Friday, 30 October 2015

Permission to Push: Using Custom In-App Messages to Get Push Opt-Ins From Users

Push messaging is the lifeblood of app marketing. It’s what allows you to engage with communicate with users when they aren’t in your app.
Getting users to give permission for you to push message them isn’t always easy. However, there is a golden goose solution we’re going to let you in on – you can use custom messages within your app to ask for push permission from users as many times as you need to, until they say yes.

Think of us as your buddy with a stack of quarters, ready to dish out as many extra lives as you need to top the high score leaderboard.
In this post, we’ll cover all the tricks and tactics for getting users to opt in to push through the use of in-app messages and custom screens.

The Pivotal Power of Push: Why The Success Of Your App Hinges on Push Permissions

When it comes to achieving your mobile marketing mission, getting users to opt in to push messaging has to be one of your very first goals. In order for your app to be successful, it’s extremely important that you gain the ability to contact users outside of your app via push notifications.
Push messaging is essential for communicating with users, allowing you to provide value through targeted messaging, drive engagement to your app, and build your relationship with users. You can’t do any of that if users don’t opt-in.
For that reason, getting your users to say “yes” to the push needs to be your new magnum opus. Push message opt-ins should be the Moby Dick to your Melville, the bacon to your BLT, the cronut to your ridiculously self-indulgent weekend brunch.

Who Needs to Get Users to Opt In?

When it comes to winning over users for push opt-ins, you’ll want to focus energy on iOS users.
Android users are automatically opted into receiving push messages (a feature which can be shut off in the settings section).
It’s a different story for iOS users though – you need to actually ask them for permission before you start sending push messages their way. They can accept or deny your request, so it’s your job to convince them that you can provide value via push.

To raise the stakes even higher, you can only ask for users to opt in to push messaging once! That’s right, you only get one shot, and if users reject you, then it’s a done deal and the curtains close.
Users can reverse their rejection by accessing the settings screen to change permissions manually, but it’s a painful multi-step process they likely will never bother with.

1. Cover Your Back With Pre-Permission Messages

Remember all that scary stuff we said a minute ago about only getting one chance at earning a user’s permission for push? That’s true – but only if you rely solely on the iOS dialogue.
A clever workaround is to use your own permission screen to gauge users before launching the iOS permission screen.

Using your own custom in-app messages or screens to test a user’s interest provides the perfect safety net if it turns out he or she isn’t quite ready to opt in. If users say yes, you can go ahead and launch the iOS permission dialogue and have users opt-in for real.
If users deny your request, no harm done – you simply don’t launch the official iOS permission dialogue. Instead, you can work on providing value and attempt the opt-in request again at a later point.

The above example uses an custom screen to gauge users before launching an iOS dialogue screen. You can also use a custom in-app message for the same effect.

These pre-permission in-app messages are absolute lifesavers for mobile marketers. However, it’s still important to be strategic about the style, timing, and messaging behind your in-app notifications. Irritating users by asking for opt-in permissions over and over again won’t gain you loyal legions of fans.

2. Don’t Ask Users to Opt In Immediately

One of the biggest mistakes apps can make is asking users to opt in to push messages when they launch your app for the first time. It’s almost a guaranteed fail – users don’t want push messages from an app they know nothing about and haven’t even gotten a chance to use yet!
Asking for push messaging permissions in a first session is like asking a blind date to marry you before you’ve put in the drink order. It’s a pretty huge faux pas and is a predestined disaster.
Remember, you’re just starting your relationship with users, and they don’t trust you – not yet anyway. Asking for the ability to message them at any time on their most coveted personal device is a tremendous favor.
Your biggest focus in your user’s early days of app usage should be to demonstrate value. Users need to see why your app is amazing and why they should keep coming back and spending their mobile minutes in your app and not a competitor’s.
Build a relationship and demonstrate value first. Then down the line, users may be more open to opting into push.
There is an exception when it comes to apps from larger, well-known brands. If users have already spent a lot of time on your website and have a solid, established connection with your brand, they might open to opting into push on their first session launch.
Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry and wait a while before asking. Even if you’re using pre-permission messages to safeguard against user rejection, you don’t want users to feel irritated and annoyed in their initial interaction with you.
You only get one first impression – use those first moments of interaction to wow and impress app users, rather than bombard them with off-putting permission requests that make them nervous.

