Author: Lewis Hughes

Messaging Options for Apps – How to Use Them Effectively

notifications on phone

For mobile apps, messaging is the most essential marketing tool at your disposal. Messaging is your direct contact point with your app users. Push notifications have always been the most effective way to gain interest in your app personal messages that entice the user to open your app.

Without regularly communicating relevant information to your app users, it’s difficult for apps to build a relationship with users and keep them active, using messaging allows apps to captivate users early, target lapsed users and continue to communicate throughout the lifecycle of the app.

It’s important to establish the needs and wants of your audience and establish what it is they are looking for from your app. The more accurately you can target your messaging campaigns, the more chance there is of keeping your users engaged and reducing users deleting your app.

We will look at the two main types of messaging options that you can use with Mobile apps.

  • Push Notifications
  • In-App Messages

But first let’s cover the common characteristics that you should always look for when selecting a quality messaging provider.

Key Features to Look for in App Messaging Platforms

Before deciding on your messaging strategy it’s vital to know what tools you can make use of that can benefit the way in which we send messages. Establish which of these would be beneficial to your business and be sure to find a provider who can offer the services you need.

The key features to look for in Mobile messaging platforms include:

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.

Segmentation & Channels

Not all of 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 messages 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.

Automations

Sometimes called Mechanical Messages 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 and reinvigorate the user to keep them active.

Integrations with Rich Analytics Data

Good 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, 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.

Kumulos messaging dash

 

Geolocation Targeting

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.

Geofencing map

 

Confirmed Delivery 

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

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 message platform that will let you link directly to the relevant page in your mobile app. That’s called Deep Links.

Deferred Deep Links allow you to send messages from one mobile app user to another. If the person receiving the link doesn’t have the app on their smartphone then the clever 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.

deferred deep links graphic

 

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 imbed URL web links for the user to click on.

What are Push Notifications?

The most common way to message app users is of course Push Notifications. The purpose of the following is to show you that there are a number of other options open to you. And to show you why it’s important to use the full arsenal of messaging options to fully engage with your users. These are messages that can be sent to a mobile device even if the app is closed. It will alert the user to the fact that they have a new message and good push notification services will let you include along with text, images, emojis, deep links, links to websites and action buttons to allow users to interact with the message.

With push notifications you can target users when they aren’t active with personalized and relevant messages that bring them back to your app. There are many features at your disposal when trying to create brilliant messaging campaigns, these can make your messages more than 50% more likely to be opened than a basic push message.

Where do Push Notifications work best?

Push Notifications are great to bring users back into your app. To alert them to new information in your app or something that you believe they’d be interested in finding out. They can appear even if the app isn’t open on the smartphone so are a very effective way to re-engage users that aren’t frequent users of your app.

What are In-App Messages?

As their name suggests In-App messages only appear to the user when they are actually in your app. They can be programed to appear immediately and the message pop up over the screen the user is currently on, or can be programmed to appear the next time the user enters the app.

What are the advantages of In-App Messages?

With In-App messages you have complete freedom on the design of the message. With push notifications this is heavily controlled by the operating system of the smartphone.  In-app messaging lets you create a fully custom design and include branding, images, action buttons and videos to engage users and encourage users to interact.

Another big advantage of In-App messages is the fact that you do not have to expressly ask permission from the app user to send them messages. That said, it is increasingly good practice to ask users to opt in for any form of communication, especially if they are designed to sell to the user. So you should go with a Message Provider that gives you the option to ask users whether they want Push Notifications and/or In App Messages, so you are future-proofing against future changes in legislation.

In App Messages can appear immediately, if the person is currently in the app it will pop up in front of their current screen. Similar to Push Notifications it can be set to appear at a predetermined day and time. In all cases it will interrupt the user when they are in the app.

Alternatively, you can set messages to appear the next time they enter the app. So, it doesn’t interrupt them with their current session

You also have the option for the message to only appear in the inbox in the mobile app. In this case no message pops up on the phone, but the app can be set up to show that there are unread messages in the app inbox to draw them in to view the message

Where do In App Messages Work Best?

They work best to inform and engage regular users of your app. They can be used to tell users about new features in the app or special promotions as they enter the app. Or important information that you know they would want to know. And of course, you can use all the important key features that we detailed earlier, so you can make them highly targeted and relevant.

Because you can completely control the design of the message they can be designed to look like they are part of the app itself and not a messaging add-on. You can create messages that look like pages of the app that are effective extensions to the content of the app itself avoiding the need to post an update of the app and easily. For example, changes to flight information or train arrival times.

Best of both Worlds

Most good Messaging platforms let you pair push notification campaigns with in-app messaging. This means you can “tickle” the user and re-engage those who aren’t currently in your app to alert them to an important new message. And use the rich media possibilities of an In App message and its “on brand” design to deliver high impact communications that maximize the possibility of goal conversion.

Creating Brilliant Messaging Campaigns

Having great technology at your disposal is one thing. But how you put this to good use is another. We have seen many, many mobile app marketers that have the best technology in place but aren’t delivering the results they expect. The temptation is to blame the tools. And while that could be part of the problem (set up too complex or toolset difficult to use) very often it’s how the technology is applied that’s largely at fault. So, once you’ve established what features you need from a vendor to target your audience, the focus shifts to the message itself. Marketing an app is easier with the right tools but without creating an effective message the efforts are futile.

Appearance

As we have said the style elements of a push notification are controlled by the OS of the device the message is sent to. For this reason, it’s important to make use of the stylistic factors you can control. Images and interactive buttons can be added to make messaging more aesthetically pleasing and conversion driven. This not only helps your message stand out from others but encourages conversion more than plain text notifications. Emoji’s can also be added to brighten the text within your notification and convey the emotion or tone intended by your message.

Adding up to 3 buttons as a deep link within your notification can give the user options of which they prefer and allows you to direct them to the exact page of your app you want to depending on which they click. This can be conversion driven in terms of directing to a page with an item on offer in the user’s basket.

In-app messages aren’t dictated by the OS of the user device and offer more options to customize. Use brand colors, fonts, videos, images, or work from templates provided by your messaging provider.

Knowing why to send a message

The frequency of how often you send notifications to a user can have a large effect on how users interact. For some apps, 1 a day or less is the preferred amount, ideally 3-4 times a week is adequate. It’s important to know that the message you are sending is of value to your user.

