January 4, 2017
This is a guest post by Stefan Bhagwandin, with Monetate partner Leanplum.
Personalization has the potential to level up your mobile messaging, but it’s hard to know where to start. It’s easy to consider the more obvious use cases, such as adding the user’s name to a message, but truly effective personalization goes several steps deeper.
By leveraging user data and behavioral targeting, you can craft messages that feel dynamic and alive—even though they’re automated. With the right tools, you can send these personalized messages to your entire app audience, be it 1,000 daily active users or 100,000.
Personalization becomes increasingly effective once you start thinking outside the box. If you’d like to introduce personalized content to your messages but you’re not sure where to start, give the following examples a shot.
Geolocation is a powerful data point that many product and marketing teams overlook. If you’re working with a mobile product, your user data goes far beyond basic demographic info and in-app events. You can easily collect data on a person’s physical location—and use it to fuel your messaging.
Consider this retail app use case. If you operate brick-and-mortar outlets, you could set an event to trigger when an app user enters a given range around your stores, known as a geofence. As an added incentive to convince the person to drop by, offer an exclusive discount, or simply remind them if one of their recently viewed items is almost out of stock.
But the opportunity doesn’t end there. You can create a wider geofence to reach users in a particular neighborhood or public venue. This could be quite useful for transit apps that report on real-time traffic and bus schedules, or event apps that tell users what’s happening in their area. Rather than lumping every resident of the city into the same segment, geofencing allows apps to deliver more specific and useful data.
In the worlds of ecommerce and mcommerce, abandoned shopping carts are a serious revenue problem. Some companies try to mitigate this problem by sending automatic reminders to complete the transaction. With proper personalization, these messages can become much more engaging.
The first step is to flesh out messages with user and product details, such as reminding busy or distracted shoppers what was in their cart. Going one step further and reiterating the product’s value by including an item description or discount is also helpful. If the product is on sale, display the original price and the sale price—that value might be precisely why they added it to their cart.
The second step is to reach the user on multiple channels. Depending on the nature of your store and business, the appropriate messaging channel might be mobile push notifications, web push notifications, email, or something else. As long as the channel lets you reach users outside your app or website, you can leverage it for shopping cart reminders.
If the person is a longtime user, you can automatically send the message through their most-used channel. For example, if their email open rate is higher than their push notification open rate, send the reminder straight to their inbox instead of pestering them on weaker channels. Likewise, if they browse your store on mobile more than on desktop, it use a channel that’s more likely to reach them on the go.
Essentially, personalization enables you to choose the right channel for the job. Rather than automatically blasting out reminders and calls to action, you can reach out to users just once on the channel that they’re most likely to respond to.
Both of our previous examples focus on catching the user’s attention and increasing conversions. But don’t forget that personalized messaging can add direct value to the app experience, even if you’re not driving toward a click or conversion.
For example, news outlets add value by including descriptive headlines and article teasers in their emails and push notifications. Even if these messages omit “clickbait” headlines and don’t encourage clickthroughs, they increase the chances users will remain engaged and subscribed.
Any media app—whether it’s news, music, or social media—can similarly use value-adding messaging to improve the user experience.
By tracking a person’s browsing history, you can take note of their most-viewed categories, content creators, keywords, or anything else along those lines. With this behavioral data, you can flesh out your recommendations.
Imagine collecting media recommendations (such as videos or music) into a pool that your messages can draw from. If someone searches a particular keyword several times, you can add new pieces of content from that keyword to the pool. Or, if they prefer to browse by category, you can pick suggestions from the category instead.
This solution helps sidestep the problem of displaying off-topic recommendations just because the person searched a category once. By tracking other forms of browsing history and factoring in frequency, you can offer recommendations based on what the person actually searches for, not just what they most recently clicked on.
We’ve seen how personalization can help messaging campaigns, but with fully integrated user segments, you can use that same data all across your apps.
For example, it’s possible to customize app content to a user’s browsing history, delivering a home screen that displays the most relevant suggestions. Or, instead of sending a message, you can tweak in-app content when the user is within a given geofence. The possibilities are endless.
To learn more about leveraging user data to personalize your content, visit the Leanplum site, which can help you unlock the full potential of your mobile app.