3. Wait Until Users Complete An Action In-App

One smart strategy for driving push message opt-ins is to set certain event criteria before launching permission requests.
When it comes to winning the opt-in, context is everything. Emphasizing push message value connected with a user’s recent activity will be sure to sway them.
A few examples might be:
  • Viewed Item. An eCommerce app might set an opt-in request message to launch after a user has viewed a product within the app. They’re using your app and finding value with it, so now they may be more interested in receiving news and push messages from you.
An example message might look like:
“Seeing items you love? Get push messages for news about flash sales and limited-time specials!”
  • Articles Read. A content app might use an activating event involving articles read – maybe after a user reads four articles in your app, they would get an in-app message saying,
“Activate push messaging to get notified about the latest news and most popular stories!”
  • Certain Number of Sessions. Another strategy involves setting push permission requests to launch after a user has had three sessions (or any other number of sessions your deem appropriate) with your app. After three sessions, hopefully the user has had enough time to experience your app and understand its value. Now they’ll be more likely to say yes to the push!
Use app user behavior data to find the perfect moment where push message permission requests will be most effective.

4. Tie Your Opt-In Permission Request to App Value

The best way to get users to accept push notifications from you is to make sure that they understand (and care) about how push messages will affect the value proposition of your app.
Your app may be the coolest thing since liquid nitrogen ice cream, but users won’t necessarily know that right off the bat.
It’s your job to showcase your value to users, and explain how push messages will provide a superior user experience for them.
Time-sensitive apps often have an easier time getting users to opt in to push messaging. Think about food delivery apps like Seamless, ride service apps like Uber, or local transportation apps.
These apps need to be able to send push messages in order to let users know that their food is ready to be picked up, that their car is waiting downstairs, that their train is about to depart. Most app users understand how denying push for time-sensitive apps will affect the app’s value and usefulness.
Even if you’re not an app that delivers time-sensitive information, you can still highlight the added value that push messages provides to app users.
You can do this through:
  • Onboarding. Onboarding tutorials consist of in-app messages or app screens that show a user how to use your app, ensuring that they learn how to make the most of your impressive features and functionality.

Tying the onboarding process to permission requests can help you explain why you need to access certain smartphone functions (tying onboarding to permission requests is also used with accessing contacts, photos, as well as other aspects of a phone’s functionality).
  • Be Specific. It’s best to not be vague about how you’ll be using push notifications. Make sure users know how and when they’ll be getting messages from you.
In the example below, Yahoo Weather tells users exactly when they can expect to receive messages (in the morning and evening – times when you want to know the weather most)!

  • Time-Sensitive Updates. Even if your app isn’t especially time-sensitive, you can still demonstrate value by highlighting time-sensitive aspects, such as limited-time sales.
Example: “Find out about fashion flash sales the minute they start!”

5. Test for Best Conversion Rates

Even once you’ve set up your stellar pre-permission in-app messages, your job is far from over (a marketer’s duty is never-ending).
Make sure you take the time to tweak and test in-app message variables. Testing will help boost your opt-in conversion rates until nearly all your app users are reaping the benefits of your push messages.
Test in-app messages variables like:
  • Timing. Test some of the different activation events discussed above, such as session launches, transactions, articles read, time in app, etc. You may find that some qualifying events work more effectively than others.
  • Design. Play around with text styles, button colors, and other styling elements.
  • Images. Try testing your in-app messages with vs. without images. Don’t forget to test different images, various cropping dimensions, etc.
  • Messaging. Fine-tune your message with different wording and text length to see what resonates best.

Winning the Opt-In Takeaways

To recap, push messages are vital for strategic app marketing – you need to be able to reach out and re-engage with users when they’re outside of your app, and push messages are the best avenue of activity.
Getting users to agree to push message permissions can be tricky, but you can increase your chance of success by:
  • Using pre-permission in-app messages to gauge user interest before launching the official iOS permission request.
  • Wait a while before asking for permission to push. Instead, give users time to try out your app rather than asking for favors right out of the gate.
  • Connect permission requests to specific user actions. Once users have completed certain actions, you can use that data to influence your permission requests. This helps you pinpoint push message value that will connect with user interests.
  • Focus on the value gained with push messaging to show users exactly why they should opt-in. Be specific about when and why you plan on contacting users via push.
  • Test your pre-permission in-app messages with different styles, wording, and layout in order to hit your best conversion rates!
Once you’ve gotten users to opt in to push messages, you’ll be able to interact and engage users in an intimate, personalized way – right on their home screens! However, getting that push permission requires patience, trust, and delicacy.
Put your best foot forward by showing users that they can trust you and that you’ll only message them with real, valuable information. Earn and keep that trust, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming one of your users’ most beloved apps.