Valuable messaging typically falls into one of these categories:

  •  Retargeting funnel drop-off – Reminding a user of a conversion that they never completed in the later stages, such as adding an item to their basket without finalizing the purchase.
  • Onboarding – Making sure that new downloads fully configure and set up your app with prompts when users delay a step in the onboarding process.
  • Important Information – Company updates and changes to your app, trending news and relevant stories
  • Location specific – Using a geofence or beacon, a user enters an area within proximity of your location, and you want to target them with an offer to entice them to your store
  • Time-limited – Give users a sense of urgency with a promotion that is one-day only. This encourages users with the ‘do it later’ attitude to do it now instead

Use data gathered on what your users are using your app for, what is popular and what are they crying out for. This understanding should translate into the types of messaging you send.

Reaching the Right Audience

Messaging needs to be personal and relevant to individual users. Segmentation and channelling allow you to group users based on demographics and in-app behaviors that create smaller groups that allow you to create more defined campaigns rather than broadcast messaging.

An offer on a pepperoni pizza would absolutely encourage conversions in users that have purchased one in your app before. Receiving notifications like these from your app when you’ve only ever bought vegetarian options can be off-putting and may cause an unsubscribe.

This is why a good push notification provider allows you to create segments and channels that better define your users into relevant groups for targeting. You can set-up these campaigns to allow the platform to automate the sending of these messages based on a time-trigger, such as intelligent delivery or a location trigger such as when a user enters a geo-fence.

This is how you can send personal, relevant messaging at exactly the right place and time. Couple this with rich images, branding and interactive buttons that link to the specific deal you’ve chosen and let the platform automate the sending of the message then these conditions are met and you’re on your way to making the most out of the most effective marketing tool for apps.

Creating Your Strategy

For any app, in any industry it’s important to have a strategy that can be used to establish and evaluate messaging campaigns and improve each time.

  • Think ‘Why?’ – What is the purpose of the message in this campaign, think of your end goal and establish a message that best fits
  • Establish your audience – Segment and channel you campaign to send to only the relevant users
  • Create an aesthetically pleasing message with conversion driven relevant content
  • Time your notifications or set-up automations to send them on your behalf at the optimal moment
  •  Evaluate your campaigns success- Campaign analytics can show you user and campaign to evaluate success and constantly improve

 

Summary

Brands that utilize all the available tools in messaging marketing will engage users from the first point of contact, throughout the life cycle of the app.

Using all the available features to reach the exact users, at the right place and time with personal messaging will not only encourage engagement and conversion, but also boost the user retention rate of apps. This is not only valuable practice short-term by encouraging conversion but long-term by keeping users engaged and encouraging future re-engagement.

Using the right message medium for example, in-app messaging in combination with push notifications in multi-channel campaigns, allows interactions with users whether they are active or not and keeps all bases covered.

Start making use of all the features available to boost your messaging campaigns and start retaining your users long term with a messaging strategy customized to your app and users.

About Kumulos

At Kumulos we offer a purpose-built Mobile User Engagement platform with industry leading messaging features such as rich, interactive push notifications, in-app messaging, web push notifications and integrated analytics. With Kumulos you can build intelligent, informed, powerful automatically triggered messages. Our focus is to help you retain app users through engagement by allowing you to target the right user, at exactly the right place and time that they are able to interact with you.

Operate all aspects of your user engagement strategy from creating messages, managing your audience to evaluating your campaign using analytics in one place – the Kumulos Mobile Marketing Hub.

Our Messaging feature allows you to send rich, interactive push notifications & in-app messages with imagery, video and action buttons that increase your chances of user engagement. Combine these with location targeting to send personalized, highly relevant, engaging messaging to the user in exactly the right location and strive for better results from your user engagement strategy.

If you’d like to try Kumulos for yourself, we would like to offer you a free demo of our platform where we can show you all of these features and more. Book your demo here and start seeing better results from your app with all the tools you need to engage users.

The 5 Things You Need to Know to Get the Most Out of Deferred Deep Linking

woman using iphone

To get the best out of Deferred Deep Linking in your marketing campaigns it’s important to set clear business goals and then use the technology effectively. In this article we cover the 5 big things you need to consider to maximize this powerful marketing tool.

1. The Difference – Deep Links vs Deferred Deep Linking

What’s the difference? If you have experience marketing an app then I’m sure you’re familiar with Deep Links. Deep Links allow you to direct app users to a specific promotion or new piece of content within our app with one tap. This is usually done through the sending of a mobile push notification or in app message that when clicked takes the user to the specified content.

This allows you to offer targeted deals to your existing app users. Think of these as internal links shared with existing users. What’s more conversion friendly? If you want to sell a pair of shoes that your user has in their basket half price in your sale. Marketing the offer through a push notification, engaging the user and leading them to your app homepage – where they then have to find the shoes, apply the offer code, go to basket etc. Or the user clicks the notification where they are taken directly to their basket, shoes at the ready, 50% off applied. Then all they have to do is pay. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the more convenient option is going to outperform its undefined rival every time.

Deferred Deep Linking on the other hand is a link you can use external to your mobile app and send to people that may not have your app already installed. These have all the conversion friendly benefits we just spoke about, and more. Deferred Deep Linking broadens your horizons and allows you to reach out to users with compelling offers across many digital channels. This lets you offer specific promotions in places outside the app and then with a Deferred Deep Link take the person directly to the specific offer in the app. So, for example, send an email, a banner ad on a website, social media post or build referral schemes with product advocates to acquire new app downloads and motivated users.

This is where the magic comes in, if they click on the link on their mobile device and they don’t have your app installed on their phone, it takes them to the app store to download the app and then onto the correct destination page in your mobile app.  If they already have the app installed it opens and takes them directly to the relevant section of the app. It’s a perfect tool to acquire new users for your app AND re-engage existing app users.

deferre3d deep linking graphic2. How to Acquire High Quality New App Users

Deferred Deep Linking is a great tool to acquire new app users if you put it to good use. They let you run promotions across multiple digital media outlets – website, social media, email to target people who don’t yet have your app installed… then when they click from their mobile device the Deferred Deep Link system will know they don’t already have the app installed and take them to the relevant Appstore of the device to download the app.

Because you have caught their attention with a compelling offer, they will be much more likely to be highly motivated new users, interested in what you offer.

So, what is best practice at using Deferred Deep Linking in off-app promotions to convert high quality new users?

It works best by offering specific calls to action so it’s easy to engage with the promotion.

