Author: Caroline McClelland

Health and Fitness Apps – features that drive engagement!

health and fitness apps

It’s January, the start of a new year. Gyms around the world are flooded with new faces determined to better themselves. In the modern age there’s some ‘new year resolutioners’ that you’ll find are not reaching for the dumbbells, but for their smartphone. The market for health and fitness apps is booming and offers an alternative method to manage and control your own well-being. The key to customer retention in apps is to engage the user. Evaluate your campaigns using analytics and see what works for your users. Drive for success this year with the motivation levels of a January gym sign-up and use analytics to get a deeper understanding of your audience.

Research by Statista found that revenue in the fitness segment is expected to show an annual growth rate of 5.0% (CAGR 2019-2023). This is expected to result in a market volume of $20,499m by 2023.

For your app to be a part of this market increase you need to be focused not only on acquisition, but how to keep users active.

Retention and Engagement – essential for health and fitness apps

For an app to be successful it must be as good at retention and engagement as it is at acquisition. By delving into your app analytics you will be able to make data-driven decisions to optimize your mobile app screens and improve your user onboarding process. What’s more, it will help you with your messaging strategy in 2020. Not only do you want to increase engagement with in-app notifications but you want to boost retention with push notifications.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the leading health and fitness apps and highlight the features that create great users, giving you tips for engagement and retention. This post discusses health and fitness apps but this can be applied to other industries such as hospitality.

There is a huge market for health and fitness apps in the Google Play and Apple App stores.  They all claim to give you the necessary tools to improve your health or fitness.  There are apps to work on your physical fitness, mental well-being or even music apps designed to keep you in the zone when you’re working out. They all fall into the health and fitness category.

Health and fitness apps often find more success in customer engagement than other genres of app. Users become loyal to particular apps, often engaging with them daily. Mobile marketers in all markets can learn from the user engagement success in the health and fitness sector.

4 ways to boost engagement of health and fitness apps

So, let’s take a look at some of the popular health and fitness apps and the features that engage their users. People want a high quality health and fitness app to use from the comfort of their mobile device, wherever they want to work out, or whatever their health goals. Those who still enjoy a gym membership, probably still want a few health and fitness apps to compliment their workout schedule or they may even take a holistic approach to health with a meditation app.

So, here are the 4 ways to boost engagement when it comes to health and fitness apps.

  1. Easy sign-up – and onboarding for paid subscribers
  2. Convenience – with personalized notifications
  3. It builds loyalty – with an engaging experience
  4. Data privacy is taken seriously

 

1: Easy sign-up – and onboarding for paid subscribers

Many health and fitness apps start with a free trial and then encourage people to sign up for a paid account. It’s important that the sign up process is easy and is followed by a good onboarding experience for the user. Once the user becomes a paid subscriber there needs to be change in CX to give the feeling of becoming a valued customer.

Jillian Michaels Fitness App

jillianmichaelsiphoneJillian Michaels app is a one-stop-shop for all fitness goals. It’s a paid app and at around $90 per year, it currently has over 20 fitness programs (of varying lengths), adjustable difficulty settings, and a meal planner. Some folks describe it as like having a celebrity “tough-love” personal trainer in your pocket.

From the moment you download the app, it’s engaging. There is a video from Jillian explaining the benefits of the app and then a simple form to complete with your details. It all feels very positive. The prices are displayed up front, but with the option to start a 7 day free trial.

No matter the fitness level, this mobile app encourages members to keep going. Whether they are at an expert level or just starting out. This app drives membership retention and makes it easy to stay engaged at just a drop of a button. At Kumulos, we especially like the use of video content!

You can download the Jillian Michaels Fitness App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

MyFitnessPal

myfitnesspaliphoneMyFitnessPal is a calorie counter and diet plan app to help reach a healthy weight. This app has a really nice onboarding experience, especially for an app with so many features.

After allowing you to sign up with Facebook or your email, the app guides you through your goal. When you have set up your goal, MyFitnessPal has a step-by-step guide to get you acquainted with the functionality of the app. You then fill in your daily diet, water consumption and other health stats. The app is simple to use and doesn’t need much instruction. In terms of functionality, MyFitnessPal actually gives you a lot of free features before you have to pay.

You can download the MyFitnessPal App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

2: Convenience – with personalized notifications

Users will of course download a health or fitness app for the health benefits. However, in addition to the convenience of having the health features on their mobile, users will be more engaged if they receive personalized in-app messages and push notifications. When mobile marketers take the time to analyse their app data and segment their audience to send relevant, targeted messages, they tend to see higher engagement and loyalty.

Comparehare found that almost 30% of fitness fanatics use fitness apps more than 10 times a week. The more personalized content you can send them, the higher this will be!  When it comes to monitoring and managing health conditions, this is especially important.

My Diabetes My Way

mydiabetesiphoneMy Diabetes My Way (MDMW) is an app that supports self-management of diabetes. It gives patients access to hundreds of multi-media educational resources, e-learning courses, and access to their NHS data (electronic health record), and home recorded data (home blood glucose monitoring, weight, BP, activity data). MDMW enables goal setting, secure communication between patients and health care providers, and gives automated tailored care reports and advice based on individual parameters. The use of messaging to send out personalized medication reminders is impressive.

You can download the My Diabetes My Way App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

3: It builds loyalty – with an engaging experience

With so many apps in health and fitness and indeed thousands competing within niche areas of the health market (e.g activity tracking, sleep, relaxation etc.) app developers need to ensure that their app is engaging enough to stop users looking for an alternative. Whether it’s the use of messaging to alert people to the values of the app features or deliver premium content to paid subscribers, the mobile marketing strategy plays an important role in building loyalty.

Couch to 5K

The Couch to 5K app lets users choose from a selection of virtual coaches which give you audio cues during your workouts. You can also listen to your favourite playlist through the in-app music player. With GPS support, it logs all workouts and is easy to track progress. It’s a 9 week program and with so many positive reviews, the developers have done a great job to instil loyalty.

You can download the Couch to 5K app here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

Yes!GO App

yes!goiphoneYes!GO is the #1 Fitness Music Producer in the world. With the YES!GO App, users can access the entire ‘Yes!’ Fitness Music library of professionally pre-mixed albums or unlimited custom/non-stop mixes. Used by a large customer base of fitness professionals, the app has a loyal fan base.

You can download the Yes!GO App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

4: Data privacy is taken seriously

Fitness trackers use GPS tracking or can connect to your mobile’s GPS which allows them to tell where you are at any given moment. Not only is your location stored but some apps have the capability to show data such as when you were in a deep sleep.  That’s why it’s essential for manufacturers of apps that use ‘wearables’  to build customer trust when gathering sensitive data.

Fitness app developers, just like every other app sector, have suffered data breaches. The breach that hit UnderArmour’s MyFitnessPal in 2018 will no doubt come to mind. It exposed the usernames, passwords, and email addresses of more than 150 million users. While hackers typically go after data they can easily monetize (like your credit card details) the thought that location data was exposed is especially bothersome. Given that joggers and bikers generally run and ride near home, attackers could also identify where the user lived by looking at where the majority of their routes began and ended.

Fitbit App

fitbitiphoneFitbit App is one of the leading health and fitness apps and ranked second highest in terms of downloads in the Google Play Store in the United States in November 2019.

When it comes to security, a lot of fitness apps have been subject to vulnerabilities. Fitbit still remains a strong leader in the industry when it comes to their privacy policy etc. Although it’s not clear how Google’s acquisition of Fitbit will affect security, we’re confident they will continue to value consumer privacy highly.

This app is also very good at allowing users to customize the push notifications, allowing users to switch notifications on and off depending on their preferences.

You can download the Fitbit App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

Calm

calmiphoneCalm, the meditation app has helped millions of users reduce stress, anxiety, and improve sleeping patterns. Everything from the soothing blue screen to the copy “take a deep breath” defines the overall relaxing feel of the app. The setup is really easy and the onboarding process guides users to set their goals.  There is a free 7-day subscription before users would need to pay for the premium version.

The privacy policy notice is the first thing you see when you install the app…you need to read and accept this before you can see any of the features. They explain very well why they collect personal information and reassure users that it’s in order to improve their Calm experience.

According to App Annie, Calm was the number 1 free app in the iOS store in the US in December 2019. Calm certainly seem to know how to engage an audience. They’re definitely developing for the future market too, with a ‘Calm Kids’ section within the app.