Biometrics, banks make gains, promising more choice in mobile payments
Apple’s Touch ID can be used to make purchases

Apple's Touch ID can be used to make purchases
Choice is the big news in mobile payments this week, with several announcements pointing to a future where consumers can choose which authentication method to use as well as whether to complete a purchase via their bank’s mobile wallet, Apple Pay or an Android wallet.
Banks, merchants, software companies and other interested parties descended on Las Vegas for the Money20/20 conference this week, where a number of announcements related to innovation in financial services and connected commerce were made. One trend to emerge is the growing reliance on biometrics in mobile payments, including solutions leveraging a user’s voice, fingerprint or iris to authenticate a payment.
“Authentication without having to use user ID and PIN is the larger theme of the show,” said Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group. “How it happens is not quite clear but it looks like a combination of device ID plus some form of biometric will be the answer.
“There was some talk about allowing the customer to select the biometric that they prefer, or allowing them to use different biometrics for different circumstances, e.g. noisy or public environments,” he said.
Limited availability 
Interest is growing in biometrics but current availability is limited.
At present, only Apple Pay and Samsung use fingerprint scanners for authentication, with availability limited in only a few countries. However, both are expected to launch in additional markets in 2016.
According to a new report from Juniper Research, the increased rollout of contactless payment services using fingerprint scanners will push the number of biometrically authenticated transactions to nearly 5 billion by 2019, up from less than 130 million this year.
Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.55.05 PM
At Money20/20, additional biometrics solutions were put forth. VoiceVault launched a voice biometric identity solution enabling users to authenticate their identity with five seconds of speech through an Android or iOS app. The company is also working with Enacomm on voice e-signatures.
It was also announced that Citi is testing an ATM that authenticates users by scanning their iris as well as via a QR code or by connecting with a smartphone.
MasterCard said it is testing the use of a variety of forms of biometrics – fingerprint, facial recognition, cardiographs and voice recognition – to authenticate identity. The trial is taking place in the United States and the Netherlands.
Powering up biometrics
Pairing biometrics with the Internet of Things opens up additional new possibilities, something that MasterCard is exploring via new partnerships with GM, Ringly and others.
“IoT literally opens up a multitude of devices to engage with consumers at a personalized level via biometrics to include facial recognition – selfies for example,” said Sam Maule, emerging payments practice lead at Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group.
“Integrate this with loyalty programs – think Target Redcard or Starbucks – and social and you have a winning combination to drive up consumer adoption,” he said.
“The challenge is walking the fine line between real engagement and ‘big brother.’”
Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.58.02 PM
Banking on mobile
Another important trend to emerge is how banks are making a bigger push into mobile payments. The big news was the launch of Chase Pay but more banks are expected to launch their own mobile wallets soon.
Once again, the focus could be on giving consumers choice, enabling them to choose which wallet to use each time they make a purchase.
“Chase Pay will get MCX off the runway and it will be very interesting to see how that combination looks from a UX perspective,” Aite Group’s Mr. Peterson said. “Also, bank wallets are getting much more visible and I expect that we’ll see several banks launching in the next year.
“Interestingly it appears that the banks will be agnostic, offering both Apple and Android wallets plus their own proprietary wallets, and letting the customer choose,” he said.
Chase Pay will be rolling out to its all the bank’s mobile customers next year. The service will use the older bar code technology rather than NFC. While the process adds an extra step, it also opens up the possibility of a larger initial audience as any retail location with 2D scanning capability will be able to accept Chase Pay while consumers will not need to have newer NFC-enabled smartphones.
Partnering well
Mr. Peterson also pointed to the immersion of payments into applications as another trend to come out of Money20/20. For example, Sage is launching a payments capability embedded in its software.
It is clear that mobile payments space is still in a stage of rapid evolution, where new solutions and key partnerships are still emerging.
“Money20/20 continues to demonstrate the need to partner well.  Look at the news for Apple/Amex,” Mr. Maule said. “Scale of the large incumbents is still a real need.”
Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