  • Book a discounted weekend break with Booking.com. Present the offer in the advert to catch attention and when they click, take them directly to the details of the offer in the appropriate section of the mobile app.
  • Telephone booking for a Taxi or order carry-out food, send a follow up SMS message with a deferred deep link encouraging them to use the app next time.
  • Email to customers telling them of a special offer or new feature available through your mobile app. Use this to capture new users and re-engage users who may not have been in your app for a while.

3. Win-back Lapsed Users

You can use Deferred Deep Linking to very effectively win-back lapsed users. These may be people who have used your app in the past but just aren’t responding to any Push Notifications campaigns. Possibly because they have off-loaded your app from their phone.

If they follow your social media channels or you have collected their email or cell number as part of their past onboarding, then you can use these to send offers to bring them back. And the beauty of Deferred Deep Linking is that it works regardless of whether they have deleted your app from their phone or just haven’t opened the app for a while. So, you capture both lapsed and gone-away users.

Another important advantage is that it also lets you target users that have previously opted out to receive push notifications. You can entice them back to your app with an attractive promotion.

4. You Can Get Personal… and Customers Love Personal

Personalizing marketing is one of the oldest tricks in the book. But with Deferred Deep Linking it goes one stage further. It lets you make the overall experience smooth and seamless.

With Deferred Deep Linking you can create highly personal links for each person you are targeting. The link can contain information about the person, so when they reach the app this information can be passed automatically into the app. For example, apply a pre-set discount to the shopping cart or pre-populating onboarding screens to make first set-up quick and easy.

The more you can do to make the user journey smooth and seamless the more users will convert.

5. Attributing Download and Conversion Sources

Knowing (for sure) where your downloads or purchase conversions are coming from is gold-dust for marketers. Understanding which media sources are generating the highest value customers means you know where to effectively channel marketing investment. Deferred Deep Linking can help with this also, you can pass information through the link that will then be associated with the customer when they install. This can contain the media source or even which specific promotion led the customer to download your app.  Being able to study your most valuable customers and understand which messages or media sources deliver your most engaged users means you know what campaigns are working best, and where to double down. It also allows you to very accurately calculate your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC). Comparing this with the lifetime value of your customer (the total of what they pay you for as long as they are a customer) means you can calculate how much you can afford to pay to acquire new customers.

Some Final Thoughts

Here’s some additional things to think about when utilizing deferred deep linking:

  • 70% of emails are opened on mobile and using deferred deep linking is a great channel to drive mobile app use.
  • SMS has the highest percentage of opens for any type of messaging communication on mobile at 98%
  • Social media platforms can make it more difficult for marketers to use deep links, while this is a great tool to hit your audience, platforms like Facebook insist on opening a window within the Facebook platform rather than in an external browser. This can make it trickier for deep links to understand what’s happening but it’s not impossible with the right link and provider.
  • Websites are great ways to acquire new mobile app users. These could be simple landing pages heavily optimized in key search terms that relate closely to your target audience or bigger more functionally rich sites that your customers will typically visit first to find out more about what you do. A great way to encourage website users into your mobile app is to include a simple form asking for their phone number with a Deferred Deep Link in the SMS you send them. It then makes it easy to take them directly to the offer in your app, or first through the app store if they don’t have your app installed yet.

What We Can Do For You

Kumulos is one of the worlds leading Mobile Marketing Engagement platforms. We help you acquire, activate, engage and retain your valuable mobile app users for longer. Specifically, our Deferred Deep Link feature helps you user a broad range of marketing channels to engage your target audience. It also helps you effectively re-engage lapsed users or those who aren’t opted in for push notifications.

Kumulos provides enterprises with a single pane of glass to drive more app downloads, consistently engage and retain your mobile app users for longer, delivering greater mobile app success.

To see how we could help your business grow and deliver more from your mobile app, ask for a free no obligation demo or set up a free 30 day full system trial.

Guide to Location Targeting with Geofencing

Geofencing map

Implementing features that allow apps to easily define and target users makes marketing to your audience easier. This helps to keep users engaged and boost your chances of retaining them long term. For businesses that have physical locations or where it’s important to know where your customers are, geofencing can significantly increase the engagement you can get from your mobile app messaging. 

Often businesses don’t make the most of using the features available to them in the world of app marketing, meaning they aren’t maximizing their potential. One common mistake we see is app publishers focusing too heavily on acquiring new users rather than retaining the far more valuable ones they already have.  Last year only 32% of users launched an app more than 11 times.

Being able to define your audience and target them with rich, personalized messaging increases your chances of engagement by more than 50%. And doing this with accurate proximity-based marketing means app owners can catch their users attention at exactly the moment they are ready to engage.

Using geo-location, to intelligently deliver rich, interactive messaging will  increase user engagement by sending notifications that are timely and highly relevant to each individual user. 

What is Geofencing?

A geofence is an area you define that will automate the sending of messages. This can be when someone enters, leaves, or is present in a predefined area. It works by using the GPS services within a smart phone and the phone telling the app where it is, so this can then correlate with the coordinates of the geofence. If there’s a match then an action is triggered – a message is sent, or the location is logged.

For example, if a coffee shop wanted to target a certain area of a city with a promotion, say around one of their competitors stores,  they can define a geofence and when a user enters into this area with their app on their smartphone,  an automation will send their chosen message to the user. This means you are able to communicate with a user at precisely the time they are ready and able to interact with you, in the right place and receiving it at the optimal moment – Using mobile technology to drive footfall to your premises.

kumulos-features-update-geofences

A geofence can be set around a small physical location like the areas around a shop or shopping mall or as big as an entire city. Part of their brilliance is in their flexibility. Complex geofence perimeters involving intricate polygons around very specific areas are totally achievable. This allows you to be very precise about where you want the geofences to be and avoid areas such as freeways where you may not want to trigger messages to your app users. You can also have hundreds or even thousands of geofences or geofences within geofences. Used for the right reasons they are a very, very powerful message targeting tool.

How does it work?

There is no hardware required to install a geofence and can be done from within your service providers web console. To work, you require a mobile app on the smartphone and an SDK from a service provider, such as Kumulos, integrated into the mobile app. The smartphone user also has to grant you permission to track location (foreground as a minimum as well as background ideally) and particularly for Apple phone users then explicitly grant permission to send push notifications. 

Once the geofences are in place when someone enters, leaves or lingers in a geofence you can decide exactly what actions should happen.

  • Send a Notification  (now or after a time delay) like “Enjoyed your visit? Rate us on Tripadvisor
  • Send an SMS or email- Giving them important information about a location
  • Send an in app message – with rich media content
  • Add them to a remarketing list to then tell them about a future event at the same location.

