Push campaigns and push notifications always play a crucial role when it comes to app engagement and monetization. If you’re a mobile app agency delivering push campaigns for clients, a well-optimized push campaign, that utilizes highly personalized, timely and relevant push messaging, can help to bring dormant users back into your client’s app. It can also help to stimulate deeper levels of engagement with users who are already frequently using the app and casual app users can be prompted to make a purchase. We recently explored the steps you should take to create your first successful agency push campaign and how to grow recurring revenue using push. In this post, we’ll be exploring how to optimize push campaigns.
When you’re delivering targeted push campaigns for your app clients, there’s nothing worse than deploying the wrong messages to the wrong users. Providing context and value in a timely way, with the right degree of cadence and frequency, is absolutely key – but getting to this point can be tricky. The only way to accelerate your progress, and deliver better results for your clients in the long-term, is to get serious with the data and campaign analytics.
Push messaging is also the best way to engage and monetize users while also preventing them from abandoning and deleting the app. If you’re already running a push campaign for your agency clients, it’s time to start thinking about how you can leverage the power of your campaign analytics to deliver better results.
If you’re looking to optimize your push campaigns, here are some of the things you should consider:
1) Work out how to increase push opt-in rates
All mobile app users are familiar with the message that appears when an app is first downloaded requesting opt-in to future push messaging campaigns. The reality is that most users will elect not to opt-in to your clients push campaign. App users will spend time downloading many apps, but will only opt-in to a small percentage of push campaigns in order to avoid promotional message overload. You need to work with your app client to understand how you can get permission to access the user’s home screen. The best way to do this is to ask for permission at exactly the right time and avoid making it too easy for app users to opt-out. You need to provide a clear call-to-action and provide a value statement in terms of what the app user can expect to gain as a consequence of an opt-in. This is all about trust and convincing the app user that you will not deploy push messaging that is irrelevant, overly frequent and overly intrusive.
When it comes to increasing push opt-in rates, the best way to get started is to benchmark your current performance. The rate at which users opt-in to push campaigns will vary massively depending upon the type of app you’ve developed for your client. But the key is to understand your current level of performance using your analytics package and develop a performance improvement program. You can get started by working out the total number of downloads your app has received and dividing this number by the total volume of app users who have opted-in. This will provide a clear picture of the ratio of app users that opt-in to push messaging versus the total number of downloads. What you’re trying to achieve is to increase the number of users who opt-in relative to the overall number of downloads. If your clients’ app currently receives a 20% opt-in rate, think carefully about how you can increase the number to 30%, 40% or even as high as 50%.
You should also think about providing a clear time frame in which you expect this to happen and work towards that goal. Remember, it’s essential that you manage the expectations of your app client and constantly strive to under-promise and over-deliver. The only way you can create a realistic level of expectation is to benchmark current performance and implement a series of measures that will help your client work towards their push opt-in goals.
For example, if you tell your client you can increase opt-in rates from 20% to 50% within a 3 month time frame, you’ll need to have a fixed idea of the actions you plan to use in order to make this happen. If you’re unsure, or not confident you can hit the numbers, go back to the drawing board and create a series of targets that are sensible. You’ll need to focus on timing, using a clear call-to-action at opt-in level and a clear statement of why the app user should opt-in.
Test different messaging techniques in terms of creative copy and make sure you get the timing right. You should check the analytics to test the performance of each variation and triple down on the tactics that consistently deliver a higher percentage of opt-in’s relative to the overall number of app downloads.
2) Create user segments and strive to improve relevancy
For most mobile agencies, managing push notifications for app clients can be a tricky business. There is always one sure fire way to get push messaging campaigns wrong, and that’s to adopt a blanket bomb approach whereby you deploy a one-size-fits-all message to an entire audience. The reality is, that within any push audience, the same message will not be applicable to all users. The way to overcome this is to segment your app clients push audience into different groups based on behavioral and spending characteristics.
One easy way to get started with audience segmentation, is to break down your audience according to who have made a purchase (assuming monetization is your goal) and app users who are yet to buy. If you have assets that can be used to stimulate engagement for app users who are early in the buying cycle (such as a whitepaper, questionnaire or downloadable report), you can even create a three phase approach whereby users can be organized into early buying cycle, mid buying cycle and late buying cycle.