The future of advertising in the Internet of Things
Everywhere you turn, you see connected devices -- smartwatches that communicate messages and exercise progress, thermostats that adjust based on preferences, home automation systems, and especially mobile phones. Each of these open a world of opportunity for advertisers, but only if they can figure out a way to get the right messages to the right consumers at the right time. Gone are the days where consumers tolerate messaging that's not targeted to them or communication from advertising that doesn't add any value. Brian Wong, the CEO of Kiip, and Christine Moll, category marketing director of vodka and gin at Gruppo Campari chat about the complex relationship between these items, advertisers, and consumers.
In today's programmatic landscape, there's an opportunity to leverage reaching these devices in real time in the same instant that consumers are engaging with it. These perfect instances are known as moments, or the partnership between event and context. If approached correctly, an advertiser that is in the right moment. According to data from Kiip, there are more than 700 million moment opportunities, and those are potential entrance points or your brand.
One example of this is a consumer that has completed a task on a to-do list at lunchtime. From here, McDonald's can send a coupon that feels like a reward. Another example would be favorite-ing a recipe in an app that leads to Kraft sending a discount for ingredients, or a game app collecting data about what time and on which kind of data you play the game. All this consumer data can result in a better understanding of who is using these apps and who you are speaking to.
Moments are a hybrid of data + CRM + media. It's important to keep in mind that you need to be creating a value exchange, and not just looking at it as a one-way advertising path. Try to think of new and interesting ways you can engage with a consumer and invent a new permission. There's a tangible positive result when you see a moment occurring on an app.
Moments will also come from devices, and the biggest device is obviously the mobile phone. Of course there are wearables, thermometers, car, etc., but we are most directly engaged with the screens of our mobile phones, and we expect a lot from them. The current generation is very connected -- we expect deliveries within a few hours from Amazon, immediate food from anywhere from Postmates, and car outside our door momentarily from Uber. These are all part of our demand economy.
Moll spoke about how Campari partnered with Kiip and Lyft to reach consumers through a CSR initiative that had a goal of providing value in a non-boring way. They wanted to be sure that they were creating meaningful moments at the right time, and rewarded customer engagement by offering discounts on Lyft rides. That way, the brand is participating in CSR by encouraging safe driving and the customer interacts with the messaging and gets rewarded for it -- a win-win-win situation.
The campaign saw 21 percent engagement, which is huge, along with a 48 percent increase in brand consideration, and a 4x higher redemption rate. Moll claims that the success of the campaign  is due to two things: it's not preachy, and it encourages smart decisions at the right moment. The association with positive moments helped distinguish Compari as a brand successfully tapping into this new wave of moment marketing in connected devices.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Home of the future? Here's one vision

In this small house, scientists are focusing on energy: its generation, storage, management, conversion and conservation

Jim Saber stood in the space between the kitchen and living room and cradled a computer tablet that showed how everything using power in the 399-square-foot residence was interconnected.
Americans have been imagining what the home of the future looks like for decades, exploring how they will look and work, and building exhibits for World's Fairs and theme parks.
But here in this small house, sitting on the NextEnergy campus in Detroit, Saber and others are focused on energy — its generation, storage, management, current conversion and conservation.
They're looking for ways to save energy and money, such as converting household electricity so it can be more easily stored in special batteries, or maximizing the efficiency of rooftop solar panels, or using your plug-in electric vehicle to help power your home.
"It's a compilation of things that could be in your house in the next 5 to 10 years," Saber said. "These are the things that are going to be in the market, and we're trying to help industry figure out how quickly they can get there and ... the value proposition."