To get the best from the technology, there are few things you need to know about geofences. Location tracking on a phone can put a heavy load on the smartphone battery. Anyone who has used Google Maps on a long journey will testify to that. So to manage this, the operating systems of the phone enforce certain rules, such as only sharing the location update every once and awhile (15 –  20 seconds for example). Also it wont repeatedly send location updates where the person hasn’t moved far from the last update. Typically significant change is over 500 metres. So to get the most out of Geofences you have to follow some important best practices, and understand these limitations. They will apply to ANY service provider you use. We will dive into this in more detail a little later.  

 Once this is enabled the geo fence will have all the necessary tools to automate the sending of the campaigns you create.

Why use Geofencing?

"2 for 1 subs" push notifications on phone

As we have said they are a powerful targeting tool for mobile marketers. Used wisely they can deliver huge business benefits, delivering higher revenue spend in the app, using mobile technology to keep your customers loyal and stop them being tempted by your competition. 

Here’s some examples of how geofences are used. 

  • Increase footfall by sending promotional offers as the user approaches your store
  • Catch your users when they are near a rival location by setting a geofence around that location, then incentivize with push notifications to draw them to your store
  • Know what your customers are interested in and send them relevant offers,  (based on previous in-app behaviors) when they are near your location – An offer like “We think you’ll like this dress. It’s now on sale”
  • Get feedback from customers that have been in your venue – like “we hope you liked your stay, rate us on trip advisor”.

Beacons Vs Geofences

beacon technology illustration

Location targeting options are not limited to geofences and in certain circumstances they may not be the best option. 

Beacons can be useful in indoor locations where the smartphone may not have a GPS signal. Also if you want to get very precise targeting, say down to just a few meters – they could be the best solution.  The downside is they require a physical device located at a cash point or store front,  that connects to your app users phone through Bluetooth when they are nearby. 

You can get the best of both worlds however and use Geofences and Beacons in combination. 

Geofencing is better for much larger, definable areas. Beacon range is generally just a few hundred metres, so will trigger messages when someone is very local…

Best Practice for Geofencing campaigns

There are key considerations to take into account when implementing geofencing within your app, these will help you get the most from campaigns and firmly establish a successful geofencing campaign.

  • Carefully consider the position and size of your geofence to capture the maximum number of users. Don’t make them so large (hundreds of miles wide) that they aren’t nearby or so small (10 metres) that you hardly message anyone.
  • Consider how people will be traveling through the Geofence – by car, walking. The speed that they travel is a factor in how large a geofence should be, to stand the maximum chance of them triggering the message.
  • Mobile phones only send location updates every 15 – 30 seconds and only when the person’s location has changed significantly from the last update being sent. So, you have to consider this when deciding the size of your geofences. So, don’t make the geofence too small where people are traveling quickly and could be through the fence before the phone has a chance to send location data.
  • Don’t try to use geofences where GPS location data could be poor, inside buildings or tightly drawing geofences around the building perimeter. Use Beacon technology if you can in these situations or target open spaces where people will be entering the building.
  • Limit the number of times someone will receive a message. The best way to encourage someone to un-install your app is to send them repeated (and possibly irrelevant) messages. 
  • Time of day – think about the relevance of the message and the time of day. Don’t promote your Breakfast specials at 2 in the afternoon. Either switch off messaging in your geofence when it’s not relevant, or better still have it set up to send different messages from the same geofence at different times of day.
  • Make the message REALLY relevant. Don’t just trigger a general message for every one of your users unless that makes sense of course. Send messages that are highly relevant for the user based on what you know about them and what you know they are interested in.
  • Prime the message based on their past usage of the app. If you know they have looked at a particular product but haven’t purchased it yet, then if it’s on sale and they are near your store – tell them about it.
  • Consider using Geofences in conjunction with Beacon technology, if that makes sense. So if you have a store, put Geofences around your place (and if you want around your closeby competitors) and then use Beacons for when they are close (100 meters or so) to bring them to your door. Also consider using beacons inside your venue to provide hyper-local information.
  • Use location information to remarket to the user at a later date.  Knowing that someone has been near your place, in the past, is valuable information. So store it and use it for later outreach marketing campaigns. “Hey the next time you are near, come in and see us for the latest special offers”.
  • Social proofing – for some businesses customer endorsements are really important. So you can use the fact that someone has been to your place to then ask them to rate you on TripAdvisor, or similar. Set the geofence system to trigger, say, 24 hours after their visit with a link to your page, for their endorsement. 

Choose your Geofence system wisely so you don’t have to chop and change when your needs evolve. Find a company that offers:

  • An easy to use dashboard to create, edit, disable geofences with no technical skills required.
  • A system that offers custom shape (polygon) geofences as well as simple radius options. 
  • A system that lets you manage geofences and beacons in one place
  • A system with flexible automation rules so you can easily build and adjust the rules that will trigger location targeted message
  • Frequency limited – Use a system that can let you set the maximum number of times anyone can receive a message in any one day/week/month.
  • Don’t just rely on Push Notifications. Also use Rich Media In-App messages to really engage your users.
  • Go omni-channel and use a system that can also send SMS and Email messages so you have complete flexibility over how you communicate with your customers.
  • A system that will build remarketing lists for you, so you can keep in touch with customers who you know have been near you in the past, to bring them back to you with attractive offers. 

Final thoughts

Geofence technology is ideal for any business where the location of the app user is important. Smart use of Mobile technology not only improves the interaction you can have with your customers it also means that you can catch their attention at precisely the time that they are ready and able to interact with you. 

It’s not right for everyone. Firstly, it only works if the person has your mobile app in their cell phone. There is NO way round that. They also have to give explicit permission to allow you to track their location and send them messages, so you have to have a good reason and sell the value of this to your app users. 

That said… picking the right system that doesn’t require you having a PHD in computer programming and having a friendly developer on standby isn’t important if you find a platform that will allow you to grow into its features. 

Used correctly,  there’s no doubt that proximity marketing delivers huge benefits to anyone with physical locations that you want app users to visit. Allowing you to build loyalty and entice them away from your competition. 

Who are Kumulos

At Kumulos we offer a purpose-built Mobile User Engagement platform with industry leading location targeting capabilities – ideal for anyone with a place they want their app users to visit. Main features include rich, interactive push notifications, in-app messaging and integrated award winning analytics that lets you build intelligent, informed,  powerful automatically triggered messages. Our focus is to help  you retain app users through engagement by allowing you to target the right user, at exactly the right place and time that they are able to interact with you.