You can download the Calm here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

Make it a healthy 2020 for your app

So, take a look at these successful apps and think about the features and messaging strategy to make your app a success in 2020.  With some extra thought about the sign up process, personalized notifications and a comprehensive privacy policy, your app engagement will improve.

About Kumulos mobile user engagement platform

Kumulos offers a number of features to assist app developers in engaging users through mobile messaging and measuring engagement analytics. To learn more about driving engagement, take a look at our push notifications and in-app messaging feature guide.

Kumulos platform provides app analytics so you can evaluate campaign results to improve your next campaign. Kumulos gives you everything you need to make an app successful. In one dashboard, you can also benefit from the App Store Optimization feature to help increase downloads and outshine competitors in app stores. When it comes to the technical performance of the app, there’s also a crash reporting and API Endpoint Monitoring feature.

Contact us for a product tour, or start your free trial today.

App Trends 2020

app trends 2020

A new year gives us the opportunity to look forward at what advancements are likely to dominate the world of apps in 2020. Here’s our prediction of what trends you’re going to be seeing a lot of this coming year.

We looked at these top 5 app trends for 2020:

Wallet Apps
The Progressive Web App
Beacon Technology
5G
The Super App

 

Wallet Apps

Most mobile users will be aware of the wallet by now. Three of the main phone producers Apple, Samsung and Google all incorporate the wallet as a pre-installed feature on new devices.
At the moment, it’s likely the most well-known wallet app is the Apple Wallet which allows users to store wallet passes. This means coupons, boarding passes, student ID cards, event tickets, movie tickets, public transportation tickets, store cards, and – with iOS 8.1 – credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, and loyalty cards via Apple Pay.

Wallet apps are the next gen when it comes to loyalty cards as they eliminate the need for a physical card and stop your actual wallet/purse bulging in your pocket. Mobile wallet loyalty cards enable you to reach consumers who don’t have your app downloaded. Sign up methods are usually through an ‘Add to Wallet’ button or QR code. Common methods of loyalty card customer acquisition for mobile wallet include on-website, in-shop and social media promotion. The ‘Add to wallet’ button directly opens the user’s mobile wallet, making it an easily obtainable method of customer conversion.

These wallet apps are encrypted and use tokenization for security. In some ways they’re safer than using a bank card. Your transactions are more difficult to be traced as there is no transfer of data that relates to your bank account or personal details.

In 2020 it’s likely that mobile wallets become more widely used and accepted. “The Rise of Digital and Mobile Wallets” report by Merchant Machine estimated that the value of transactions taking place on next-gen technology will rise from 6109 billion dollars in 2019 to 8961 billion in 2020, a prediction of a near 50% rise.

 

The Progressive Web App

A Progressive Web App is basically a webpage that both feels and functions like a regular native app. However, because they’re browser-based, there’s a ton of advantages that mean they’re gaining popularity at an increasingly fast pace.

Unlike mobile websites, PWAs work offline. The ability to work offline, or where there are poor connections, means they’re ‘always on’, which means you’re always connected, which means you’re always up to date. They’re responsive and they’ll work across devices, screen sizes and orientations – which in turn means a great UX.

PWAs look and feel like mobile apps. People love them due to their ease of use and functionality. As PWA is cheaper to implement and run than a mobile app, this allows you to utilise the UX benefits that a mobile app has over mobile web, in something that functions like a website.

PWAs are also compatible with web push notifications and can further engage your PWA audience in the same way that push notifications and in-app messages engage your mobile app audience. This offers a further channel to engage with users whilst eliminating the need for an app download.

 

Beacon Technology

Beacon technology first emerged onto our digital radars in 2013 when Apple unveiled its iBeacon protocol. Since then, it might be fair to say that beacon technology has been somewhat slow to bestow upon us the benefits it promised … or maybe it’s that we’ve all been a bit slow to embrace it? Either way, we’re hearing rumblings on our digital horizon – next year the number of global beacon deployments is predicted to reach 400 million – maybe, just maybe, 2020 is going to be big for the beacon …

In a nutshell, beacons use proximity marketing to identify human presence close by and deliver a personalised experience – say a special offer, or an ad – to that individual via its short-range, low-energy Bluetooth transmitters. So, imagine if you will, perusing the offerings in your go-to tech store, eyeing up the latest (insert greatest tech desire here), and being instantly served via your smartphone a 20% off deal for that very item.

Proximity marketing is something that the Kumulos team love to see in action. Initially seen as a huge boon for the retail sector, we have seen beacon technology make its way into entertainment, events, hotels and travel, and it’s unlikely to stop there. This simple ability to deliver highly relevant, highly valuable messages to a huge audience without the need for them to do anything is becoming an increasingly attractive way for companies to engage on a more personal level with their customers, creating an effortless brand experience that’s engaging, and if they get it right, enjoyable.

 

5G

Did you read our previous piece on how 5G will transform enterprise IoT? It’s exactly given that hype that we can’t ignore the undeniable arrival of 5G. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Huawei Mate X and others are standing by ready to lighten your smartphone load and get you innovation ready.

As far as Gartner’s concerned, 66% of businesses are planning to deploy 5G within the next 12 months. And telecoms giant Qualcomm told us that by 2035, 5G could be supporting around $12.3 trillion worth of goods and services across global industry, generating up to $3.5 trillion in revenue by the same year, and creating up to 22 million jobs. according to a study by Gartner. Cisco estimates that by 2020, 5G will generate three times more traffic than the average 4G connection, and those connections will make up 3% of total mobile connections.

We asked Sarat Pediredla, CEO of Hedgehoglab about the potential of 5G for mobile apps.

“While mass adoption of 5G is still a couple of years away yet, 2020 will be the year that organisations start thinking seriously about the potential the technology has to transform how they operate. With unmatched transfer speeds and low latency, the opportunity for streamed 3D models for cloud AR and VR or truly personalised chatbots becomes a tantalising possibility.”

“As with most technological leaps, it’ll be within industrial and business contexts that the early promise of 5G will be realised and organisations who fail to adequately prepare will find themselves left behind.”

The bottom line? 5G is very good news for mobile apps and here’s why.
superfast uploads, downloads and connections mean we really will get what we want yesterday (almost!) – plus no more app lag (one of the key reasons’ users abandon apps that don’t measure up).

Due to lower latency, we’ll see the slow-to-catch on AR and VR-based apps take a much-needed leap in popularity as the reaction time for these apps will be vastly reduced by 5G.

Delivering a new digital experience that embodies a user’s surrounding environment and conditions coupled with the ability to detect and connect to multiple devices, ambient computing will be on every business’s radar in 12 months’ time and 5G will drive it. A discipline that allows the simultaneous use of multiple sources of data pulled from the user ‘environment’. This will improve the CX and boost competitiveness while enhancing service delivery. Ambient computing is about to land with a thud.

 

The Super-App

Brace yourself, the super-app is coming. And to be honest, we’re surprised it’s taken so long. For over a decade now, we’ve been content with the single-purpose app – doing exactly as it says on the tin, no more, no less.

Single apps keep things simple – at least that was when we had a clear definition for ‘simple’. As we cruise into 2020, simple is on everyone’s wish-list, thanks to the global swathe of digital natives redefining its meaning with increased frequency and ensuring that for today at least, simple means ‘more’.

Data from App Annie found that on average a user will spend 2h15m per day using apps, they have around 90 downloaded to their device, 30 of these are used monthly and around 9 on an average day. If the all-encompassing super-app takes over, we’ll see a dramatic decrease in these numbers as the demand for an all-in-one platform increases.

Originating from China, the super-app has grown out of consumer needs (where else) – consumers who want to be able to use everything they need to via their phone, but without hopping between apps. The most commonly cited super-apps, WeChat and Alipay in China, pull a vast range of services together via their interface, including basic banking services. A one-stop-shop for practically any service or product their users might need.

These users aren’t phased by a fussy, elaborate interface that delivers a cacophony of services via one-pane-of-glass. In fact, they’re used to such ‘shop windows’, happy to stick to those that provide the seamless, frictionless, efficient super-app experience that makes life … you guessed it, simple. Think messaging/weekly shopping/social/travel booking/food ordering/movie watching – all rolled into one. These super-apps create a highly sticky environment, one where the user simply has no need to use other apps. Why have ten apps to perform ten different activities, when one will do it all for you?