NextEnergy, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002, works with companies and policy makers to study, develop and commercialize advanced technology to create jobs and spur innovation.
The house — which is about a fifth the size of the average-size home and cost about $125,000 to build and outfit — is hardly glamorous. It's more like a cabin, with essentially two rooms -- a living room/dining room/kitchen, and a bedroom/office — and a tiny bathroom.
No one lives in it. But someone could.
It's part lab, part exhibit and shows what is possible.
"It's not as far away as we think, and it's not going to be as complicated as we think," Saber said of the various technologies on display. At the same time, he said, there has to be changes in the industry and in consumer behaviors: "If this were easy, it already would have been done by now."
Here are five technologies you'll find in the NextHome:
DC connected
This technology is the biggest innovation for the home, and a key to the future of how homes are built and operate in the future.
To understand it, you have to go back to the 1880s when Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were debating whether direct current — current that runs in a single direction — or alternating current — current that reverses direction a certain number of times per second —- should be the standard.
Edison argued for DC, which tends to be more stable and can be stored in batteries; and Tesla, AC, which is more easily converted to higher and lower voltages.
AC won.
But many devices such as computers, solar cells and electric vehicles still run on DC. So now, in most homes power comes into the home as AC, but is converted to DC (this is why computer power cords have that block connected to it that often gets hot) to power each device.
With each conversion, energy is wasted. Another problem is that AC power is difficult to store.
What if, Saber's team wanted to know, AC was converted just once before it came into your house, so everything in the home was run by DC power?
Homeowners could save energy — and money — and they could store energy for the home in a battery.
Let your plug-in car power your home
Right now, when you charge an electric car, the power flows from the house to the car. It's a one-way street.
But, in the NextHome — since the house runs on DC — it has been set up so energy also can flow from a car back to the home. Doing so helps homeowners conserve power, makes better uses of the car batteries — and opens a variety of possibilities in how homeowners manage power and how cars and homes connect.
So, for example, when demand on grid power is highest — and most expensive — in this home, you can power your home from the energy stored in the home or car batteries. When the power demand is lower — and less expensive — you can recharge your car, saving money and putting less pressure on the grid.
Solar cells are not new technology.
But one of the problems with it is while homeowners need power at all hours, solar cells only generate electricity when the sun is out.
To get around this, many homes with solar cells sell energy to the utility company grid — which has much greater demand than a single home. When power is not being generated by the solar cells, the homeowner draws power from the grid.
In addition, power generated by the cells is in DC, but has to be converted to AC to power the home, and then is converted back to DC to run electronic devices such as a computer.
In this home, solar cells power the home directly with DC and can be stored in a Bosch energy unit, or battery. This eliminates wasted energy and hardware needed to convert currents. It also gives homeowners a way to use power generated in electric car batteries in their homes.
Internet of things
The Internet of Things refers to a network in your home of devices embedded with microchips that can communicate, collect data and make money and energy-saving decisions, such as cycling your heat pump or refrigerator on and off.
As the devices in your home collect data about usage patterns, they can be programmed to automate decisions.
In the NextHome, sensors are constantly operating, and feeding information into a network that can be programmed with the tablet. It helps manage energy and make decisions.
Saber expects this sort of automation, which is already happening in some homes, to continue to advance.
Energy-efficient systems
The NextHome is outfitted with DC appliances, which operate more efficiently compared to AC counterparts, including the furnace, water heater and radiant heating. In addition, if produced on a large scale, they'd be cheaper to manufacture because they'd require fewer parts.
The home has ceiling fans to help with cooling and heating. The floor heating can be powered directly by solar cells and a home battery.
In addition, the home has super efficient windows, that self-tint as the sun gets brighter — to help cut cooling costs.
And it uses low-energy LED lights that last longer and run off DC power, which eliminates the AC/DC conversion waste.
Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or
What's plugged in?
Here's a snapshot of the average household in Michigan, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:
Size: 1,954 square feet, a little smaller than the national average of 1,971 square feet.
Energy usage: 123 million BTUs of energy, about 38% more than the national average.
Windows: 70% have double or triple-pane windows, 2% more than the national average.
Car: Half of all households could park a car within 20 feet of an electric outlet, 40% could not, and the remaining households did not have a car.
Refrigeration: 23% have more than one refrigerator, 37% also had a separate freezer.
Washing machines: 69% have top-loaders, 12% have energy-efficient front loaders, 18% have no washer.
TVs: 19% of households had just one, 35% have two, 24% had three, and 22% had four or more. In addition, 41% also have a DVR.
Solar cells: Utility companies estimate only a few thousand homes are outfitted with solar panels.
Where does your money go?
Here's a breakdown of the annual energy bill for an average household nationally, according to Energy Star:
Heating: 29%
Cooling: 17%
Water heater: 14%
Appliances: 13%
Lighting: 12%
Electronics: 4%
Other: 11%
How much do you spend?
Here's how much Michiganders spend on energy per person compiled by the Energy department:
Residential cost: $875
Transportation cost: $1,974
Combined cost: $2,849

Twitter is beta testing in-app native video ads

Dive Brief:

  • At this week's Twitter Flight developer conference, the company announced a series of new features including beta testing in-app native video ads, a new two-option polling feature, and tools that help manage customer service on the platform.
  • The native video ads will be available through MoPub, its in-app ad network
  • In other recent Twitter news, earlier this month it announced it would begin testing Promoted Moments on its curated news feature, Project Lightening.

Dive Insight:

A group of new features that should appeal to a variety of marketers were announced at Twitter’s Flight developer conference. Mobile video advertising is very popular with marketers and Twitter is adding another option to its MoPub in-app ad network with a beta test on in-app native video ads. The ad units will feature the video ad along with a call-to-action button. One reason Twitter is looking to expand its video ad offerings is it has said that video views on its platform have increased 150 times in the last year and mobile, accounting for 90% of the video views.
Other features announced at Flight are a new two-option polling feature that will be an improvement on the current “polling” method of asking users to retweet or favorite tweets to be counted as poll votes. Twitter Product Manager Todd Sherman wrote in a blog post "For poll creators, it's a new way to engage with Twitter's massive audience and understand exactly what people think. For those participating, it's a very easy way to make your voice heard."
The company is also releasing new tools that will help brands manage customer service. To build the customer service tools Twitter is working with Fabric and Gnip to sync customer information on behalf of brands to help track interactions and respond to customer inquiries.

