Mobile marketing automation: Best practices for driving growth

Anne Verhoeven

Sep 19, 2019

More apps than ever before are competing for a user’s attention, with over 2 million to choose from in the app store and 2.7 million on Google Play. Regardless of vertical, you’re up against fierce competition, making it essential to optimize your working day with mobile marketing automation.

Mobile marketers are wasting their expertise if the majority of their time is spent on repetitive, menial tasks. Similarly, data scientists spend nearly 80% of their time acquiring, cleaning and organizing data. Teams who can effectively diminish this figure will have a significant advantage over their competitors. In this article, we define what mobile marketing automation is, how it can be used in numerous ways for performance optimization, and share best practices for optimal results.

What is mobile marketing automation?

Mobile marketing automation (MMA) is software that controls and monitors actions related to a mobile marketer’s workload. This means MMA is designed to perform tasks that would otherwise have to be completed manually, or would be too time-consuming to perform at all.

MMA can help you with everything from segmentation and personalization to analytics and messaging. For example, it can be used to segment large audiences into cohorts (groups based on certain characteristics), giving marketers more time to analyze how those segmented audiences should be targeted. Strategic actions used to engage those users, such as push notifications or in-app messaging, can also be performed autonomously.

Mobile marketing automation: 4 ways it can help you optimize performance

  1. Mobile channel management: MMA can be used to manage multiple channels and integrate data for best results. SMS, in-app messaging and push notifications are all useful communication methods that allow you to engage with your users, the best of which can be determined by A/B testing – another aspect of mobile marketing that should be autonomous.
  2. A/B testing: By segmenting users (more on this below) you can test how different types of users respond to your creative. Because MMA does the heavy lifting, you can spend more time analyzing which variants result in the best messaging possible for your marketing strategy.
  3. Segmentation: MMA allows you to efficiently group users based on contextual information in a way that is timely and cost-effective. Depending on your marketing requirements, users can be segmented by anything from device type to user demographics. This allows you to personalize and consequently optimize the user experience.
  4. Personalization: One of MMA’s most powerful attributes is the ability to easily personalize engagements on a massive scale. This ranges from using the correct name for in-app messages to offering products that are hyper-relevant based on a user’s previous activity. Personalization is an essential way to increase engagement and reduce churn, giving the user a unique experience that directly appeals to their needs.

6 best practices for implementing mobile marketing automation

Now that you know the most important ways in which MMA can be used to aid your marketing efforts, it’s essential to understand how these can be performed. Below we have outlined some ideas and best practices for marketers wishing to automate their processes, with insight into how they help you achieve your marketing goals.

1. Integrate data for a cohesive experience across multiple channels

According to Marketo’s guide to creating an omnichannel experience, 72% of consumers would rather connect with brands and businesses through multiple channels, and 90% of buyers expect consistent interactions across all channels. It is now a user expectation for marketers to seamlessly guide their users across multiple channels with efficacy and ease, and this is only possible by successful data integration. It’s therefore essential for marketers to consider how their data needs to be integrated for the best possible path to purchase.

For example, you can’t afford to irritate active users by mistakenly prompting them to re-engage – a problem that may occur if data isn’t properly integrated. The aim should be to create a single view that spans every channel. Once you know how your data will be integrated (how each channel should inform another) this should also inform your creative.

To learn more about the power of data integration, take a look at this blog post focused on the Mobile Spree talk by Smule’s Director of Data Engineering, Andrew Platt. You can also watch Andrew’s full talk, here.

2. Personalize your offering with geolocation campaigns

A user’s location is another way in which they can be targeted autonomously. There are two ways this data can be utilized: geo-fencing and proximity-based campaigns.

Geo-fencing: These are campaigns based on a user’s GPS location. There is a designated area of interest, such as a store location, with a “fence” that outlines the radius in which a campaign is active. When a user enters the area of interest, MMA can be used to automatically send a relevant promotional message (this could be in-app or via SMS). There are numerous case studies that highlight how powerful geofencing can be as an automated marketing tool. For example, Salesforce found that 80% of consumers would like to receive location-based alerts, while research from MDG Advertising found that 73% of users complete a call to action after receiving a message related to a nearby location.

Proximity-based campaigns: These campaigns work in a similar manner to geofencing: instead of a virtual fence, proximity-based campaigns utilize hardware that emits Bluetooth signals. Once in range, the user will receive a relevant promotional message.

The success of location-based campaigns is also shown in eMarketer’s Location Intelligence 2019 report. This study shows that users are willing to share location data with marketers as long as there is an “exchange for some type of value,” so remember to make it immediately clear how this benefits the user. This creates a win-win scenario for you and your users, whereby you can improve the user experience while generating conversions and gaining a greater understanding of customer demand.

3. A/B test your onboarding experience

A/B testing is synonymous with MMA, and one of the key areas in which you should perform these tests is your app’s onboarding experience. In our latest Global App Trends report, we found that from the time of install to Day 1, apps will lose an average of 69% of their users, highlighting the importance of efficient onboarding. This can be done by segmenting users into cohorts and observing what works best for users with particular traits.

For more details on what makes a “good” retention rate, you can gain further insight with our in-depth article dedicated to finding benchmarks for retention on Day 1, Day 2, Day 7 and Day 30.

4. Generate autonomous loyalty programs

MMA enables you to create loyalty programs that autonomously reward your most valuable users. This can be used to boost retention, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Creating an autonomous loyalty program requires you to set up special offers for your most active users. This becomes even more important when you consider that 71% of consumers who participate in loyalty programs consider their membership to be a meaningful aspect of their relationships with the brand. A study by e-commerce marketing platform Yotpo also showed that 52.3% of customers are likely to sign up for a loyalty or VIP program.

5. Monitor the frequency of push notifications and SMS

When sending push notifications to your users, it’s critical that you monitor the frequency of your messaging. How often you should be sending push notifications to your users will depend on the vertical and the specific functions of your app, but the bottom line is that nobody likes to feel harassed.

It’s essential that you implement frequency caps based on data analysis to control how often your users are engaged. This ensures that your push notifications are always deemed valuable to your users.

6. Satisfied users can help your app grow

Loyal customers aren’t just of high value due to their revenue, impact on engagement and retention rates: these users can also generate organic installs thanks to their recommendations and positive reviews. By prompting users for their feedback with an automated rating system, you can learn which users are most likely to recommend your app. You can then offer different actions based on the feedback you receive: if a user gives you an unfavorable review, they can be asked for more detailed feedback to highlight areas for improvement. If the user offers a positive rating, you can autonomously redirect them (with permission) to the app store, where they can publically share their view. This can boost your ASO ranking and consequently increase your monthly organic installs.

To learn more about ASO and how it can help your app, take a look at our ASO ebook.

While there are many other ways automation can help your overall marketing strategy, these best practices are examples of the variety of methods available to marketers. Every example can be set up to run autonomously, freeing the marketer from manual tasks. With more time to invest in analysis and optimization, automation is a powerful tool that can help you reach your most ambitious targets.

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