 

Whatever the trend, make 2020 the year you engage users

We’ve included these trends not only because they’re going to be hitting the mainstream this year but because these are the features that should be considered when trying to build your app in 2020. Think of these trends and how they might fit your app to get noticed this year. Building your app is just the start of your journey. Acquiring, retaining and engaging customers is how you measure success. Just like you, we always want to stay ahead of the curve, it allows us to make sure our product is the platform you need. We live and breathe it. You can contact us for a demo or free trial of Kumulos today.

Web Notifications help you go beyond App Engagement

web notifications

Web notifications present a massive opportunity for mobile marketers. Why? Because they help you go beyond app engagement. Web push notifications engage audiences on mobile web, and of course, desktop too. So it’s time to take a look at why you should use web push notifications. 

Why you should use web push notifications

If you have a mobile app, and you’re already making the most of push notifications and in-app messaging to engage your users, you might think that you have your mobile marketing strategy covered. Indeed, mobile messaging is one of the most important ways to onboard, engage and retain your users.

However, you should also be using web push notifications to reach your wider audience on mobile web, and desktop. In fact, most brands actually have much more traffic on their mobile websites than they have app users. 

Mobile website traffic exceeds app users

In a comScore US Mobile App Report, they compared the top 500 mobile apps vs. the top 500 mobile websites. They found that mobile website audiences were more than twice the size of app audiences.

Therefore, you can see the potential to go beyond your app users and reach a huge audience via web push. With web push notifications, you can really deepen the engagement of your web visitors. You can send notifications that demonstrate the value of your brand. This will ultimately lead to additional mobile app downloads. Moreover, it will achieve your business objectives, whether that’s ecommerce sales, bookings, leads etc. 

What are web push notifications?

Web push notifications are notifications sent from web browsers to opted-in users on both mobile and desktop web.

On a mobile, web push notifications are delivered to the notification tray and look very similar to notifications coming from a mobile app. On a desktop, the web push notifications slide onto the screen. 

As with any marketing, it’s essential to gain opt-in for web push notifications.  Just like gaining consent for push notifications (or consent for in-app messaging) you need to gain opt-ins for web push notifications.  With web push, people are able to subscribe with just one click. It is much easier than signing up for an email newsletter and less invasive than other types of marketing pop-ups. 

Most web push notification providers support all major browsers. Whether it’s Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Safari, or Samsung, you just need to check their compatibility with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. 

In order to streamline your marketing tools, it’s best to look for a user engagement platform which allows you to schedule your push notifications, in-app messages and web push notifications from one dashboard. There are many push notification providers out there. Likewise there are many web push notification providers to consider. 

When it comes to mobile engagement, customers of Kumulos are very excited with the recent addition of web push to our award-winning messaging platform. With the addition of web push, Kumulos now allows you to send all your messaging campaigns from one platform. Contact us today for a demo or, read on to learn more about web notifications. 

The difference between web and push notifications

Users, if they are opted-in, can receive a web push notification regardless of whether or not they are actively using the website at that precise time. As long as the web browser is open, someone can be sent a notification and it will appear on their desktop or mobile device screen. 

Push notifications only reach opted-in users of your mobile app. Which means, you are missing out on the opportunity to engage with your other website visitors – whether they visit the website from their mobile or a desktop.

From a mobile user’s perspective, both web push and push notifications from an app look pretty much the same.  The main difference is that web push notifications can display on a desktop too. For business-to-business marketing, web notifications allow you to reach your target audience when they are working on their business – at their desk. 

From any mobile marketer’s perspective, particularly in the business-to-consumer field, web push is a way to take advantage of the fact that most of online engagement is from mobile search. 

Web notifications complement push notifications

Admittedly, web push notifications are an excellent way to complement app push notifications. You can use one without the other. But, web push notifications are another great way to reach more of your customers on mobile — through web push notifications sent to mobile web.

This is great news if you don’t already have an app. It’s also great if you do have an app, but want an additional channel for reaching users who have opted out of app push notifications and/or in-app messaging.

What should a web notification contain? 

When planning your messaging strategy, web push notifications generally fall into one of three types of messages.

  • Educational web push notifications – to share key events, products etc
  • Transactional web push notifications –  to confirm purchase, notify about shipping etc
  • Promotional & ecommerce web push notifications – to promote special offers etc

Let’s take a look at the benefits of these types of web notifications.

Benefits of educational web notifications

You can use web push notifications to alert your users to new blog content with the intent to educate them about your product benefits. Specifically, if you are in retail, you can send notifications with deep links to items which are new in-store.

Educational notifications which are personalized are generally more effective. For example you can segment your users based on the pages they’ve browsed, items they’ve purchased etc.

As mentioned earlier, web notifications are a great way to contact your users who haven’t already downloaded your app. And, a great way to contact those who have opted out of push notifications and in-app messages.  For example, if you are in travel and have an airline app, not all flyers will download the app. But, if they opt-in for web notifications you can send them relevant notifications about their destination with car rental options, hotel options etc.

Transactional notifications for business web apps

No matter which sector your business is in, if you have a web app providing a business service to clients, web push notifications will enhance their experience.  For example, insurance providers with a web app can encourage clients to opt-in for notifications to be alerted when their documents are ready to download, or when their policy is due for renewal etc.

In fact, many businesses which don’t have technical teams use low-code or no-code platforms to build responsive web apps or mobile apps. For certain sectors where the business hasn’t developed a mobile app, they find a web app works well.  In this case web notifications are the equivalent of push notifications if they had an app. 

Promotional & ecommerce notifications

Abandoned carts are one of the biggest issues for ecommerce providers.  Generally in marketing, retailers try to entice people back to their carts using email marketing.

However, with low open rates, or, emails going into spam, this is not typically successful. A well written web notification though which pops up on their mobile, or desktop, reminding them about their attempted purchase is more likely to be seen and actioned. It is a simple and very effective way to bring back your customers to complete a purchase.

Furthermore, ecommerce providers can gain further customer engagement benefits by using notifications to give customers updates on the status of their order.  Typically these types of notifications receive higher opt-in rates as asking customers if they would like notifications about their package is likely to result in a “yes”.

How to get started with web notifications

If you’re already using Kumulos for your mobile messaging requirements, you can use the same Message Composer which you use to create app push notifications and in-app messages. Kumulos has added web notifications to our mobile engagement platform. 

Contact us for a demo to see just how easy it is to personalize web push notifications in the same way that you can personalize app notifications. 

About Kumulos Mobile User Engagement Hub

Kumulos Mobile User Engagement Hub gives you everything you need to understand how customers are using your app to trigger intelligent campaigns to increase retention and grow user engagement to get better results from your app. We are the only platform that provides 360 degree visibility of user behavior and user experience of the app, so you have the analytics to see what’s happening. And, with the recent addition of web notifications, you can engage users beyond your mobile app so they keep coming back to your business and you deliver awesome business results from your website and mobile app.

Hospitality loyalty apps – top features which drive engagement

hospitality loyalty apps

Loyalty apps help companies to consistently engage with their customers. In today’s competitive world, brands need to do everything they can to boost loyalty and retain customers.

Hospitality companies in particular, need to entice customers with more than just discount rewards for loyalty points. They must get to the core of what users want from a loyalty program.

Brands with loyalty apps appeal to 85% of people

Leading travel, hotel and restaurant brands already know that having a mobile app is one of the best ways to retain customers. In fact, 85% of consumers are more likely to choose a venue which has a rewards scheme.

After all, people rely on apps to book transport, plan travel (just think Uber or Lyft), write reviews and more. Nowadays, the big brands like Marriott and Hilton are making their mobile apps work seamlessly to ensure users have a great travel experience from start to finish. In fact, Hilton even engages guests with a unique twist on the loyalty points model. Customers can pool their points with friends on the mobile app. This not only encourages people to plan trips together, but encourages people to frequently redeem their rewards.

Why are many hospitality loyalty apps poorly rated?

It’s not always easy for companies to get it right. App stores are full of loyalty apps which are either rarely downloaded, quickly uninstalled and poorly rated.

From sign-in issues to crashes and payment problems, there are many bad app reviews. Unfortunately, poorly executed push notifications often irritate app users. However, with a bit of planning, it’s easy to improve push notifications and send relevant, personalized messages instead.

