Individualization: Mobile marketing’s next step
Using martech's capabilities to deliver personalized content is great, but contributor Josh Todd challenges marketers to reap the rewards of true one-to-one messaging.
Throughout my column this year, a few topics have come up again and again. Most notably, I’ve discussed the Mobile Engagement Crisis — the idea that marketers are failing to connect with users, despite spending a huge amount of resources on winning them over in the first place. Yes, they’re getting the initial download. But getting those users to stick around? That’s another story entirely.
The good news is that some marketers are starting to catch on. Brands have begun to embrace personalization. Most notably, we’ve seen companies begin to embrace segmented push messages while increasingly avoiding the dreaded “broadcast” messages (aka spam).
Segmented push notifications on the rise
By the numbers, Localytics’ research (disclosure: my employer) has shown a 10 percent increase in the number of segmented push notifications — great progress, in my opinion.
The thing is, for marketers, it’s really a no-brainer. Segmented, targeted messages see improved click-through rates, conversion rates and overall engagement. Your average segmented message sees a 7.4 percent click-through, while broadcast messages yield only a 4 percent click-through rate – they’re barely half as effective. Yes, click-through rates are a bit of a vanity metric, but it’s a helpful way to see how interested in a message a user is.
To me, the more important metric is engagement. At Localytics, we define engagement as the average number of sessions that a user has in the week after receiving a push notification. Unsurprisingly, with segmented messages, we also see improved engagement (6.4 sessions vs. 2.8 for broadcast messages).
However, despite all this progress, there are still improvements to be made. As 2017 bears down on us, there’s one major trend that I see taking shape: individualization. Prior to this point, we’ve talked about personalization, but this takes it one step further.
The trouble is, personalization doesn’t really take into consideration information about a user’s activity in an app. Yes, it includes their name or something superficial like that, but often the data isn’t sufficiently in-depth to make a difference.
For example, if a message about the Patriots is sent to a Jets fan, but still includes their first name, that probably won’t be enough to bring in the user to the app because they don’t care about the information it includes. It also might tick them off.
Furthermore, the term personalization comes with a lot of baggage. How many “Hi Josh” messages have you gotten in the last year? It’s trite, and consumers are catching on quickly.
3 steps toward individualization
In 2017, let’s make a pledge to embrace the individualized mindset, and take what we know about personalization to create even more engaging content. To my mind, there are three things we can do to make that happen.
First, create audiences based on your users’ profile attributes. That could be something as simple as “users who have had only one session in your app in the last month” or “users who live in Denver.”
Second, look to your users’ behavioral attributes and create an audience based on what you learn. These audiences will be built around certain actions that users took within your app, like reading a piece of your content or adding an item to their cart.
Third, create an audience that encompasses both of these things. This could be sending a push message about new content to users who have read a similar article in the app before but have not had a session in the last week.
When you look at the impact each of these has on average sessions within the first week of a push message being received, you can see what a massive impact they have:
Individualization builds on the pieces of personalization that consumers love. It takes everything you know about the user and changes significant parts of the experience to that person.
It takes geolocation, past behavior and other customer profile attributions to create an app experience that is engaging enough to keep users coming back again and again.
So goodbye 2016, and here’s to delivering “welcomed” engagements that further build your relationship with your users in 2017. This will be the year to make individualization a reality.