Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed and with them (yet another) realization just how mature mobile commerce is. In fact, 34% of digital purchases were performed on mobile devices.
With the Holiday shopping frenzy coming up, you still have time for some last minute marketing activities that can help you reap the rewards – particularly through your app. Don’t get me wrong, your mobile-optimized site is a super important part of your arsenal, but make no mistake, in-app reigns supreme.
How come? Because a native app offers a much better experience and when shopping online, that’s everything. Criteo found that apps have a 3.7x higher conversion rate than mobile browsers, nearly 4x more products viewed, and a 28% higher average order value. According to a recent PayPal survey, 47% of mobile shoppers said that they prefer to use an app over a browser for convenience and speed. When isolating 18 to 34 year olds, the number jumps to 59%.
Also, native apps can utilize advanced features that make them ideal for engaging with your existing users and ensuring they’ll turn to your app when it matters rather than to the apps, sites, or stores of hundreds of your competitors.
You’ve invested a great deal in building an app, now is the time to cash in on that investment.
Getting New App Users and Lots of Them
User acquisition is always important but even more so ahead of major shopping days, as consumers are much more receptive to the notion of downloading a retail app during this period.
So as a marketer, how can you drive app installs in such a short period of time?
1. Look within
When looking for new, quality app users, start by looking no further than your very own. Reconnect with your existing users through email, SMS or retargeting (depending on the data you have) and offer them an appealing incentive to download your app.
2. App discovery
App store traffic is expected to climb this month, and then peak a few days after Holiday as users install new apps in their new devices they got during the holiday.
Many discoverers won’t be searching for a retailer’s name but rather for “Christmas deals”, “Holiday Shopping Top Deals” etc., so make sure your ASO (app store optimization) is optimal, including the right title, description and keywords that reflect the holiday season.
If you’ve also adapted your app’s design in the holiday spirit, you should upload new screenshots and even a dedicated video capturing the app experience to further encourage users to download your app. This includes your app icon, as it’s the first thing users notice when in discovery mode. And since reviews and ratings play a key role in rankings, isolate your highly engaged users and encourage them to review your app through a targeted campaign.
Last but not least, have Google index your app’s content so you can appear in mobile search results. This is especially true if you have actual content like product reviews, tips articles and other content that provides value to users rather than actual selling. Technically, this is a rather simple process that your mobile developer will have to follow. Once done, it can take several days before you appear in the search results so move fast!
3. Run with ad networks that drive quality users
With thousands of mobile media sources out there, it’s hard to pinpoint the best ones. And since you can’t go to the bank with installs, you need to target users who are most likely to deliver real value beyond the install and actually buy products using your app.
Considering that time is of the essence, testing is not an option at this stage. So, if you’ve had success with a certain network in the past, run with it. You should also consult with experienced colleagues and look for information that’s out there (for example, here’s a recent index we’ve created ranking the top ad networks for eCommerce, travel and utility apps based on retention).
Also, to move fast, networks that excel at a self-serve offering are a great fit. For example, one of the things most cherished by marketers who use Facebook is just how easy it is to get targeted app install campaigns up-and-running in no time. All you need is a credit card, a Facebook Ads Manager account, a standard 300 by 250 creative and some light copy and you’re good to go.
Propelling Your App Users to Take Action
Apps are ideal for engaging your existing audience and leading it to shop. They also serve as the connector of the online and offline worlds. Let’s explore what you can quickly do with apps to boost engagement.
4. Push notifications
In the 2014 holiday season, retail apps sent twice as many notifications on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Urban Airship. The increased frequency resulted in double the consumer response rate, even though most of the push messages were not targeted.
In fact, highly targeted notifications received a 4-7 times better response rate than messages broadcast to everyone. That’s why it’s important to start sending notifications before the rush so you can better understand what shoppers are interested in and then send targeted notifications accordingly.
Another study by Kahuna found that the average short- and long-term retention rates for users who have opted in to push notifications were more than twice as high than rates for users who have not opted in.
5. Retargeting bids on quality users
With fierce competition expected, make sure to bid high to ensure you are able to get in front of quality users who have visited your app but didn’t buy. The definition of quality can vary but it often means users who are heavily engaged – visited the same product page several times, added products to the cart, initiated checkout, entered credit card details etc. Do not bid high on ‘colder’ users such as home page or category page visitors.
6. Location-driven communication
Studies have consistently shown that location-aware ads drive performance. With a user’s approval, an app can request location data from the device and uses that data to provide location-related content through ads and push notifications.
Location targeting can be divided into two: in-store and out of store. But since in-store targeting requires the use of physical beacons, if you have yet to mount these in your store, you’ve probably missed the train for this holiday season.
That leaves us with out of store, where you can trigger messages through what is known as geo-fencing – defining a radius around your store or a point of interest (like your competitor’s store) where you want to target users. There are many networks that can run location-driven ad campaigns such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and also xAd, AirPush, InMobi, PlaceIQ, Millennial and many more.
According to a survey conducted by LSA, 70% of consumers are willing to share their location information if they believe they are getting something of value in return like coupons or loyalty points. So make sure that your location-driven promotion includes a valuable incentive.
To sum up, with billions of dollars on the table, you’ll want to guarantee your business can get as big a piece of the pie as possible. The good news is that it’s still not too late to add last minute marketing efforts to ensure your app maximizes its contribution.
About the Author: Shani Rosenfelder is a senior marketing manager at AppsFlyer. He has over 10 years of experience in key content and marketing roles across a variety of leading online companies and startups. Combining creativity, analytical prowess, and a strategic mindset, Shani is passionate about building a brand’s reputation and visibility through innovative, content-driven projects.