User engagement and retention is important for every app, but even more so when it comes to hospitality loyalty apps. So, here at Kumulos, our team has a look at a few hospitality apps to highlight the top features which drive mobile-centric loyalty.

Key factors for mobile-centric loyalty

For a mobile-centric loyalty program to succeed, the mobile app needs a few key factors:

  1. Ease of sign-up – then great onboarding
  2. Convenience beyond loyalty points – with personalized notifications
  3. It builds loyalty – while providing an engaging experience
  4. Security features are evident – and trusted

Whether your mobile app is in the hospitality category or another, these tips can be applied to any loyalty app to boost engagement. You will see that by analysing app analytics and creating a user behaviour and location-based messaging strategy, it’s easy to drive engagement.

1: Ease of sign-up – then great onboarding

Downloading a loyalty app and signing up for a loyalty program should be easy. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. An awkward sign-up process can put users off using a loyalty app. The best loyalty apps have a great UX UI from the moment users sign up.

The Parking Spot App

An app which has a very easy sign-up process and explanatory onboarding process is The Parking Spot App.

The Parking Spot is the largest near-airport parking company in the US, with around 40 convenient locations at many major airports. The industry-leading Spot Club loyalty program has useful integrations which provides convenience for travellers. For example, expense integration with Concur, Expensify, Certify and ChromeRiver which automatically sends parking receipts to an expense account.

So, after downloading the app and signing up to the Spot Club program, users can reserve parking, organise shuttles to and from the airport and it’s all completed with mobile payment – making parking entry and exit seamless.

Features like “find my shuttle” let you see the Spot Club shuttles circulating around the airport. You’ll also see the shuttle Pick Up Area highlighted on the map. This loyalty app makes effective use of location sharing and certainly won’t have a problem obtaining location-opt-ins.

A recent Play Store review sums up the ease of The Parking Spot App. With similar reviews, The Parking Spot now has many brand ambassadors thanks to this good loyalty app.

Tim Gough, November 3, 2019:
Didn’t think I’d ever be writing a review for a parking app but this worked flawlessly. Made the entire parking process seamless. It enables you to reserve easily, scan in and out of the lot, even order a pickup from the terminal using GPS location.

You can download the Parking Spot App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

Second Cup Coffee Co App

In Canada, Second Cup Coffee Co has an engaging app which has an easy sign-up process with the added bonus of quirky UX UI features.

The free loyalty program and app is designed to enhance customers’ coffee experiences with personalized offers, rewards and digital payments.

One of the fun engaging features is the “tap to drop” feature that responds to gravity and releases a drop of coffee into your Rewards cup!

You can download the Second Cup Coffee Co App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

2: Convenience beyond loyalty points – with personalized notifications

When it comes to travel, there is inevitably an element of stress when planning and making trips. Therefore, any app that helps eliminate stress along a journey is valuable. So, it’s important that it’s not only easy to sign-up for a travel loyalty program in the first place, but the features actually provide value and are of convenience to the user.

Moreover, when it comes to loyalty apps, users expect a degree of personalization. Some of the best loyalty apps will adapt to each user’s unique experience.

For hospitality brands, a loyalty app that delivers a personalized user experience will keep customers coming back for more than “earn and use” points. According to Business of Apps, 50% of people prefer to choose brands which use personalized mobile messaging. In fact, their favourite loyalty programme activities include receiving rewards via messaging.

Marriott Bonvoy App

Marriott Bonvoy App not only has an easy sign-up process and guided onboarding, but the features of the app truly provide convenience for users.

Customers equipped with Marriott’s loyalty-focused app can check-in to hotels before they even arrive, avoiding long check-in queues. What’s more, once at the hotel, they can use the mobile app to scan into their bedroom without an actual room key. They can even request room service, housekeeping and other hotel services from within the app.

Marriott is also a prime example of a brand which has mastered personalization within the app. Messaging is adjusted based on each individual traveler journey: whether they’re just planning their trip, departing on their flight or arriving at the hotel. The app’s features also change with the customer’s experience. By personalizing the journey, Marriott positions itself as a trusted travel companion, increasing customer engagement with its personalized loyalty program.

So, from sign-up, through onboarding to true convenience, the Marriott app is engaging with its users.

You can download the Marriott App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

3:  It actually builds loyalty -while providing an engaging experience

Traditionally, consumers are familiar with the hospitality loyalty model: earn points for each purchase and eventually redeem those points for a reward.

But there lies the problem. This isn’t terribly exciting or engaging.

A transactional approach means that users only interact with the app when it’s time to book a stay or purchase a coffee, or use up their loyalty points. Hospitality apps need to provide value beyond the transaction.

United Airlines App

United Airlines mobile app is a prime example of a loyalty program that drives long-term engagement.

Beyond the digital boarding pass, the app provides a virtual travel assistant which updates users about weather, flight status and more. Also, United offers complimentary in-app video streaming when connected to airplane WIFI. So, you can see that this app, in addition to building loyalty points, is providing an engaging experience.

What’s great about United, is that they use their analytics data effectively. They analyse screen views etc to understand which features are most important to customers. This has led to frequent development and design updates.

For example, the home screen is designed for use on-the-go. Testing was done to optimize the screen layout to enable use of the app by a customer pulling their suitcase through the airport – while using the app with one hand.

Engaging customers goes beyond the actual flight ticket. Passport scanning via the United app means customers are able to scan their passport to complete their check-in through the app. What’s more, customers are also able to view Uber services through the United app which engages users beyond the flight itself.

The app makes good use of push notifications and in the event of a cancelled flight or delay, the app provides specific messaging to customers.

You can download the United Airlines App here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

4: Security features are evident – and trusted

Despite the uptake in loyalty app usage, according to Business of Apps, when it comes to consumers opting for mobile wallets, adoption is slow. In 2018, 22% of their survey respondents were happy to use mobile wallets. In 2019, this only grew to 28%.

Adoption is slow, partly due to 65% of app users saying they have security concerns. It’s no wonder with headlines like “Rewards apps on your phone are a prime target for hackers”, that users are cautious. Therefore, it is vital that your app security features are evident.

Panera Bread App

With the Panera Bread app, earning MyPanera points and seeing rewards is easy. Users can save their favorites for faster and easier ordering next time, making it easy to order and pay for take-out or delivery.

Panera saw the need to develop a separate ordering and payment process to meet the specific needs of take-out customers. With this process, they built-in their loyalty integration to the payment function so as users can earn and redeem MyPanera loyalty points.

Panera Bread’s role as Apple’s initial launch partner for Apple Pay was a game-changer. Over 70% of their customers are now using Apple Pay. Their mobile strategy has also grown the restaurant’s loyalty base to 30 million users.

The user base is very loyal to the app, leaving reviews like this:

Sarah Jones, 25 October 2019:
First time using this app was a breeze! Customization of your order is easy, and I really like that it shows the price of each item as you browse (not just on the order summary tab after you’ve already added to your cart like some other restaurant apps). Payment was also super easy, as it automatically linked to my Google pay account. Will definitely be using this app more!

Adrienne Alexander, 22 September 2019
It’s always fast and I never feel insecure about having my payment method saved! It’s one of the easiest apps I’ve ever used!

You can download the Panera Bread app here:

Kumulos Companion App Store Download
Kumulos Companion App Google Play

How to implement the key factors for mobile-centric loyalty

Whether your app is in the hospitality sector, or not, you can easily implement these key factors to boost engagement with your app and loyalty program.

Firstly, you need a mobile messaging platform which allows you to create intelligent messaging to engage your users. If you can reach the right user at the right time with user, behaviour and location based segmentation and targeting, you will undoubtedly increase engagement.

Secondly, you need to put thought into combining push notifications and in-app messaging to create effective onboarding, retention and engagement campaigns. Not only do you need to think about the actual text, but think about using rich media for your personalized, targeted messages.

Thirdly, you need to use analytics to increase the impact of your campaigns. With full visibility of the technical and commercial performance of your app, you can use data to inform your future marketing and development decisions.

About Kumulos Mobile User Engagement Platform

Kumulos offers a number of features to assist app developers in engaging users through mobile messaging and measuring engagement analytics. To learn more about driving engagement, take a look at our push notifications and in-app messaging feature guide.

