, demonstrating as much as 285% lift over the control message.

“We’ve known for some time that people who fall under certain signs respond to marketing more than others, and that timing around certain astrological events has been a critical part of our acquisition and engagement strategies,” said Kelli Fox, co-Founder of The Astrologer. The OtherLevels platform allows us to easily extend these complex targeting and timing tactics to our mobile app and analyze the results in real-time.”

Small changes in a mobile message matter. Testing a variety of message variations using A/B split testing highlighted how a minor change in language or tone can impact user engagement


A. Hey Libra, got a problem? Tap to talk to Kelli Fox, The Astrologer
B. Hey Libra, got a question? Tap to talk to Kelli Fox, The Astrologer

Result: Message A’s open rate was 3.8% vs. 4.1% for Message B, showing an open rate variance of 9%, indicating that for this audience, messages with a positive (“got a question?”) might be more appropriate than a negative (“got a problem?”).

O’Kane added, “We’ve learned that even small incremental changes in message content can make huge differences to retention, engagement, and sales, and having a concrete strategy and plan to move one or more of those needles can have a tremendously positive impact on lifetime value. The OtherLevels platform helps marketers implement and execute complex mobile marketing messaging strategies easily and effectively.”

For more information about OtherLevels and its work with The Astrologer or schedule an interview, please contact Vanessa Horwell at 305-749-5243 ext. 232 or at or Amanda Williams at 305-749-5243 ext. 238 or at

Make a List and Check it Twice…Or More: Ringing In The Holidays With A Mobile-First Strategy

The prevalence of mobile is revolutionizing shopping habits. According to 1to1 Media, customers no longer need to be at home and in front of their computer to make an online purchase. Instead, customers are using both their smartphone’s web browser as well as apps to make purchases. During the busiest shopping days, customers have been known to browse inventory or even make purchases while waiting in line at a store. And according to recent data mobile will continue to significantly drive revenue this year.

Sharing his insights with 1to1 Media, OtherLevels’ CEO, Brendan O’Kane recommends brands invest in mobile-only deals by designing special deals for those who use their smartphones or tablets to make a purchase. For instance, if you have a mobile-enabled loyalty program, make rewards available only to customers who interact with your mobile messages points out Brendan.

You can read more here.