Mobile Marketing: In-App Messaging Best Practices to Boost Engagement & Retention Rates

Mobile Marketing is no cakewalk. With the ever-increasing competition across app stores, to rise above the clutter to drive app user engagement & retention is a challenge app marketers like you face every day.

The app retention rate has fallen from 38% in 2018 to 32% in 2019.

It is extremely crucial to identify the right channels to engage with your users in a personalised, relevant, and timely manner. Today, Push Notifications and In-App Messages are the two most important weapons in your arsenal. As a result-driven mobile marketer, the more you understand the specific applications and use cases of these user engagement channels, the more you empower yourself to leverage their benefits.

In-app messages, when used right, have been known to boost user engagement, improve retention rates, and drive conversions across diverse industries such as e-commerce, travel, food delivery, media OTT, and gaming.

As per this report that came out in 2017, people use an average of nine apps per day and 30 apps per month. The numbers must have risen manifolds by now. Hence it is highly important that the users are engaged and converted at the right time.

In-app messages are special in a way because they help you to connect with your users directly within your app. In other words, they can put you directly into a conversation with them in the right context.

Here are 5 ways in which in-app messages can help you establish the right connect with your users at the outset, and nurture it further in their app journey:

  1. Help users during the on-boarding process: First impressions last long. Guiding the users with an app walk-through while on-boarding is quite popular among app marketers now. This helps deliver a very smooth first experience.
  2. Ask user to op-in for push notifications: Your users may not opt-in for push notifications when you ask them for the first time. Use a personalised and engaging in-app message to ask them to enable push notifications when they are using the app.
  3. Offer recommendations based on transaction history: Utilise in-app messages for cross-selling and upselling. While users are already active, send personalised relevant product and service recommendations.
  4. Share app features and updates:Intimate your users about the enhancements and updates in your app when they are actively using the app. In-app messages is a great way to turn your app users into power users.
  5. Seek feedback: Getting users’ feedback is not easy. You have the best chance to get it when the user is active on the app or is using or has just used your service. In-app messages help you get that valuable feedback from your users.

Whether used independently or in combination with push notifications, in-app message campaigns offer some key benefits to mobile marketers:

  1. Enrich your existing app experience
    In-app messages allow you to embed your content within the app. Hence, these are like an extension of your product, service, or content. These work well in nudging the users towards conversion events of your choice. 
  2. Send messages to your users without an explicit opt-in
    Unlike push notifications that require your users’ permission, in-app messages don’t require any opt-in. You can send broadcasts to connect with your entire app users base, or send user-segment driven campaigns to target specific user sections.
  3. Accelerate conversion
    Think of in-app messages as guides helping your new users navigate the app and proceed towards conversion. A seamless and friendly UX coupled with meaningful contextual messages delivered at the right time can help you move users through their journey faster.
  4. Leverage hyper-personalisationBy using your users’ demographic, geographic, device-related data points, you create a 360 degree view of the customer. These insights when combined with their in-app behaviour, actions, and inactions, can be used to craft highly relevant and contextual in-app message campaigns, ensuring that the right message reaches the right user, at the right time.Building a unified view of the customers isn’t an easy nut to crack though, especially when the users of today are active almost all the time across multiple devices. Netcore Smartech’s unified view of the customer does a great job in combining the data from the website, apps, channels, and offline sources and present a complete user profiles.
  5. Harness the power of deep linking: 
    In-app messages are tools of redirection, especially when combined with relevant CTAs containing appropriate links that send users to the desired destination within your app or mobile site. This empowers you to use personalisation as a tool to drive definitive user action.

Here are 5 most impactful in-app message campaigns that you can run to propel higher user engagement rates and conversions:

  1. On boarding Campaigns: You work really hard to acquire new users. Greeting new users with a welcome in-app message on app launch goes a long way in establishing the first time connect with them.
    You can lay the foundations of a lasting relationship by creating your users’ in-app Aha! Moment during the on-boarding process. Send customised messages with simple information that helps them in navigating the app, and understand the features of the app.
    You can also send messages encouraging first-time users to opt-in to receive push notifications, complete registration, login, or update the profile information.Mobile Marketing - 01
  2. Promotional Campaigns: You can send such campaigns to pitch offers, discounts, limited time deals, flash sales, new cross-sell/upsell deals, etc. either to your whole user base or to specific user segments based on their historical behaviour, location, time-zone etc.Do focus on contextualising and personalising the in-app message so as to create maximum impact. The more you understand your users’ behaviours, personas, and preferences, the better you can craft such campaigns.Netcore Smartech’s advanced single-step analytics suite is a single-stop solution that provides rich actionable insights into users behavioural data as well the campaigns performance.

    In fact, Netcore Smartech is one platform that allows incorporating of rich elements such as large images, GIFs, audio, and video in the message, in addition to your content copy. This helps you make the entire campaign more appealing, attractive, and immersive.

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  3. First-time conversion campaigns:Onboarding the user is the first step. Getting him to make the first transaction is the next important step. In-app messages offering a first-time purchase offer, referral code, discounts, etc. encourage users to transact. Such campaigns do especially well in e-commerce, travel, ride hailing, food delivery, and payment wallet apps.The goal is to convert a new user into a transacting customer that is delighted with a satisfactory first-time user experience (FTUE).

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  4. Recommendation Campaigns:Suppose you are a media OTT app that offers a live sports streaming section as part of your content library. To encourage your cricket-fans segment, you could trigger an in-app message encouraging them subscribe to your annual live sports viewing plan for a nominal sum to enjoy the action in real-time!Travel apps can send in-app messages to suggest a cheaper flight at a more convenient time to a user who often books tickets off your platform to a particular destination.

    Such recommendations are made on the basis of your users’ past and real-time in-app behaviour and activity. And these work best for e-commerce, media OTT, news, travel, food delivery, payment wallet apps, etc. 

    Relevant product and services recommendations play a huge role in aiding and simplifying your users’ decision-making process.

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  5. App/Feature Awareness Campaigns:As mentioned earlier in the article, in-app messages are a great way to familiarise users with the app, especially when you introduce new features or upgrade the user interface. Utilise this tool to educate, inform, and empower your users with relevant information so that they can leverage your app platform in a better way.Such campaigns benefit almost all industry verticals.

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Concluding Thoughts

The mobile marketing and app engagement strategy is incomplete without a well-thought out in-app messaging strategy. In-app messages is one of the most powerful ways for onsite customer engagement. It is an incredible means for enhancing customer experience by solving customer problems right there and stay on the pulse of customer sentiment.

Adopt these best practices to bridge the gap between advanced user level insights and high conversion in-app engagement campaigns that elevate your app experience. To learn how Smartech can be your partner in your growth journey, get in touch with us today!

Ritu Poddar

Ritu Poddar

Ritu is a Technical Writer & Content Developer by profession, and a Poet & Creative Writer by passion. She works as Assistant Manager, Content Development at Netcore.