Kumulos platform provides app analytics so you can measure campaign results then improve your next campaign. Moreover, Kumulos gives you everything you need to make an app successful. In one dashboard, you can also benefit from the App Store Optimization feature to help increase downloads.

And, when it comes to the technical performance of the app, there’s crash reporting and API Endpoint Monitoring. Contact us for a product tour, or start your free trial today.

Push notifications – 10 ways to improve your messaging

Improving push notification performance is perhaps not high on your to-do list. Perhaps you are spending more time on App Store Optimization (ASO) to increase app downloads. But, if you’re spending time (and money) getting more app users, you need to improve their user experience with a good push notifications strategy. You might think that having a push notification strategy is simply enough to increase app retention rates.  

However, implementing push notifications are just the beginning of your mobile marketing journey. Like any mobile marketing, and like ASO, you need to analyse the performance and optimize the push notification campaigns. 

So, whether you already manage push notification services for your clients, or would like to start providing this service, here are 10 ways from the Kumulos mobile marketing automation team to improve push notifications. 

  1. Segmentation is top priority
  2. Use channels to give you a receptive audience
  3. Automate push using geofencing
  4. Use rich notifications to increase open rates
  5. Add dynamic content to messages
  6. Use the ideal length for push notifications
  7. Time it perfectly within the user journey
  8. Send the right amount of push notifications
  9. Create a sense of urgency or FOMO!
  10. The importance of A/B testing your push campaigns

1 Segmentation is top priority

According to Business of Apps Push Notification Statistics, there is a good trend for mobile marketers sending segmented push notifications. This is of course instead of broadcast messaging.  

When it comes to segmentation, you should build audience segments to target specific users of your app by applying filters to data captured from the install, such as location (e.g. country and city), operating system (e.g. iOS or Android) and the version of the app (e.g. to encourage users to update). 

You might wonder how to do this easily when you have thousands of push notification subscribers?  If your push notification service has the ability to create segments, like Kumulos does, then it is easy. 

2 Use channels to give you a receptive audience

Channels allow your users to subscribe to content based on their preferences. By defining either portal visible marketing groups or allowing your app to create private or public groups, channels allow you to target content at a receptive audience.

When you’ve built your segment, you can use channels to categorize the content you send and let users subscribe to content relevant to them.

3 Automate push using geofencing

When geotargeting is used, not only do we see an increase in open rates but also conversion rates. With Kumulos, you can define Geofences to target installs within a specific area or within a certain radius of a fixed point on a map (e.g. within 1000m of a retail outlet that is running a promotion).

Basically, geofencing allows you to specify a location radius so that when the app user enters or leaves, it triggers an automatic push message. However, don’t forget to use segmentation and channels as part of your geofencing strategy. 

And, this gets even cleverer, when you start to create a proximity marketing campaign. Proximity marketing, or location based marketing, is when you can interact with app users in real time. Location based marketing uses geofencing to automatically send a push notification when a user enters or leaves a specific location. 

With Kumulos push notifications, you can manage campaigns triggered by geofences or beacons. You can then automate geotargeting campaigns, using rules to send push notifications to subscribers when they enter, exit, linger in a geofence or are near beacons. 

You can use simple radial geofences or easily define complex multi-point polygon geofences to build accurate boundaries to trigger your automation. Campaigns can run indefinitely or for a limited time. What’s more you can preload campaigns in advance and use in conjunction with channels and segments to notify the exact, target audience for that campaign.

4 Use rich notifications to increase open rates

You can apparently increase open rates by up to 56% if you use rich push notifications. You might ask what is a rich notification? It’s simply a push campaign with an attachment which is rich media. So, in addition to the characters in the notification, you can include images, video, audio and other interactive assets. Add deep linking, URLs, rich push features like emojis and more.

According to Business of Apps Push Notifications Statistics, emojis can increase reaction rates by 20%. 

5 Add dynamic content to messages

Dynamic content is content for a message that’s tweaked based on known information about the targeted app user. Basically anything that you have captured as a Profile attribute within the app can be used as dynamic content. For example, if you know a user searched for bluetooth headphones the last time they used your shopping app, you can mention bluetooth headphones in a push notification.

6 Use the ideal length for push notifications

When it comes to the number of characters, it really depends on the type of message. According to research, 90 characters is the ideal to get clicks. However, for offers it’s best to keep them to 20 or 25.  There’s actually a guide to push notification length by industry over on Business of Apps. The stats show that if your app is in entertainment or travel you can get away with longer messages. However, when it comes to education, training or coupons it’s best to keep it short. 

7 Time it perfectly within the user journey

Push notifications can work better when sent during certain phases of a user journey. Intelligent campaign scheduling will help you improve the success rate of your messaging.

Should you wait until a certain point in the user journey before sending a push? Some stats point to the fact that you should wait until between four and six sessions but it depends on the type of app.   

8 Send the right amount of push notifications

Like anything in marketing, sometimes it takes a few attempts to attract the attention of your target. But then the law of diminishing returns kicks in.  If you send too many notifications, you risk people disabling notifications – which is one of the dangers of using push notifications too much. You also risk bad reviews and are in danger of frustrating app users who don’t know how to change their notification settings easily.

9 Create a sense of urgency or FOMO

Nowadays, people have a fear of missing out (FOMO) and you can use your push notification strategy to create a sense of urgency when it comes to re-engaging with the app.

So, if you’re looking to create strong engagement, are there certain words you should use? Words suggesting urgency are good…such as “soon”, “limited”, “don’t miss”. Also, action words are generally good such as “explore”, “enjoy”. 

10 The importance of A/B testing your push campaigns

A/B testing is straightforward. You start with a message, message A, and change one variable in it, to create test message B, and push it out to similar segments of your user base, ideally selected at random.  The variable which you change could be a word in your copy, the image you use if you are using rich notifications, the percentage off on an offer, or the timing when a user receives the message.

Afterwards you can analyse the data and conclude which message was more successful and use this information for future campaigns. 

Improve your push notifications today 

So, there’s 10 ways you can improve your push notifications. From segmentation to using channels and geofencing there are so many ways to better target your messages. And, when it comes to the content, using rich content, dynamic content and getting the timing and frequency right will really help. Finally, don’t forget the A/B testing!

About Kumulos Push Notifications

You can deliver a push notifications service for clients using Kumulos or give them control with an easy-to-use, branded as yours, mobile marketing automation portal.  If you’d like to find out more, why not start your free trial today! 

How to Improve Mobile User Engagement

Mobile user engagement is something you should aim to continually improve. So, let’s be clear what’s meant by the term mobile user engagement. In mobile marketing, engagement is the term used for an interaction between a user and an app. And, it’s measured by examining analytics. 

But, before you can measure anything, you need to interact with your users using push notifications and in-app messages. Actually, it’s possible to improve mobile user engagement by 30% using intelligent messaging. So, let’s take a look at why you should focus on engagement and how to improve mobile app engagement. 

Why you should focus on mobile user engagement

Engaged users form the basis of a healthy app. When you increase engagement, you increase the app retention rate. And, you will have more active and loyal app users.  Moreover, these loyal users will be more likely to leave positive reviews and help improve app store listings too. 

From a budget perspective, engagement campaigns cost less than acquisition campaigns. Stats from Bain and Company say that it costs 700% more to acquire new users than it does to retain existing users. So, in this post, we’ll take a look at the messaging channels to improve mobile app engagement – push notifications and in-app messaging.  

Firstly though, build a quality app!

This sounds obvious, but so many apps suffer from poor engagement because certain app features crash. After users have downloaded your app, any bugs affect the user experience.  Sadly, some apps aswell as having a poor UX/UI, also lack proper functionality and hence have a poor app retention rate.   

So, arguably the most important step in boosting engagement is for app developers to build a quality mobile app with decent app features. Minor bugs after launch do happen, but just make sure all app developers test your app thoroughly before releasing to the Google Play and Apple App stores. Moreover, build in crash reporting and API endpoint monitoring to ensure any crashes and problems are picked up and can be fixed fast. 

Engagement starts with the onboarding process

You can increase user retention rates by 50% with good onboarding. When you implement a solid onboarding process, your app users will understand the value of the app better. 

Your onboarding messaging should lead with the value of your app, and show off the key features. Importantly, only ask for the mobile device data that you need. 

