It’s vital to know what tools are at your disposal that can benefit the way in which we send messages, so you can establish which of these would be beneficial to your business and be sure to find a provider who can offer the services you need. Here are the key features to look for in Mobile Messaging Platforms when switching your provider.
Rich, Interactive Messages
Adding rich images or interactive buttons increase the likelihood of a user engaging with your message. The message contained within a notification is equally as important but when paired with branding, imagery, and the ability to interact with the message this turns notifications into a far more effective marketing tool.
Comprehensive messaging providers can offer not only Mobile Push Notifications and In-App Messaging but also push notifications for your website. This allows one tool that can manage messaging on both the app and website/ PWA.
Segmentation & Channels
Not all your messaging is going to be relevant to all of your users. Segment your audience in ways that make it easier to send certain messages to a certain group of users. This allows you to retarget users with promotions. Create more relevant audiences to fit each type of message you send.
Good systems will allow you to use Analytics events within the app to understand what the user is doing and then send messages based on this behavior or lack of behavior that may indicate they are losing interest in the app and could be about to delete your app.
This lets you build a set of rules that when met will automatically trigger messages to be sent to the user. The messaging provider you pick should let you easily set and edit these rules within a web portal, to save the cost and time delay of having these manually programmed each time.
They will let you watch for certain activities, or lack of activities of the user and then trigger one or ideally a series of messages. Typical usage is when someone first downloads the app and is going through the onboarding process, then send a series of notifications designed to encourage them to complete. And if the user stalls through onboarding send notifications to get them back on track.
Another common usage is when someone hasn’t been in your app for a time, send a series of time-delayed notifications to re-engage the user.
Integrations with Rich Analytics Data
Top messaging platforms will come with rich, highly visual and easy to use analytics. It’s important when selecting a messaging platform to equally consider the power of analytics that comes pre-integrated. This is important as it allows you to use these events tracked by the analytics service to trigger messages. This means you can easily action the insights that your analytics service tells you to provide timely, informed and relevant messages based on the actual behavior and interest cues from the user.
For example, if they have looked at one of the items in your product catalog but not made a purchase, you can then trigger a series of re-marketing messages to that user reminding them of your product and reinforce their purchase interest.
Targeting users with geofencing and beacons allow you to only target users that enter a physical location you have defined. This is done through either GPS of the smartphone in the case of Geofences or Bluetooth in the case of beacons.
It allows you to send messages to the user based on their physical location i.e. restaurants and clothes stores. This allows you to know that your messages are being sent in the exact place and moment your users could be most receptive to hearing from you.
Confirmed delivery is a feature that should be available from all good messaging platforms. They enable you to better evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign. Using services that don’t have this feature means you aren’t seeing the whole story. If only 30% of your users opened the message you could be disappointed by the results. But if not all who you intended to receive the message actually received it, then this could be masking the actual effectiveness of the message.
Intelligent delivery can be used to perfect the timing of notification based on the historic usage patterns of the user. This means that the message is delivered at the time of day that they are most likely to be using your app. It’s possible for app marketing platforms to intelligently work out when is the best time to target each individual user that is most likely to lead to an interaction.
Users also have the power in their hands by being able to inform you of their preferred delivery options and specify when they want to hear from you.
Deep Linking and Deferred Deep Links
To make actions from your messages really effective you need a messaging platform that will let you link directly to the relevant page in your mobile app. When used through a push notification, (so you can ensure the user already has the app installed) this is called Deep Links.
Deferred Deep Links allow you to engage users using external digital sources such as SMS and email. If the person receiving the link doesn’t have the app on their smartphone, then the smart link will detect this and redirect the person to the app store to download the app. Once the app download is complete it will remember the section of the app that the original link was taking you to in the mobile app, and take the user there when launched.
Ability to contain external links to web content
For some apps it’s important to be able to direct the user to content hosted on a mobile responsive web page rather than having to have all your content stored in the app itself. This gives you much greater flexibility. For example you can easily change the content on the web page, avoiding having to post an update to the app to change the information. So it’s important that you pick a Messaging Provider that allows you to easily embed URL web links for the user to click on.
Not all messaging platforms offer the fairest pricing structure, some will charge based on total number of app downloads or by number of subscribed devices. This can lead to paying over-inflated rates for a number of users that you won’t be able to reach with your messaging. Other providers can offer payment methods involving paying by MAU (monthly active users), that can keep your expenses down.
When searching for a new provider it’s always important not to get roped into extended contracts or up-front payments that have you tied down to a certain provider that might not be right for you. Look for companies that will offer a free trial period, a demonstration of the platform and allow you to pay on a rolling contract so you never have to worry about being tied to a company that isn’t right for you.