Your Mobile Competition – Who’s Doing What?

Mobile App Competition

Earlier in the year OtherLevels conducted a study of the Top 100 Internet retailers to determine overall mobile messaging adoption in this important marketing sector.  We downloaded their apps, observed their messaging and marketing-related behaviors, and released our widely-cited Retail Mobile Messaging Study (click to download). The findings were remarkable:

  • 77% of the Top 100 Internet retailers have a mobile app
  • Among those apps, only 66% of those were actually sending push messages
  • Less than 20% leverage a social sign-on for their apps
  • Only 30% request access to a device’s GPS location
  • Only 4 of the top 100 Brands leverage a rich inbox (like an email inbox for your app)

Curious about your competitors’ mobile engagement, retention and monetization messaging? OtherLevels can conduct a full audit of your app compared to similar apps in your competitive landscape. Our audit begins by downloading each app on two devices, and we will monitor and capture messages sent to each of them, recording the text, day, and time of day over a 30-day period. We will interact once with both devices at the beginning of the audit, but we will stop interacting with one device while regularly interacting and responding to push notifications with the other. The goal will be to determine if the type and frequency of messaging is adjusted based on our activity. At the end of a month, we will report:

  • Which apps prompt for push notifications and geolocation vs. which ones are actually pushing.
  • Which apps appear to use local notifications in place of push notifications to the extent we can tell.
  • Which publisher sends general, repetitive messages, vs. messages based on actions and usage.
  • Is there an apparent set of messages aimed at new users for retention purposes?

We will also perform a technical audit which will make informed decisions on what makes your competitors’ apps tick, as well as a view of how your competitors’ apps are presented in the marketplace. To find out more, email

Mobile Wagering Requires a Next-Gen Mobile Marketing Platform

This week we announced that, one of the UK’s oldest and most venerable bookmakers, chose us to power their mobile marketing campaigns. This is tremendously exciting news and further helps reinforce the importance of having the right set of tools to communicate with your audience. Wagering enjoys a phenomenal ROI; the user engagement is already high, but the need to understand a player’s habits, the kinds of clubs he or she follows is critical to ensuring a long lasting engagement with that player. understands that mobile isn’t a platform, it’s a lifeline to their players. Even more importantly, is looking to connect the online (mobile) world, with the offline (retail locations) and create a seamless brand experience that crosses channels, devices and platforms.

At OtherLevels we’re focused on what drives good engagement: phenomenal data and the ability to access the totality of your customer’s data, regardless of the silo that it sits in, to make smarter messaging decisions. When told us of their need to understand how their messaging drives engagement with their apps, and retail shops for that matter, we knew that what we were looking at was the ability to track outcomes and base decisions on a wealth of data, some of which they had at their fingertips.

Today’s multi-screenn world means that a player could watch a TV show and keep tabs on another match or event on his mobile device. Timing is everything, but so is a person’s relative location. When timing and geography are merged with past behaviors and keen tools to measure the efficacy of messages and their outcomes, the end result is higher ROIs, longer overall customer lifetime value, and a keen edge in the marketplace. OtherLevels brings tremendous insight to companies poised for success and that really understand that their success means treating every single customer individually and acting on the signals and metrics that drive customer cross-channel customer engagement.

CEO, OtherLevels

Retailers & The Rich Inbox – Mobile Retail Study Findings


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.

Click here to read the Press Release.

More on aggressive SMS ‘growth hacking’


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.