It’s important not to bombard the user’s mobile device with permission requests, like location prompts, at the start of the onboarding process. Make it clear to users exactly why you’re asking for access to specific areas of their phone. And, explain how that information is important for them to get more value out of the app. Finally, save the ‘nice to have’ permissions for when the user is more engaged with your app. 

Using In-App Messaging to Increase Engagement

As great as push notifications are, often in-app messaging is better for engagement as the messages are delivered in the app. As there doesn’t have to be an opt-in process, it is a way to reach the majority of the app audience. However, at Kumulos, we do still recommend asking for consent first. Check out why consent-based in-app messaging is the future

Using Push Notifications to Increase Engagement

Push notifications are an excellent channel to drive users to the app. Remember, app users like personalization – but not just their name! They want their interactions to be relevant to their preferences, location, and in-app behavior. 

Individualized push and in-app messages perform much better than broadcast. 

So, by including segment attributes like location, in-app behavior, message preferences and more, targeted push notifications achieve even greater mobile app engagement. This is especially true of rich push notifications that include media like photos and videos. Use deep links which allow you to link directly to a screen within an app and this creates an incredibly seamless experience and increases the app retention rate.. 

Use Analytics to Guide Your Messaging Strategy

How you measure engagement depends on your KPIs and the type of app. Regardless though, your mobile user engagement strategy will be much more successful if you use app analytics to understand app users’ behaviour. You can look at metrics such as active users, number of sessions, session length, timein app, screenflow and more. It’s also worth looking at opt-ins and opt-outs to see what users are choosing to receive. 

If you still feel that you need to narrow down your KPIs, here are the 10 app performance questions you need to answer

What you need is a mobile marketing platform that gives you insights into how well you are retaining users, and the impact of your app marketing campaigns. 

In a platform like Kumulos, you can view engagement data for the last 30 days, 60 days, 120 days, 6 months, 12 months or All Time.  Also, the data shows when during the day and week users are opening the app, how frequently they open the app and how long they typically use the app.  This is vital information to help you make data informed marketing decisions. 

What’s more, with Kumulos, if you have enabled Push Notifications & In-App Messaging, it will also show how many notifications have been sent and opened.

Hit Send, Repeat 

Mobile marketing is an iterative process. You need to analyze the data, target the right audience, hit send, then repeat. How each person responds is a glimpse into their preferences, even unexpected responses! 

You should do retrospective segment analysis to expose new insights from past campaigns and reduce the app churn rate. Retrospective analysis lets you build more compelling ones the next time around.

Improving Engagement by using Kumulos

Kumulos offers a number of features to assist app developers in engaging users through mobile messaging and measuring engagement analytics. To learn more about driving engagement, take a look at our push notifications and in-app messaging feature guide

We also offer app analytics so you can measure campaign results then improve your next campaign. Moreover, Kumulos give you everything you need to make an app successful. In one dashboard, you can also benefit from the App Store Optimization feature to help increase downloads. 

And, when it comes to the technical performance of the app, there’s crash reporting and API Endpoint Monitoring too. Contact us for a product tour, or start your free trial today.  

Three app development best practices to increase location opt-ins

app development

Location prompts can be a problem area for app development teams.  After all, you’ve no doubt been there yourself…you download an app…immediately get prompted for your location…and let’s guess…you don’t hit “allow”.

According to Chief Marketer*, only 20% of app users don’t allow location access to avoid marketing messages. Which is good news for mobile marketers! Actually, app users are mainly worried about privacy (45%*). But, things like battery life (63%*) become a factor too. However, these opted-out users won’t get the best in-app experience.

So, how do you successfully use location prompts when working on your next app development project? There’s no point in mobile app developers having new beacon technology and capability for location-based targeting if there’s a big obstacle in the sense of mobile users disallowing location access. This is incredibly important. Because, if an app user declines Location Services, then the app developer won’t be allowed to ask the user to enable location services within the app – ever again.

In this post, we take a look at 3 best mobile marketing practices to increase location opt-in. If you follow these proven ways, you can expect around a 70% increase in app users granting location permissions.

App development – 3 ways to increase opt-ins from location prompts

Mobile messaging, whether push notifications or in-app messaging are great tools to allow you to send highly engaging messages. Moreover, location-based messages let you send the most relevant and contextual marketing messages. The users who receive those messages will get better value from the app. However, you first need the permission of the user.

So, what can you do to increase the chances of app users willingly allowing location access? There are a few app development principles which you need to follow – we’ll take a look at 3 of them. These involve:

  1. Being transparent about the reason you’re requesting location permission
  2. Showing the value of the user giving their location
  3. Making sure the prompt is timely

Messages need to be transparent

You need to be clear about the reason you’re requesting location permission. The message should explain what data will be collected from the app user. It should also explain how the location data will be used and why it’s being collected. And, it’s good app development practice to include a link to a privacy policy for full disclosure and transparency. Transparency paired with an awesome onboarding experience and user interface will help convince app users to share their location.

Messages need to prove why location is valuable

Remember, an app should only request location opt-in if it is going to provide value to the app user. The message should explain how enabling location services will help the user get the best out of their app experience. Often, users won’t allow location access because they don’t understand the payoff. In exchange for disclosing location, app users expect real benefits. So, if you want to keep mobile users hooked, you have to explain how location data will add value to and help enhance the user experience.

For example, travel apps often require location services for the app to fully function. Note that sometimes the wording of a message can help e.g. giving them an option such as “Always Allow” or “Only While Using the App” could help.

In fact, Apple allows users to select “Allow While Using the App,” “Allow Once,” or “Don’t Allow,” Note though, that if they select “Allow While Using the App”, this doesn’t help your geofence targeting for personalized push notifications . So, ideally, you want them to select Always. Which leads us to why messages need to be timely.

Messages need to be sent in a timely manner

You need to ask the user at the right moment in their app journey. If you send a location request immediately after the app is first opened you will inevitably lead to the user tapping “Don’t Allow”. Finding the right moment will increase opt-in conversion and improve the user experience.

Make sure your prompts don’t appear to come out of nowhere. You don’t want the prompt to feel intrusive. And, if users aren’t yet familiar with your app, the message is going to be unsuccessful. Instead, wait until the user is engaging with a feature that requires location services so they can clearly see why it’s useful to them.

How about those who already switched off location?

If you already have users who have turned off location services, what can you do to get them to allow location sharing?

Well, if a user has already said no to sharing their location, the only way this can be changed is if they go into the settings of the phone. You could try to encourage them to change their settings. But, it’s a bit of a lost cause. For example, would you read a push notification and immediately follow the instructions to go to your phone settings?

You can now really understand the importance of that initial app development prompt which proves the value of enabling location services.  Of course, you can still send push notifications and in-app messages to those who disallowed location sharing…it just won’t be as personalized when it comes to their location.

About Kumulos Mobile Marketing Automation Platform

Not only is Kumulos a multi-award-winning tool for push notifications and in-app messaging but the mobile marketing automation platform, gives you app analyticscrash reportingASO and more – all in one dashboard. Why not take a look at who uses Kumulos?

In fact, Kumulos is the first fully integrated mobile marketing automation platform to help you attract, engage, retain and monetize app users. We don’t care whether you’re building native apps on iOS and Android, or using your preferred hybrid platform, or a low-code / no-code platform, you can use Kumulos to help you deliver greater commercial success. We partner with a range of technology providers such as Beaconstac for proximity marketing using beacons.

Contact us for a demo, or take a free trial today to improve your app development.

DMEXCO 11-12 Sept, Cologne | Kumulos will see you there!

DMEXCO 19 – Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 September 2019 – is fast approaching!

For those of you in the world of mobile app development you know what this means. We’re all headed to Cologne, Germany for #DMEXCO19.

DMEXCO 2019, Cologne, Germany

Kumulos will be attending DMEXCO 19, so if you’re going to be in Cologne, contact us and arrange to say hi! We’re more than happy to show you the new features we’ve added to our mobile app performance management platform over the recent months.

Features like, in-app messaging, custom analyticsAPI endpoint monitoring, our partnership with beacon solution provider Beaconstac, Berlin’s leading app developer Mobiteam and our tech partnerships with no-code platforms Betty Blocks & Shoutem.

Kumulos is a regular exhibitor and attendee of many industry events.  We love APS Berlin, APS London, MWC Barcelona, MWC New Delhi, MWC Los Angeles, TNW Conference and TechXLR8. And, DMEXCO is shaping up to be an exciting event.