Our geotargeting services including geofencing or beacons are easily integrated into your app. Kumulos offers an API that you can install for geofencing and monitor all aspects of your campaigns, including messaging and geofencing, from one place – the Kumulos Mobile Marketing Hub.

Our Messaging feature allows you to send rich, interactive push notifications with imagery and action buttons that increase your chances of user engagement. Combine these with location targeting to send personalized, highly relevant, engaging messaging to the user in exactly the right location and strive for better results from your user engagement strategy.

Other features such as analytics will allow you to evaluate your messaging campaigns and analyze location data to ensure your campaigns are sending the most effective message, in the most relevant locations.

If you’d like to try Kumulos for yourself we would like to offer you a free demo of our platform where we can show you all of these features and more. Book your demo here and start seeing better results from your app using geofencing.

Apple Event September 2020 – What You Need to Know

Apple products on desk

Here is your recap of the September 2020 Apple event so you can find out what new developments Apple have brought to the table for the rest of 2020. The main talking point from everyone post-event and the first question to answer for everyone was that there was no new iPhone model announced. What you will get is the iOS 14 update for your current iPhone and we did see considerable updates to service offerings as well as new models and operating systems for both the iPad and Apple Watch. Lets breakdown the event for you.

iOS 14

Released on September 16th along with WatchOS7 and TVOS 14.  One of the biggest aesthetic changes Apple has introduced to iOS in a long time will see a restyling of the homepage that now includes widgets on the home screen. These can be added by the user to suit their preference. A feature called Smart Stack will automatically update these widgets for you based on your usage. Apps also will now be housed differently in this new set-up with the ability to remove pages of apps and have your apps in the new app library giving more options to how apps are displayed. In the app library apps will be grouped based on activity with the most used remaining at the top, where they will be smartly grouped based on content by iOS 14.

Another interesting development sees Apple work towards making the iPhone able to carry out 2 functions simultaneously, that previous systems have not been able to. Features such as a Siri answer or an incoming call will now display as a notification at the top of the screen opposed to stopping you from using your phone for other functions as previous. Video can now be collapsed to a smaller window and will still enable you to watch whilst you navigate through other apps.

Apple are now introducing App Clips which allows users to use a certain function of an app without actually having to download the full app. Now users can make a purchase in-app without downloading.

 

iPad, Apple Watch 6 & SE

The new iPad 8th gen has converted its port from the lightning cable to USB C in a move that sees it become more compatible with a universal, open hardware port. This will be using the new A14 Bionic chipset expected to power the new iPhone 12 when it arrives. The new eighth-generation iPad is joined by the new iPad Air, the powerful iPad Pro, and iPad mini. Prices start from $599.

New models of the watch see the introduction of many health features such as tracking sleep and monitoring blood oxygen levels, this feature can be used to help spot disease (I wonder what made them decide to introduce this) . The S6 chipset sees battery life and speed increase by 20%, while it can now use a brighter display.  The SE model is capable of many of the 6’s new features but obviously comes at a reduced cost, starting from $279.

 

AppleOne & Fitness+

Why not take your Apple TV, Music and new Fitness+ subscriptions and consolidate them into one place? Well now there’s AppleOne which allows you to take these services as a bundle whilst saving you a little bit of money at the same time. Prices range from $15-30 per month.

Fitness+ is Apple’s new venture into the digital workouts industry where offerings will include yoga and cycling and can integrate with your Apple Watch. These will be expected before the end of the year and a monthly subscription starts from $10.

 

To Sum Up

So, we didn’t get the expected new iPhone but there have been some interesting developments from Apple and the now available iOS 14. We have an insight into what kind of chip we might see in the new iPhone. We can see Apple expanding  further into fitness and creating a multi-media platform in AppleOne. Stay tuned for the (hopefully soon) announcement of the anticipated iPhone 12.

App Store Review Guidelines March 2020

apps on iphone

For the first time this decade, Apple has reviewed its guidelines to continue to provide the best possible service to app users. 77% of Apple devices less than four years old use iOS 13, so Apple believes all apps on the store should also be up to date with the iOS 13 SDK by April 30th. Keeping the store regulated and forcing apps to update is how they can ensure the best possible functionality for iOS users.

Developers need to make sure their apps fit within the new guidelines not to be removed from the store. If there are any issues with your app, the app store team will be in touch to inform you, from which point you have 30 days to get your app in order or it will be removed.

So, let’s have a look at some of the key points that you might want to be aware of before you wake up one day to your app having been removed.

App Store Review Prompting

Personalized prompts for reviews are no longer allowed. The Apple API for reviewing has been updated to be less intrusive and allows users to review an app without being forced to do so on the app store. With this they’ve also made it the only acceptable method of review prompting “we will disallow custom review prompts.”. You have been warned.

There’s also been a change to the way you’re allowed to reply to app reviews, “Keep your responses targeted to the user’s comments and do not include personal information”. It would be interesting to see some of the replies to bad reviews that meant they actually had to put this in the guidelines.

Data Collection

States are adopting new privacy laws quickly in 2020, CCPA began in January and more than 10 other states are in the process of reviewing their privacy laws. In accordance with the constantly tightening restraints on user data collection, there has been a new update that will affect a small number of apps. It’s vital that apps are in line with data protection laws as the penalties are severe. New additions to the review guidelines state, developers should not submit apps from highly regulated fields such as healthcare providers or financial services. These apps need to be submitted by the legal entities that provide the services or will be rejected. 

Saturated Markets

They’ve updated the markets that are considered saturated, so if you have one of these apps in the pipeline… sorry guys: 

“…the App Store has enough fart, burp, flashlight, fortune telling, dating, and Kama Sutra apps, etc. already. We will reject these apps unless they provide a unique, high-quality experience.”

If your ‘fart app’ keeps getting rejected, it could just be that it isn’t unique enough and not that it wasn’t a very good idea. On a serious note, there are probably quite a few dating apps in development right now that this will be a huge blow to… There’s always Android.

Push Notifications 

Once authorized by the app user, push notifications can be sent to their device for marketing purposes. Push notifications have always been and are still the best way to retain and engage users on your app. This now allows you to drive towards conversions with your messaging. Highly-target users based on their in-app behavior such as ‘funnel abandonment after add to cart’. This could be huge for app marketing, but it must be clearly stated that notifications will be used for such purposes in the app UI so users can opt-out. The only time these kinds of notifications will not be allowed is when the user has opted-out of receiving marketing push notifications, which all apps must now allow users to do from within the app.