Again, if monetization is what your app client wants, you can start by focusing on users who have already made a purchase and send push messages that promote in app purchases. You can further segment the app users who have paid already into bands, from light spenders, to mid-tier spending users, all the way up to the ‘whales’ (these are the small percentage of users that create the vast majority of revenue from within your customers app). Using your push analytics, you can target the whales with high-ticket promotional offers and provide more cost effective alternatives for app users who are deemed to be more price sensitive.
If app users have lapsed in terms of engagement, you can ping them a push message offering them a free trial or a special discount. You can also think about analyzing which of your users have the most social connections and incentivize them to share with their network of friends.
There are a million different ways to segment your app client’s audience. But the key is to use your analytics package to focus on adopting the tactics that you can prove will consistently deliver results. The aim of the game is to push app users through the buying cycle, from people who have never made a purchase all the way through to the big spenders. Again, if you’re currently adopting a one-size fits all approach, you’ll need to benchmark the existing performance of your efforts, create a plan in terms of your goals and establish a timeframe in which you can achieve targets for your app client. It’s important to have regular meetings with your app client to explore the analytics, explain your rationale in terms of how you can improve the performance and produce regular reports that outline how your agency is performing relative to the agreed plan of action.
3) Focus on the right data points
When it comes to push campaign analysis and ongoing push campaign optimization, it’s better to do the right thing badly than the wrong thing well. In other words, you can do an OK job of analyzing the right data points and get results, but if you’re focused on the wrong things, you’ll never succeed on behalf of your clients – no matter how hard you try. Sometimes, the right data points to analyze are not always the most obvious ones. It’s easy to look at the wrong metrics and focus on doing the wrong things. Very often, app open rates will feel like the right thing to analyze, but might not adequately reflect the end goal of your clients campaign. Unless the end goal of the campaign is to reinvigorate lapsed or dormant app users, then this is not the KPI you should be focused on.
So in order to focus on the right data points, you need to understand what success looks like on behalf of your app client. You should involve your app client at the very start of the push messaging campaign and work out exactly what they want to achieve. This will depend upon their own commercial goals and objectives.
Once you have a clear understanding of what your app client wishes to achieve, you should develop a smart set of goals that you can work towards. You should track, via reporting, on an ongoing basis the success of the push campaign relative to the original objectives. If you’re over performing, you can raise the bar and increase the targets (this is a sure fire way to consistently delight your app clients), or if things aren’t going according to plan, you need to ensure that the clients expectations are too high, or that you’re simply not doing the right things in order to help them hit their goals.
If the goal is to increase sales revenue, it’s absolutely essential that you learn to track sales conversions. If the goal of the campaign is to stimulate social virility, you need to triple down on the number of app download invites sent versus the number of invites accepted. Working out what to analyze doesn’t need to be a permanent fix either, you can always change the focus of your analysis as the campaign develops and in conjunction with your customers commercial goals (these may also change over time).
The key is to be flexible, create a sensible starting point based on your app clients requirements, and analyze and adapt the campaign over time, according to what works and the overarching strategic objectives. Use your analytics to chart where you are in reality, relative to your goals and app KPI’s. Once you have an understanding of how your clients push campaign is performing relative to the campaign goals, you can develop a strategic roadmap that enables you to continuously optimize your push campaigns.
Why Optimize Push Campaigns?
If you’re a mobile agency developing apps for clients, you’ll already be aware of the value of implementing a well crafted push campaign to decrease opt-out rates, increase app engagement and stimulate monetization. Launching your first push campaign can feel like a daunting process, but this can be a key driver when it comes to developing recurring revenue for your company. But getting push messaging campaigns right involves serious commitment to the data and analytics in order to optimize the performance of each app on behalf of your customers.
Remember, their success equals success for your agency – so it’s essential that you’re providing the right advice at the right times. You’ll need to focus on how to increase opt-in rates (depending on your client’s objectives), how to improve push messaging relevance through audience segmentation AND develop a plan that only factors in the most important areas of data analysis.