DMEXCO is the meeting place and a community for key players in digital business, mobile marketing, and innovation. The event brings together industry leaders, marketing and media professionals, and tech pioneers to set the digital agenda. Bringing together 41,000 visitors, about 1,000 exhibitors, and more than 550 speakers from around the world for a one-of-a-kind event each year in Cologne, DMEXCO is where tomorrow’s digital business happens today.

We can’t wait to see you there. Beforehand, if you want to brush up on the top mobile app development trends, bookmark our top mobile app development trends 2019 to read on your journey.

DMEXCO 19 TRENDS

Taking a look at the agenda, there are a number of digital marketing trends to watch out for at DMEXCO 19.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is by far the biggest trend of 2019. Automation is prevalent and advancing fast. Successful companies are using technology to automate their response to consumers at every point of the consumer journey using mobile tools such as chatbots. At DMEXCO, expect conversations to include AI’s ability to put the customer at the centre of the brand experience.

Personalization

Expect to hear valuable lessons on how leaders are getting personalization right. The focus will be how to use data more effectively and how new data types can be used to create memorable, personalized consumer experiences.

GDPR

You might yawn but yes we’re still talking about GDPR 18 months later. Getting the balance between privacy and relevant, personal marketing is a challenge. Watch out for talks on the best practices for companies to make the most out of the legislation.

What’s more, you can put your new ideas into practice easily using the Kumulos APM platform which comes with a comprehensive range of services covering the entire life cycle of the app. Kumulos provides you with a management console that delivers comprehensive visibility on how an app is performing technically and commercially, and the features, such as push notifications and app store optimization to deliver better results from the app. Kumulos is leading the way when it comes to consent-based in app messaging too!

If you haven’t already got tickets for DMEXCO, there’s still time to buy tickets.

If you can’t attend, follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Instagram for #DMEXCO19 updates.

WHY CATCH UP WITH KUMULOS AT #DMEXCO19?

Kumulos mobile app performance management platform is trusted by thousands of mobile app developers across the globe. We eat, sleep and breathe mobile apps. Kumulos is the system that helps you, and your clients, deliver success from mobile apps. What’s more, we help you deliver recurring revenue services that grow your business!

Kumulos is the most comprehensive mobile app performance management platform for mobile app development agencies with Push Notifications, App Store Optimization, App Analytics, Crash Reporting & Diagnostics, Document Sharing, Collaboration & Content Editing, all in one place. Did you know, Kumulos mobile app analytics was a finalist for Best Mobile Analytics at App Growth Awards 2018, Berlin. Moreover, our Push Notifications & In-App Messaging feature has been named a top Push Notifications service by Mobile App Daily, Business of Apps and The Tool.

FREE TRIAL FOR ATTENDEES

Sign up for your free trial ahead of #DMEXCO19. See why thousands of mobile app development agencies are already using Kumulos to grow their business. Then, contact us to arrange a product tour.

Consent-based messaging – why it’s the future for in-app messaging

consent-based messaging

Consent-based messaging has never been so important for mobile marketers. Just read the headlines about EE being fined for sending messages. You’ll soon understand the implications of ignoring data protection legislation.

The good news is, that, if you’re already using a platform like Kumulos as your mobile messaging platform, consent is built in for push notifications and in-app messages too. Kumulos is leading the way when it comes to supporting opt-in consents – and withdrawal of consents –  for ALL mobile messaging – push notifications and in-app messages.

In this blog post, we take a look into the importance of consent-based messaging. Also, we give you some tips on how to obtain consent.  Moreover, we give you the information you need to be GDPR compliant now, and for the future of consent-based mobile marketing.

Firstly, why did the ICO fine EE Ltd?

In the mobile sector, you couldn’t escape June 2019 headlines about EE Limited. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined EE $122K (£100K) for sending over 2.5 million direct marketing messages to its customers, without consent.

The messages encouraged customers to access and use the ‘My EE’ app to manage their account. This is a service message – and fine in terms of messaging. But, the messages also invited users to upgrade their phone. This is marketing – and should only reach those opted in for marketing messages.

During the investigation, ICO found the messages contained direct marketing. Moreover, EE did not follow electronic marketing rules when it comes to obtaining consent.

The ICO’s guidance on mobile marketing is clear. Marketing messages can only be sent to existing users if they have given their consent, and, if they are given a simple way to opt out of marketing when their details are first collected, and in every message sent. This is because app users have a right to opt out of receiving marketing at any time. When app users exert this right, it’s the organisation’s responsibility to stop sending messages. EE’s use of in-app messaging for a service message combined with a marketing message broke the rules of consent.

Stark reminder of GDPR legislation for app marketers

The ICO’s investigation of EE is a reminder that mobile app marketers cannot escape the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  At Kumulos, we welcome GDPR as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to app data protection and mobile privacy rights. Kumulos is GDPR compliant and used by thousands of mobile app developers as their trusted mobile marketing automation platform.

Data protection and gaining consent has never been more important, especially since this new EU GDPR legislation came into force in May 2018. In fact, when it comes to consent-based messaging and data protection, it’s worth reminding yourself about GDPR regulations.

Here’s what you should already know:

  • Explicit consent: Businesses must request consent to collect, use and move customer data
  • Right to access: Data controllers must be able to provide a copy of personal data, free of charge
  • Privacy by design: This concept has existed for many years already but comes under the legal requirement of GDPR. Privacy and data protection should be a key consideration through all stages of a project lifecycle
  • Right to be forgotten / Data Erasure: Users can request to have all their personal data deleted
  • Breach Notifications: Authorities and users must be notified of any potential data breach within 72 hours

All companies must be able to demonstrate that they are adhering to regulation by putting procedures in place to protect their customers’ data and this includes data within mobile apps.

Obtain consent – don’t violate data protection rules

Data is one of the most important parts of technology, particularly mobile app development.  From gathering app analytics for reports to obtaining app users’ consent and details for targeted push notifications, data plays such an integral role.

Sending app users push notifications requires consent.  Fact.

However, in-app messaging, which is considered as part of the app experience does not actually require an opt-in from the user. Although, be careful as not all in-app messaging is classed as user experience and would still need consent if using this channel purely for marketing.

When used correctly, in-app messaging is the perfect channel for reaching users who have opted-out of receiving your push notifications and emails. But, this can annoy app users. Moreover, the ambiguity surrounding what constitutes an appropriate in-app message, can lead to embarrassing situations like EE being recently fined.

Data can often be misused unintentionally and if this happens, like EE, it can be costly for the company. GDPR legislation means that all app developers need to check their mobile marketing strategies and the tools that they use. Processing data responsibly has always been important. If anything, the introduction of GDPR has put more rigor around data management. The ICO has the power to prosecute if companies have not taken measures to combat potential vulnerabilities of sensitive data. Be warned, like what happened to EE, they do prosecute!

The future of mobile marketing – Kumulos leads the way

The launch of Kumulos in-app messaging was met with much excitement by mobile marketers around the globe. Not only because it enables them to use the same platform to send in-app messages as well as push notifications, but because Kumulos is leading the way with consent-based in app messaging.

Kumulos is offering mobile app developers a choice to either auto-enroll all users, or, give users the choice of in-app messaging consent.

What does this mean for mobile app developers? Well, given that consent is definitely going to become a bigger issue for mobile marketers it means that users of Kumulos can worry less about data legislation because they know that Kumulos has opt-ins covered.

Mark Petrie, CEO, Kumulos says,

“We built in consent from the ground up on Kumulos in-app messaging feature. This gives app developers the option when coding an app to use the built in consent model for in-app messaging. They can of course alternatively auto-enroll everyone for in-app messaging, but Kumulos gives them the option.”

Encouraging users to opt-in for messaging

Getting app users to opt-in to push notifications (and in-app messaging) can be tricky. However, to stand a better chance you need to keep the messages relevant. And, convey the value of the content you will deliver to your app customer. Here’s some ideas to get users to opt-in to push notifications through the use of in-app messaging and custom screens.

First impression counts

Like anything in life, first impressions count. When it comes to onboarding new app users, provide an eye-catching splash page. For example, a custom screen that pops up the first time a user opens your app. Then, use this to guide your customer through your app’s top features.

Don’t ask users to opt-in immediately

One of the biggest mistakes that app developers make is asking for permission right away.  This often frustrates your app users and will result in low opt-in rates.