Apple Sign-In

Apps that offer a third-party sign-in verification alternative such as Facebook or Google now have to also offer an Apple sign-in option. You’ll need to implement this in your app unless you fall into one of these categories Apple has exempted: 

  • Your app exclusively uses your company’s own account setup and sign-in systems.
  • Your app is an education, enterprise, or business app that requires the user to sign in with an existing education or enterprise account.
  • Your app uses a government or industry-backed citizen identification system or electronic ID to authenticate users.
  • Your app is a client for a specific third-party service and users are required to sign in to their mail, social media, or other third-party account directly to access their content.

Bundle IDs

Don’t create multiple bundle IDs for the same app. If your app has different versions for users depending on variables like location or favored sports team, then these will need to be available on the app store as one app. Once downloaded, the app can offer a specific version as an add-on. If you do upload the same app, say 32 times, adjusted so there’s one for each individual team in the NFL – this is considered spamming. They will all be removed/rejected along with risking your inclusion in the developer program.

Banned Apps

Apps that are now blanket banned are any that involve any kind of attempt to evade the law, where this only previously applied to apps such as those that show where DUI points are. Other apps that were previously and are still banned are those that encourage the use of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs etc.

Submission for Review and After

If you’re looking to submit your app for review be aware it can take a while, there’s a thorough process involved in making sure apps adhere to these standards. Obviously, these aren’t all the steps you need to take to get your app on the iOS app store and you can read the most recent version of the review guidelines here.

Once your app has managed to finally pass the test, it will be available for download in the app store. It’s a dog eat dog world there and you might not be seeing the results you had hoped for. There are some ways you can increase your visibility and boost your user acquisition. Kumulos offer App Store Optimization as a feature, the best way to make sure you outshine your competitors at the first point of contact.

It’s a huge success if your app is downloaded but a lot of brands focus way too much on the number of downloads. Apps need to retain and engage users in order to see real business results. Kumulos gives you all the tools you need to keep users engaged and boost your retention rate including – rich, interactive mobile push and in-app messaging. Create loyal customers from your new downloads and boost your MAU with Kumulos.

Opt-in and Engage – Website Push Notification Success

ipad and laptop

Successful website push notification campaigns are judged on how many users opt-in and then engage with your message (hence the title). These two go hand-in-hand, so you’re going to need to think of a way to boost both to reap the benefits of your web push campaigns.

Luckily, you’re reading this blog and we’ve done the thinking for you… you’re welcome. What’s so great about web push notifications you ask? Well, the click-through-rate is 11% for cases of less than 5,000 subscribers, which is pretty impressive if you realize that it’s almost unheard of for the CTR to hit even 5% for email marketing. Web push opt-in is a really easy process too – just a few clicks, no download or email address required, and you’re set to send.

There’s been some recent changes to how browsers handle web notifications with safari and Firefox requiring a user to interact with a page before a prompt can be shown. The chrome update detects if users are likely to reject notifications based on previous choices and decides whether to show the user the prompt or not. Optimizing your opt-in process is now even more critical to gaining subscriptions.

In this post we look at some of the ways in which you can maximize the success of your web push campaigns from the opt-in, to the message and everything surrounding the notification. Get all the tools you can use to engage your users and boost your CTR.

 

Opt-in

Before you can send the user any form of notification, permission must be granted through the acceptance of notifications via an on-screen prompt through desktop or mobile web. The hard prompt must be accepted by the user to allow you to send the notifications to their device. There’s no way around this unfortunately, the hard prompts are browser specific, un-customizable and… (when on their own) very forgettable. They look the same from website to website which isn’t what we want. We want our prompts to get noticed. There are ways to help you stand-out at this first point of contact and obtain the elusive opt-in…

Soft Prompt Before Hard Prompt

Create your own engaging prompt that represents your brand and message that pops-up before the mandatory browser prompt. This is the ‘soft prompt’. While this won’t count as a subscription to notifications, it does give you more power over the process. It’s like a Jedi mind trick, once you appeal to the user with your own brand message, the hard prompt isn’t so scary anymore. These are fully customizable which means you can change it at any time to represent your current campaign.

                                 

    Example of a soft prompt                                     Example of a hard prompt on Chrome

 

Another benefit is that if the user is to reject your soft prompt, then this can be used to postpone the trigger of the hard prompt. A second soft prompt can be used at a later stage and if accepted at this point, can automate the trigger of the hard prompt, maximizing the chances of acquiring a subscription.

Subscription Overlays

This is an effective tool to emphasize the prompt. To use the website further the prompt must be actioned. An overlay gives weight to the process of answering the prompt, let your users know this isn’t just some random pop-up, you want them to opt-in.

A tip to get noticed – adjusting the opacity levels of the overlay makes the prompt stand out from the page and has statistically been shown to increase the opt-in rate.

Web push overlay example

Overlay used on Chrome

shopping.de subscription overlay edge

Overlay used on Edge

 

Time Your Prompts

As a first-time user to a website, most of the time you’re not entirely sure this is the right place for what you’re looking for. A quick browse around the website is a pretty good indication if you need to look elsewhere. If you enter a site and you’re going to check through a couple of things to see if the site is going to offer what you need… are you likely to accept to receive notifications from this website you know very little about? Before you’ve even had the chance to find out if this is what you’re looking for?

So, time your prompts and give the user some breathing space. If they’ve figured out who you are and what you do and they’re still hanging around… now send them a prompt! They’re more interested than the user that bounced straight back out of your website in 3 seconds. You don’t need to waste your resources like that.

Engage

So, with all those tips you should hopefully get a few more subscriptions, but there’s no point boosting your subscriptions if your engagement is still lacking. Be smart with your messaging to increase the open rate. Here are a few things you can be doing to appeal more to your audience.

Be Concise

There’s a considerable drop-off in engagement depending on how concise you can be with your messaging. A study on mobile push notifications by Localytics found that the optimum number of words for a push notification was 10 or fewer with a CTR of 8.8%, up to 20 words was then 4.9% and more than this at just 3.2%. This applies across the board for push messaging, no matter where you’re receiving it. Get your message across but don’t drag on about it, people want it short and sweet when it comes to notifications.

Target Your Message

Why broadcast a generic message to everyone who’s ever let you send notifications to them when you can make niche, targeted content and only send it to those that it applies to? Segmenting your audience is a far more effective way to get the results you want. Once a notification has been opened, 54% convert from a segmented push notification compared to only 15% from a broadcast message. Target users based on their onsite activity or who they are – allowing you to specifically target your chosen audience (e.g. only females, iOS users or those who have funnel drop off after cart abandonment.)