Retailers: Give Yourself The Gift Of Mobile Optimization This Holiday Season

It's not too late to optimize your mobile strategy for the 2015 holidays. Columnist Josh Manion outlines the questions you should be asking to help you improve mobile engagement

As Halloween looms, marketers have their eyes trained on this year’s holiday season — but slower retail sales in September may portend less robust spending.
How can retailers improve their share of holiday sales? One way is mobile.
I’d like to think this is the year mobile comes of age, graduating from a “nice to have” piece of the holiday retail strategy to something that is mission-critical. But that means more than building mobile-friendly websites and launching great-looking apps.
Mobile can deliver real competitive clout, but its real power lies in enhancing the cross-channel customer experience.
Mobile devices have become omnipresent extensions of our lives as we move through the day. So it’s not surprising that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of consumers respond to calls to action delivered on a mobile device within sight of a retailer, according to an MDG Advertising infographic.
Yet just 23 percent of marketers are using location-based data in marketing campaigns, despite the power to engage consumers in-store and near-store.
This is symptomatic of a bigger question — how to use all sources of omni-channel data to support coordinated, end-to-end marketing strategies and campaigns.

Mobile Commerce At The Holidays

Let’s start with the numbers. IBM’s online holiday report for 2014 reported mobile commerce made up about 23 percent of online sales in the last two months of the year.
In fact, you’ll recall that one of the big retail stories of last year showed mobile’s strength in driving visitors to websites. Walmart, for example, reported online visitors viewed more than 1.5 billion pages in the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, with 70 percent of that traffic coming from mobile websites.
Forrester reported that slightly more than two-thirds of multi-screen consumers began their shopping process from a smartphone last year, while 68 percent used them in stores.
This year, the impact of mobile commerce on holiday sales is likely to be higher, with more mobile technology shipped this year, better-optimized mobile sites (think Google’s new algorithm) and better mobile payment choices.
Industry analysts at Gartner are particularly bullish about mobile’s future. Gartner this year predicted that mobile would comprise fully half of all US digital commerce revenue by 2017, driven by changing customer behaviors as they engage using mobile devices.
And Forrester forecasts that tablets will comprise 42 percent of all e-commerce by 2018, with smartphones at 11 percent.

Asking The Right Questions

The good news is that there’s still time to optimize your mobile strategy for the 2015 holidays, but speed is of the essence. It’s good to start with the right questions:
• What’s your mobile app strategy? What apps have you built, and how are they part of your business strategy?
If you are like many brands, you are using responsive, mobile-friendly websites and native mobile apps to engage mobile users. You can measure success with metrics like time spent in app, total app users, influence on offline sales, ad impressions, customer conversions and more.
If you don’t have any mobile apps, now is the time to get prepared for next year.
• How do you manage your apps? Mobile engagement requires fast load times, easy-to-read screens and readily activated “calls to action” as a foundation. Start with the basics by extending enterprise tagging to mobile apps and sites, including analytics applications.
You also can reduce costs and greatly improve marketing agility by using technology that enables you to make changes on the fly, optimize apps and respond personally to shoppers in real time.
A no-SDK (software development kit) approach means marketers can make the changes without going back to developers for time-consuming coding and re-submission to app stores.
Cost-saving metrics include time to implement; the cost of using app developers versus enabling the marketing team to make adjustments on the fly; and the benefits of better in-app and mobile tracking.
• Can you track and engage the consumer cross-channel? Data is the foundation for a coherent marketing strategy across a complex ecosystem of channels and devices. But you need to collect and integrate all data sources as a single source of truth, including mobile.
For example, you will want to collect data generated by the new micro-location and proximity-based tools, as well as unique interactions within mobile channels. This single view of the customer enables the marketing team to make both in-app and online offers based on comprehensive user profiles containing individual behaviors and preferences.
• Are you testing mobile apps in real time? No-SDK technology enables marketing to do A/B and multivariate testing in real time. That’s a huge boost to marketing agility and performance.
A/B testing, for example, enables marketers to test for two variations of a single app screen (as opposed to a traditional Web page), adjusting items like buttons and swapping in new content to test.
Multivariate testing may include multiple variations of a single app screen, with any number of element changes (for example, images, colors, text, location of elements and so on). By optimizing mobile apps in real time, you can increase time on page and better ensure specific actions like clicks on a button, products added to carts and more.
• What about analytics? Managing analytics capabilities in mobile apps can help the marketing team generate revenue-generating metrics. These include conversion rates (form completions and purchases), in-app ad views, total app users and time spent in the app.
Marketing strategy — built on omni-channel data integrated as a single source of the truth — drives engagement, conversion and loyalty, regardless of whether it’s the peak holiday season or some other time of the year. It comes down to the customer experience, the fundamental metric for improving mobile engagement.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mobile Messaging For Marketers 101
If you’re a consumer-brand marketer, you’ve no doubt given thought to running a marketing campaign or having a presence on a mobile messaging app.
After all, every consumer is increasingly using mobile messaging as their portal to mobile. It’s sticky and lends itself to repeat sessions, boasting the highest retention and engagement rates of other apps on average.
So if you’re a brand who prioritizes community and brand loyalty, get in on the messaging game. I’ve identified two ways to use mobile messaging as a marketing tool.
The first is to market on pure-play mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Snapchat. Pure-play messengers make up 6 out of 10 of the most-used apps globally, according to Mary Meeker.
The second way to reach an audience with mobile messaging is through in-house chat, which is when a brand has a mobile app of their own and integrates messaging capabilities. Conversations among fans, and between the company and its customers, happen on an “owned property.”
Keep in mind that this is relatively early days compared to, say, social media marketing, so we’re still evaluating, and we’re curious to see which methods are most effective as brands get more creative and tracking improves on mobile.

