Blog Retaining users with tactical in-app mes...

Retaining users with tactical in-app messaging

In-app messaging is a critical user engagement method that mobile marketers can’t afford to ignore. This marketing channel is a great way to increase engagement, build brand loyalty, and improve the user experience.

The proof is in the pudding: Product-led growth platform Appcues offered free trials to potential customers with in-app messaging, increasing sales demos by 50%. Similarly, mobile marketing platform CleverTap saw click-through rates (CTRs) increase by more than 100 percent by utilizing in-app messages instead of push notifications.

What is in-app messaging?

In-app messages are notifications that appear inside your app. In Android they are implemented with Google’s Firebase, or an alternative platform. iOS developers can also choose from a number of in-app messaging platforms. Implementing a strong in-app messaging strategy is essential for app developers to improve user experience and thus improve retention rates.

What are the use cases of in-app messaging?

In-app messaging is used for several purposes, including:

Onboarding: Optimize your onboarding process with in-app messages that provide helpful information users need. This will ensure new users have the best experience from the get-go.

Promotions: Share personalized benefits and incentives with your users by segment.

Announcements: Keep existing users up to date with your app’s latest features and updates.

Customer service: Confirm a purchase or provide essential updates about a user’s transaction.

Rewards: Reward users to build brand loyalty. For example, a gaming app could send a user extra lives for completing a special event.

In-app messaging vs. push notifications

An in-app message is used to communicate internally with users and appears only while the user is in your app. Push notifications are sent separately to the user's device, outside of the app, and appear on a user’s notification menu and home screen. It’s important to understand this difference so that you can use both communication tools for the best results.

In-app messaging and push notifications should work hand in hand to create a holistic communication strategy. For example, a company update push notification may be intrusive and cause users to opt out of future notifications. However, the same update may be perfectly suitable as an in-app message.

Learn how to develop a push notification strategy.

What are the benefits of in-app messaging?

  1. Highly personalized. Your in-app messages can be tailored to suit your brand with far more detail than push notifications. This also means you have more ways to personalize your targeted messaging and optimize results.

    For example, they can be full-screen messages or pop-up notifications as a banner. You can also include action buttons that will determine different user paths, such as ‘learn more’ and ‘cancel’.

  2. More engaging than push notifications as they can include rich media such as videos and images.

  3. Facilitate valuable communication. Especially when your messages are personalized for different user segments. Here are two essential ways in-app messaging is beneficial to you and your company goals.

  4. No opt-in requirement. Unlike push notifications, in-app messaging does not require users to opt-in. This enables you to reach every user that opens your app.

In-app messaging best practices

When used correctly, in-app messaging is a powerful tool that can streamline your customer services, brand loyalty, and user experience. Here are nine ways to make the most out of in-app messages.

1. Choose the best tools

In addition to implementing in-app messages, it is critical that you invest time in learning which mobile analytics tools will work best for your app and its marketing strategy. Research which tools can facilitate your needs, such as the ability to personalize messages with user segmentation or implementation of a two-way in-app chat.

2. Develop a unified strategy

Develop your copy to match your brand’s tone of voice, as well as tone across other platforms. The design should also be in line with your app’s branding. In-app messages perform best when they are straightforward and your word count is kept short.

3. A/B test your in-app messaging

A/B testing is essential before communicating with every user in your app. This enables you to learn what makes a successful message and helps you avoid sending unwanted messages to your users. A/B testing your in-app messages means that you can continue to learn what works for your audience over time. For example, you should test different messaging formats to learn what works best.

4. Personalization

Tailor your copy as much as possible for a specific audience. For example, gaming apps can reward their most valuable users with in-game currency to increase engagement. By rewarding the user with a personalized in-app message, this can build brand loyalty and increase retention and engagement.

5. Timing is key

You must measure the success of your in-app messaging strategy in order to learn over time and make data-driven decisions that will improve results. Your analytics will reveal the best timing, such as after a specific in-app action or immediately upon opening your app.

6. Focus on your CTA

Your message’s call to action (CTA) is an all-important component that will determine the success of your desired action. This success in achieving your desired goal. Focus on your CTA and develop a hypothesis on what works best for your users. HubSpot’s “39 Call-to-Action Examples You Can't Help But Click” is a useful starting point that has detailed examples of how different brands found the right CTA for their campaign.

7. Use rich media

Test the power of rich media such as images and video to see how this will affect your open rates and CTR. Beautifying your message can significantly boost the performance of your campaign.

8. Reward users

It’s important to recognize the difference between an in-app message that serves your company goals and a message that is valuable to your user. The best in-app messaging will be both. Consider offering something of value (such as promotion codes or in-game currency) as a reward for in-app activity. You can also send personalized messages to your users to congratulate them for milestones.

For example, a fitness app could send a premium subscription discount code to a user who has used the app every day for a week.

9. Request user feedback

In-app messaging is a great way to acquire user feedback that can be invaluable to your company goals. You can use in-app messages to ask users to take part in a survey, or prompt users to rate your app or post a review. Subsequently, you can use an in-app message to communicate to users that their feedback has been received and acted upon.

In-app messaging is an effective communication strategy for increasing your app’s response rate. Although in-app messaging is a critical component of an app marketer’s communication strategy, this method should be used in conjunction with other messaging tools such as email marketing and push notifications to create a cohesive marketing plan.

For more insights into how to develop your mobile marketing strategy, read “App Marketing Strategy: Nine methods every marketer must know”. You may also be interested in our guide to scaling your app to 1 million users.

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