Limited Time Offers

You can get a quick response out of a user by putting a timescale on offers. People are more likely to react when they have the fear of missing out. Notifications need to be actionable and if you’re correctly segmenting and targeting, the message should be relevant to the user that receives it.

Frequency & Timing

Don’t overdo it. No one wants to receive notifications at all times of day and night. It lessens the value of the message and honestly… people find it irritating.

Don’t dilute your message by sending it more than once within a few hours unnecessarily and don’t have your user looking at their notifications to find 5-10 notifications from your website (they’re not going to read them). Find your optimum frequency to stay relevant to your users without becoming off putting.

You should also time your messages. Obviously different countries have different time zones; different working and sleeping hours. These are all ways you can time your messaging to be more in-tuned with the specifics of each individual user. If you’re a food delivery service – target around dinner time. If you’re a de-stress app for the end of the day – target later in the evening. Think about when your users will need you most and aim to be there at that time.

 

Where to Start

Now you have all the tools laid out in front of you, you can choose which of these tactics will work for your brand and find a formula to boost opt-ins and engagement for your users. If you’re doing it right, you’re going to retain these users and create loyal customers through your web push savvy.

At Kumulos we love website push notifications and recently added them to our award winning, omni-channel messaging platform. We offer you the opportunity to send rich push notifications and analyze results from both a technical and commercial standpoint. If you’re interested in web push notifications, then why not try a free Kumulos demo and see real business results for your website or app.

Goodbye Fabric, Hello Firebase

google logo

As of April 1st, Fabric will be no more… no it’s not a terrible, drawn-out April fool’s joke. Google has deprecated Fabric and moved Crashlytics services to its new home in Firebase. You’re probably already familiar with Firebase but if not, we’ll get to that. Google is taking the approach of streamlining its app development services and incorporating things together in one place. If you’re a Fabric loyalist, I’m sure you’ll adjust. To make the transition a bit easier for you, we’ve taken a look at crash reporting and how you can get up to speed and working better than ever in your new Firebase home.

Why Use Crash Reporting?

It’s easier to achieve desired conversions with an existing user than it is with a new acquisition, 85% more returning mobile users will ‘add to cart’ compared to new users. How do you expect to engage users and gain conversions on an app that isn’t functioning? If an app is only opened once in a 7 day period there’s a 60% chance the user will never open it again.  If your app crashes, you lose engagement meaning you’re more likely to lose the user.

Crash reporting simplifies the process of fixing fatal and non-fatal errors in your app. It’s your safety parachute when things go wrong. Spend crucial time fixing problems instead of struggling to find them first. There doesn’t have to be a user interaction for crash reporting to spot something isn’t working. You can stay ahead of the curve and fix things before your users even notice something isn’t right, helping you maintain a seamless UX.

Crashlytics & Fabric – The beginnings

Fabric began life in 2011 as Crashlytics- a humble start-up. If you’ve been in the game that long, you’ll probably remember this savior coming along to make crashes infinitely less stressful. Remember way back when apple added iOS crash reporting? If you couldn’t source an error you had to send your reports off to Apple for them analyze and get back to you days, even weeks later. I don’t remember this, I was actually still finishing school at the time and not really concerning myself with app crashes (unless it was Temple Run).

So, along Jeff Seibert and Wayne Chang came with this new cloud-based crash reporting solution. “Let’s make crash reporting easier!” …one of them probably said at some point, because that’s exactly what they did. Instead of the arduous process involved with fixing crashes, Crashlytics made it simple. Pinpointing the exact line of code causing your app to crash – prioritizing the errors and faults so you only need to fix the ones that were fatal to your app. It’s still doing this today (until April) but goes by the name ‘Fabric’ after being purchased in 2013 by Twitter for the bargain amount of $100 million dollars.

The Google Years

Google then purchased Fabric from Twitter for an undisclosed amount in 2017 but the following year made the decision to incorporate crash reporting into its 2014 acquisition Firebase.

You’re probably a Firebase user or at the very least, familiar with what it is. In layman’s terms Firebase is a collection of SDKs and tools to build, improve, and grow your app” (that one is an actual quote). It focuses on backend practice so that developers can worry about the front-end of the app, safe in the knowledge Firebase has got your back.

Firebase Crashlytics

So, since 2017 we’ve had Firebase Crashlytics. Did you know that, or have you been too preoccupied with using Fabric? It’s no new invention so you don’t need to feel like a guinea pig or be afraid to migrate over. It replaced ‘Firebase Crash Reporting’ when it was deprecated (Google’s favorite pastime), with the aim of becoming the sole crash reporting tool offered by Google when it replaced fabric. They released a timeline of the migration in the transition plan from 2018, so if this is all news to you, well you only have yourself to blame.

Migrating Over to Firebase

To not be caught out by this move you’re going to need to migrate. Migration is a relatively simple process through the Fabric migration flow. You have to make sure you have no code from Fabric that is going to interfere with the Firebase Crashlytics SDK. A full explanation of this will probably be useful, which you can find here.

Once all traces have been wiped, you can download your shiny new Firebase SDK. Unzip the folder and initialize Crashlytics within it. Watch it get to work and collect all your crash reports for you. Now, I stress that I simplified that process considerably in the interest of not writing the world’s worst blog post. Although, actually doing it still isn’t that difficult, so before you try it based on my skimming over the process, you can use the handy Google official migration guide instead.

Alternatives

Finally, if you’re not a fan of Google… or I was too slow publishing this and they’ve had Firebase deprecated, then you have some other options. One such tool for crash reporting is Raygun. Raygun crash reporting comes with a lightweight SDK that is easily integrated into your app. Limited services start from $19 per month for the basic package and $79 for a more comprehensive experience of the program. This would be the recommended package to get if you’re in the market for a crash reporting tool as the $19 version does have its limitations due to the caps on the service provided.

Here at Kumulos, we also offer crash reporting & diagnostics as part of our mobile user engagement platform. While you work hard to acquire and engage your audience, you’ll always struggle to retain users if your app crashes, has bugs or is slow. Why wouldn’t you want to see what kind of experience your users are having and use this information to adjust your retention and engagement campaigns accordingly? Why should you have to use two different Firebase SDKs or login to two different vendors to get this information?