Pure-Play Messenger Apps: The Good And The Bad

Like social media, pure-play messenger apps have gigantic — nearly global — reach.
WhatsApp boasts 700 million users, and has more than 80 percent penetration in Europe and parts of Latin America. KakaoTalk has 97 percent of Korea. Line is at 50-60 percent in Japan. WeChat in China has 500 million users. Snapchat has 100 million daily active users.
For brands who want to connect directly with customers in an informal, intimate setting, this is a great way to do so at scale.
But it comes with distinct downsides.
Brands are at the mercy of pure-play messaging apps to deliver the features and tools that will capture and keep consumers in the long term — much like a brand depends on Facebook’s ability to keep users around.
Pure-plays also can limit access to marketing tools. For example, WhatsApp’s Broadcast List feature limits each broadcast list to 256 users, causing extra overhead when a brand wants to reach users en masse.
It may also be harder to leave a pure-play messenger than you think. When a brand invests time building an audience on one platform, then finds out that another pure-play messenger has better marketing features, they’d have to start over in order to switch.
Finally, great campaigns are tracked campaigns, and pure-play messengers offer very limited analytics. Much like on a social media site, you can usually see little more than vanity metrics, like “views.”

In-House Chat: The Newest Way To Market With Mobile Messaging

In-house chat refers to the addition of messaging features to a brand’s mobile app. The brand invites its audience to download its own app and chat on it, rather than on a third-party app like WhatsApp.
This “owned” chat is relatively new as a marketing tool compared to pure-play messenger marketing — and certainly compared to social media marketing.
A few leading brands have introduced chat features to their mobile apps, and we are starting to learn about the user response and how brands weave messaging into their marketing and sales efforts.
What’s interesting about this is that you can use mobile messaging as more than a promotional tool: You can augment and change the nature of your brand’s product or service. You can make your core service higher-touch, you can use chat as a companion to improve your in-store experience, you can make other peers and fans part of the experience — and more.
There’s also more potential to create long-standing relationships with fans. A user downloads the app to their phones, which is a high-commitment activity. Your relationship doesn’t end once the campaign ends, and push notifications let you draw users in again and again.
Even better, their engagement might even be sustained by the connections and chats they exchange with other users, not just you. In-house chat leads to community building; not only do they connect with you, but superfans can connect with other superfans.
Once you have a party going on your app, you can launch marketing campaigns with easier and more controlled execution. This allows for better targeting. In-house chat also allows for significantly better insights into key user behaviors, preferences, interest and sentiment.

How Brands Have Marketed With Mobile Messaging

Here are some examples of how brands have used pure-play platforms and in-house chat to engage users.
WhatsApp: Toyota
Brands like Procter & Gamble, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Absolut Vodka and Toyota have tried their hand at WhatsApp-based marketing campaigns. Here’s a closer look at two campaigns on the platform.
Toyota Spain built a fun “flirting competition” campaign on WhatsApp to drive the launch of its new car, the Toyota Aygo. According to Mobile Marketing Magazine, 99 percent of messenger app users on iOS in Spain have WhatsApp installed. The campaign encouraged users to “woo” the new Toyota Aygo car (for a chance to win one of their own, with the winner announced on Valentine’s Day) by sending private messages to Toyota Spain with their best cheesy one-liners, memes, pictures, audio messages and videos.
Toyota still had to rely on the reach they had on social media in order to drive traffic to the WhatsApp campaign in the first place. Potential fans heard about the campaign from Facebook and other promotions that gave them Toyota’s WhatsApp number.
WhatsApp: Klik
The Toyota campaign was one-to-one marketing in the sense that there was a direct line of communication between one user and Toyota, but multiple users could not interact with one another.
What happens if chat gets more social?
Israeli chocolate company Klik used WhatsApp to reach groups of teen friends. Friends could add Klik to their group chat and play a game of Klik Says together. Klik Says was like Simon Says, where Klik initiated the commands and friends sent back photos. Here’s a short video case study to see what the user engagement actually looked like.
More than 2,000 teens added Klik to their WhatsApp chat, and 91 percent of them completed the Klik Says game. This high engagement rate on mobile messaging spilled over onto Facebook, with the Klik Facebook page engagement rates increasing by 51 percent.