Create pre-permission messages to gauge user interest

Following onboarding, you can gauge user interest with a pre-permission message asking whether they want to opt in to receive updates. If the user clicks ‘OK’, direct them to the official consent page; if the user clicks ‘Not Now’, wait until they are more familiar with your app and ask again later.

By postponing the initial question and gauging the user’s interest, you can save your one opportunity to obtain consent for the ideal time. And, when you think you’ve reached the ideal time, you can use a tool like Kumulos in-app messaging to seek push notification permission.

Time your consent request based on their app activity

Demonstrate value to your app user before attempting to show the opt-in again. One smart way to achieve this is to set certain event criteria before launching consent requests. Emphasising exactly how push notifications will contribute and enhance the user experience based on their unique actions is more likely to encourage opt-in.

Test for best conversion rates

Once you’ve set up your pre-consent messages and event criteria, it’s vital to test and measure the success of your in-app message variables. Testing will help improve conversion rates. You should test the timing of messages as well as the content and design of the message. Try out rich content with images too.

You’ve obtained consent – now maintain the relationship

Once your users have opted in to receive push and in-app notifications, it’s critical that you respect the highly personal nature of this communication channel. Focus your efforts on delivering targeted, personalized push messages. These will add value to ensure your users do not opt-out of push at a later stage – or uninstall the app!

Final thoughts on consent-based In-App Messaging

In-app messaging allows you to deliver rich content to users whilst they are in the app. Mobile marketers use in-app messaging to boost conversion through the on-boarding journey, highlight special offers, ask users to rate an app, subscribe to receive push notifications and much more.

In fact, industry statistics reveal that those who use in-app messaging see around a 30% increase in uptake of app launches.

They also see a massive 4 times increase in app retention.

For maximum effect, push notifications and in-app messaging can be combined. With Kumulos, once configured, you can send unlimited push notifications to opted-in users and in-app messages to app users on both iOS and Android devices. You can use segments, channels, geofences and beacons to target your audience, trigger automations and schedule campaigns. Just don’t forget that consent-based messaging…requires consent!

Kumulos is easy to setup. Start sending in-app messages now by signing up for your free trial or book your product tour.  Kumulos’ secure, easy to use mobile marketing automation platform is trusted by thousands of mobile app developers in 25 countries across 7 continents – with millions of connected devices managing billions of API calls & push messages a month.

In-App Messaging vs Push Notifications: What’s the Difference?

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In-app messaging is now being used more frequently by mobile marketers. But, there are still many app marketers who currently only use push notifications. They think push notifications alone are sufficient for their mobile app marketing strategy.

However, mobile marketing should always be about targeted engagement. Personalization is key when it comes to app marketing. Gone are the days of generic marketing messages. In are the days of tailored messages to suit the actual needs of app users.

A key part of this personalized mobile marketing strategy is app messaging – both in-app messages and push notification messages. Regardless of the type of message, app messages should reach the user at the right time, with the right content, to engage them further with the mobile app.

The Difference between In-App Messaging and Push Notifications

The two most important ways to deliver app messaging campaigns are push notifications and in-app messages. So, what’s the difference between in-app messaging and push notifications?

What are Push Notifications?

When clients ask you about mobile app messaging, you probably start talking about push notifications. Don’t you? Pretty much all mobile marketers use push notification marketing because it’s easy to implement and it’s an industry standard.

Push notifications are a great technique to increase app retention. They let you deliver messages to the app user’s home screen on their mobile. It’s like an SMS message, but coming from an app. When the technology first came on the scene, push notifications were solely text and sometimes emojis. Now though, rich push notifications let mobile marketers include text as well as images, video and sound. And the use of beacons along with push notifications makes proximity marketing a very powerful technique for marketers.

In-app Messaging

Recently, in-app messaging has become more common in mobile marketing. It can be used to draw attention to new features, highlight special offers, better onboard new app users and much more. What’s more, in-app messages can deliver rich content like images and video too. Overall, in-app messaging is a powerful tool to create more targeted user sessions. There are stats floating around the industry that say those who use in-app messaging see around a 30% increase in uptake of app launches and a massive 4 times increase in app retention.

When to use Push Notifications and when to use In-App Messaging

It’s all very well having two fantastic mobile marketing messaging tools, but how do you know when to use a push notification, or, when an in-app message would be better?

When to use Push Notifications

Push notifications are great for prompting immediate interaction and engaging app users who are not currently active in the app. Users who opt-in to push notifications are a great target audience. Opted in users tend to engage with your app on a regular basis – so much so that they engage around 90% more than those who are not opted in.

Often though, the decision about when to use push messaging comes down to the content, frequency and timing of the messaging. If you get all three right then push messaging drives lapsed users back into your app and brings awareness to your mobile marketing campaigns.

However, don’t misuse push notifications. Note, they can be irritating for the user and ineffective if they lack context or purpose. Overdo push notifications and you will risk an app uninstall.

Overall, with push notifications, you have the power to engage users outside of your app at a chosen time. This content can act as a reminder to use the app. Or, it can notify the user of a special offer, or advise about app updates. In summary, when push notifications are customized, timely and justified, push messages drive big results and increase app retention. Follow a strategy to increase opt-ins from location prompts and you will be able to use location as a factor for segmentation.

When to use In-App Messaging

In-app messages are notifications which are displayed while the user is active within the app. Some people talk about native app content as essentially they are used to nurture users in the app and increase app session time. Because it is sent while the user is in the app, this type of messaging is very contextual. Success is very much dependent on having good app analytics as messages can be triggered based on user interactions.

Due to this tailored style, it creates a more seamless progression from an app user’s initial session to the desired conversion. If it’s done well, in-app messaging should feel like a natural part of the app. It should not feel like additional marketing. In app messaging can be used by mobile marketers to fine-tune app content or marketing strategy.

Although the in-app message can only be shown when the app is open, it’s possible for the app marketer to send the message and it will wait for the next app open. Therefore, the user doesn’t necessarily have to be active at the time of sending the message.

Using In-App Messages to Improve the Onboarding process

Another popular use of in-app messaging is to create onboarding experiences for new app users. A well structured flow of in-app messages can show new users the most popular app features. In fact, it’s one of the most common ways you’ll use in-app messages as it’s been proven that by implementing onboarding you can increase retention rates by over 50%.

However, there can be challenges. Without the right tool to run in-app messaging, it can be difficult to implement and track. If you don’t have the right app analytics and know how to act on them, it’s hard to get it right.

In summary, in-app messaging is the single most effective way of creating a richer app experience. This is due to being able to segment and tailor the target audience. It creates a more valuable app session by providing the user with personalized messages. What’s more, it can funnel actions into becoming conversions.

Using both Push Notifications and In-App Messaging

As part of a wider mobile marketing strategy, push notifications and in-app messaging work best when used together and not separately. The key is to have layered messaging. For example, if an in-app messaging campaign is triggered by app opens, but you have a low open rate, you could consider running a push marketing campaign to prompt more opens. This way, you are using push notifications to re-direct users back into a funnel for your in-app messaging!

Most importantly, a structured approach to messaging means better app usage analytics and more engaged users. Most importantly though, the app user will feel that they are getting the best experience possible. Make sure you ask your client the right questions before you start their mobile app development project and you’ll be able to nail their messaging strategy! Check out the 20 questions you need answers to – before you build your client’s mobile app.

Choosing a tool for push notifications and in-app messaging

Award Winning Push Notifications Feature

There are many solution providers who give you the tools to run push notification campaigns and in-app messaging so it’s worth doing your research. For a complete list of providers, check out Business of Apps Top Push Notifications Guide.

About Kumulos Mobile Marketing Automation Platform

Not only is Kumulos a multi-award-winning tool for push notifications and in-app messaging but the mobile marketing automation platform, gives you app analytics, crash reporting, ASO and more – all in one dashboard. Why not take a look at who uses Kumulos?

In fact, Kumulos is the first fully integrated mobile marketing automation platform to help you attract, engage, retain and monetize app users. We don’t care whether you’re building native apps on iOS and Android, or using your preferred hybrid platform, or a low-code / no-code platform, you can use Kumulos to help you deliver greater commercial success. We partner with a range of technology providers so you can have it your way.

Contact us for a demo, or take a free trial today.