Kumulos includes unlimited crash reporting and diagnostics starting from only $75 per month. Get alerted via Slack or Microsoft Teams and push crash reports to Trello or Jira to track the development and testing of the fix. Gone are the days of wondering why DAU is falling and your beloved app is suddenly getting one-star reviews. Kumulos gives you a single-pane-of-glass through which you can see both the commercial and technical performance of your app. Allowing you to feed this into intelligent, targeted messaging campaigns to retain and engage your audience. Book your free demo and see how Kumulos can help you safeguard the user experience in your app.

CCPA – What It Means for You and Your App

CCPA Data

What is CCPA?

The California Consumer Privacy Act is a revolution in the data privacy rights of the American people.  Much like the GDPR in Europe, CCPA aims to regulate how companies can capture and distribute your data. America still has no federal law that governs the data rights of American citizens. California has always been a leader in data privacy regulations, previously operating by CalOPPA. This is a potential starting point for new privacy regulations to be adopted nationally. More than 10 other states are in the process of considering new laws regarding privacy.

CCPA came into force on the 1st of January this year to protect the data of the Californian people. Only the user must be located in California for CCPA to apply. The physical location of the company collecting data is irrelevant, they only have to be operational in California.  This means any online service that fit the criteria of CCPA have to make their intentions clear to any user from California and allow them to opt-out of data collection from January 1st.

 

What This Means for App Users

So, what does this mean for the app users of California? It puts the control of private information back in the hands of the user. They have the right to stop a company from selling their data to a third-party. This has previously been going on without ever needing consent. It allows control over what information is collected and holds the businesses collecting data responsible for any breaches in security. Within the first 6 months of 2019 4.1 billion records were compromised in data breaches, 3.2 billion of which were from just 8 cases.

Now users can have previously stored data deleted and permission must be granted by the user for the sale of their data. Companies cannot discriminate the service provided based on the users’ data preference.

 

What CCPA Means for You and Your App

CCPA has strict stipulations about when these practices come into play, the majority of apps on the market won’t fall into these categories. But if any of these 3-thresholds apply to your business then it’s time you pay attention to this new law:

  • The first instance in which CCPA will apply is to companies with over $25 million annual revenue.
  • The second states that the company must have more than 50,000 “consumers, households, or devices” data stored.
  • The last condition is that 50% or greater of profits come from the sale of data.

Below these and it doesn’t come into effect. If any one of these 3 applies to you then you should already be compliant with CCPA. Due to these thresholds, it shouldn’t apply to most smaller companies.

Why These Thresholds?

These thresholds make a lot of sense and are fair to smaller organisations or those who aren’t making use of data collection for their own advantages.

The first point targets larger companies, most people would agree that if larger companies are collecting masses of user data then they have a responsibility to ensure its security.  The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 found that there was a rise in the number of cyber-attacks last year. Around a third of businesses overall reported attacks, but this rises to 60% for medium and 61% for large-sized business.

The second point minimizes the hoarding of data. If you can avoid being affected by CCPA by reducing the number of data sets that are stored, then it’s likely you’d make a point of safely deleting any unnecessary information on record that isn’t of use.

The last point regards companies that are exploiting data collection for profit. If you knew a service, you were using was making more than half of its profit from selling information on its users… would you still use it? A company whose main income source is giving personal information to anyone who is willing to pay, is most likely a company you don’t want to have that information.

You’re probably now either relieved this won’t affect you… or you’ve stopped reading to look at implementing CCPA compliance within your app.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are still circumstances in which CCPA will still apply to businesses that are technically below these thresholds. If a smaller business is a service provider to a company that is above the limits set-out in the law, then the smaller business will need to comply. Any user information obtained from that partner company may be subject to the new law and by having access to it, you become liable. Therefore, businesses in these situations need to have methods in place that are capable of safely disposing of data.

Act quickly if your app is currently available for downloaded in California or face some pretty hefty fines.

Non-compliance

Currently minor infringements will fall on a spectrum of fines between $100 and $750 per user. These fines are less severe than those that are issued for non-compliance with CCPA. These smaller fines are instances such-as a third-party that has been able to advertise to the consumer due to failure of a security measure. These claims can be made by anyone whose data has been breached in accordance with CCPA as statutory damages through the civil court. Clarip made the point that just 10,000 users making a claim after a breach (assuming they were only awarded the minimum amount) will cost a million dollars in compensation. 30 days’ notice will be given in these cases before legal proceedings commence. If the problem is rectified in this timescale, then no legal action can be taken by the consumer.

Non-compliance with CCPA is going to cost far more than this. In accidental cases the charge will be $2,500 but rises to $7,500 for cases of deliberate non-compliance. This still doesn’t sound too frightening does it? Well those figures apply per user that has had their data breached. If you’re not complying with CCPA then it’s safe to assume you’re going to be paying for more than one breach. Those fines mount up fast. Deliberately ignoring CCPA for just 133 Californian users is going to cost you just shy of a million dollars.

Data Collection

Now that CCPA is in place you should be monitoring where the data you have collected has been going. Californians now have the right to ask for data that was taken and who it was sold to. This backdates to the start of 2019. Now would be the time to go searching and make sure you have it ready when someone comes asking!

Private data can’t be stored without prior permission. The company collecting the data must ask if the user would like to opt out at, or prior to, the first point of data collection. Users under 16 must be asked if they would like to opt-in rather than out. There must be a portal in-app that can process the opt-in/ out request of users.

Data that is covered by this act and must be protected includes username, address, cookies, face or voice recordings, location history, search history, health, sexual orientation, employment and finances.

Those who CCPA does apply to need to have a repository of all data that has been stored that can be issued upon request. If a consumer requests deletion of their data, you must have processes in places to safely delete all stored data.

 

The Future of User Privacy

2020 will be a big year in America for the rights of the consumer when it comes to data protection. It is expected that some other states will follow the lead of California as demand increases for a blanket policy that controls privacy in the US, just as the GDPR does in the EU. California could be the first of many to have adopted this rigorous stance on privacy in 2020.

People should think positively of these advancements in user protection. Here at Kumulos we welcomed the introduction of GDPR and have been fully compliant since its initiation. CCPA is no different, new ways of protecting consumer data and ensuring safer practice for app users are always welcomed. We’re committed to data protection and privacy and enjoy seeing more government authorities introducing measures to protect the rights of the people. Hopefully CCPA is the first step towards a US-wide policy.

If privacy is a concern of yours when working with companies, or you’d like to find out more about Kumulos and what it can do to help improve the user experience of your app, book a demo today and see how we take data protection seriously.