Snapchat: Taco Bell
Snapchat has 100 million daily active users and 11 percent of U.S. teens say they use Snapchat more than Facebook.
Consumer brands across industries have tapped Snapchat to reach teens. Ephemerality lets them send fleeting rewards and exclusive content, adding a ticking clock to drive up engagement.
taco bellTaco Bell uses the app to announce new launches, promos and menu items. Nicholas Tran, former digital marketing lead at the company, says the users are “crazy engaged,” with 80 percent of users opening the brand’s snaps and 90 percent of them watching a sent video in its entirety, even if a clip is 5 minutes.
Tressie Lieberman, now Vice President of Digital Innovation at Taco Bell, explains the rationale behind the approach: “It’s all about treating them like personal friends and not consumers.” Ms. Lieberman, we couldn’t agree more.
Kik: Funny Or Die
Kik is a smaller, U.S.-based messaging platform for consumers that lets brands create chat bots. The Wall Street Journal calls it chatvertising.
Funny or Die, which has a digital comedy group started by Will Ferrell and others, uses Kik’s paid Promoted Chats feature to send video clips to its contacts. They report that engagement is much higher on the chat platform than on social media, with a 10 percent open rate on Kik videos compared with 0.5 percent for posts on Facebook and Twitter.
LINE@: Bringing Monetization To Messaging
In addition to marketing programs, brands can directly monetize users through mobile messaging.
lineIn Asia, LINE is the No. 1 chat app in countries like Japan, Thailand and Taiwan, with roughly 200 million users; users can already pay for online and in-app purchases using LinePay. In February 2015, they launched the LINE@ app, which allows brands to connect with their fans and customers using one-to-one messaging and brand pages (like Facebook pages, but with more functionality).
Brands can create their own branded announcement pages where they can post timely rich content, coupons, contests, polls and image-based messages with links. In addition, brands can leverage LINE’s payment services, mobile money transfer and mileage award programs.
LINE also is pushing an online-to-offline strategy for physical retailers to get a new point of access. This is similar to the mobile store platform launched in September 2014 by WeChat, China’s dominant chat app with 500 million users.
Facebook Messenger: Retailers Everlane And Zulily
facebookOne platform to keep an eye on for monetization progress is Facebook Messenger, a messaging platform that offers massive user reach thanks to Facebook’s heavy push to get users to download the Facebook Messenger app on mobile. In April 2014, Facebook Messenger reached more than 800 million people.
In the spring of 2015, Facebook built in customer service features for brands, similar to a WeChat or LINE@ customer service chat dialogue. Users would be able to get one-on-one customer support from a retail brand and ideally start to purchase items using the messaging platform.
At its F8 developer conference, Facebook showed off Messenger’s integration with online retailers Everlane and Zulily. They can use Messenger services in their checkout flows to give customers updates on shipping, let them modify their orders or have them purchase another follow-on item.
We’ll be watching this space to see how commerce on mobile messaging evolves on a U.S.-based platform.
American Eagle’s In-House Chat
Teen-apparel brand American Eagle used chat to drive clothing sales directly and to solicit reviews for their products.
This took place in their mobile app, which showcased their products and offered discounts. Users could tap into a live chat feature to talk to an American Eagle sales associate. The brand reports that teens asked the sales associates for shopping advice from sales associates and treated the experience as an informal styling session with a friend.
The response to chat was overwhelmingly positive, and it had a business impact, as well: 51 percent of the conversations had to do with sales.
American Eagle changed their service when they put chat into their app. Sure, they changed a small corner of it — it’s a huge chain and mobile sales are a fraction of in-person retail — but if it goes well, this experiment may lead to greater shifts in the way the brand operates and serves its customers.
Airbnb’s In-House Chat
Airbnb smartly integrated in-app chat to offer a concierge messaging service called “Local Companion,” which is still in beta. This peer-to-peer chat gives Airbnb users great service and builds community.
When an Airbnb customer books a stay in San Francisco, they can use Local Companion to chat with a person who lives in San Francisco and ask for personalized, instant travel recommendations. They might pass on a tip to check out Smitten ice cream in Hayes Valley. Not only does this peer-to-peer chat feature add value to the service, it changes the subjective feel of the Airbnb brand. The interaction lends a warm, personal connection and a sense of belonging.

To get up close and personal with customers, improve quality of service and tighten their fan community, brands can introduce mobile messaging into their marketing mix. Brands can run a test marketing campaign on a popular messaging app or commit to mobile messaging all the way by creating a dedicated, branded mobile app with chat capabilities. Either way, this is a space to watch.