Before we explore the two channels in question, let’s establish the fact that marketers can’t afford to neglect any new developments when it comes to mobile marketing. This can be driven from the fact that user conversion rate of Apps is almost 3X than that of websites.
Getting someone to download your App is a huge challenge but the battle doesn’t end there. Two major challenges that mobile marketers face from thereon is firstly keeping the App users engaged and secondly reducing the App churn rate.
Research has shown that 90% users uninstall an App within 3-30 days of installing it while 23% abandon it right after the first interaction. It won’t be wrong to say, that customer retention is definitely no child’s play when it comes to an App.
So, when we talk about two powerful mediums of communication associated with App, how do marketers exactly decide which one is best for their business? Both Push notifications and In-app messaging offer have high click rate and engagement rate. While In-app messaging have click rate as high as 35%, push notifications experience an open rate of beyond 8% by highly relevant audience. Since both the channels target very specific audience, their conversion rate is also quite high.
Let’s explore them in detail and understand how they can benefit your business and what Push Notification or In-app messaging practices to stay away from.
What is In-App Messaging?
In-app messaging also known as in-app notifications are messages displayed in front of users while they are using/inside the App. These messages appear in form of pop-up windows in the middle, top or bottom of the screen in form of text or an image and conveys information like a discount voucher, sign-up discount, referral discount, ongoing sale, upcoming sales, customized recommendations, and so on. Here are some common types of in-app messaging used by marketers:
- Onboarding message: This helps the user to understand how the App works after they have downloaded it.
- Special promotion: When a discount coupon, a freebie or special offer is to be communicated to a user in order to improve conversions.
- New Feature: If the App has been updated with a new feature or design, such messages are useful for communicating the same to the user.
- Transactional: To communicate information about a purchase, registration or other such actions to a user, transactional in-app messaging is created.
- Announcement: When some piece of crucial information about the brand is to be communicated to the users.
This medium being so powerful has a scope of gaining many more multimedia capabilities in the future. The main purpose of an in-app messaging is to get an instant response or conversion from the targeted user, thus its call-to-action is quite prominent. This call-to-action comes with a deep link that takes the user to a specific destination to complete a particular action.
However, an in-app message might not always include a link, it could just be simple text conveying a discount voucher or cashback offer that might make the user complete a pending or on-hold action and result in conversion. While marketers might use in-app messaging to improve conversions directly, it can also be used to do this indirectly. It can be used to display information that might be engaging to users like size guide, product recommendations, trending styles, etc.
Advantages of In-app Messaging
In-app messages are highly personalized as they are shown to people who are browsing the App at that time. They also have higher chances of conversion and engagement since its audience is highly captive and active. Unlike push notifications, in-app messages have the advantage of reaching the entire user base and not just those who might have opted for them.
Thus, such messages gives marketers more scope to go creative. In-app messaging is also a great channel to derive feedback and strengthen the process of long-term retention. For example, it can be used while onboarding a customer or to take them through App updates, changes in designs or new category or products launched.
In app-messaging has gradually become a favorite of marketers for a number of reasons in addition to these amazing advantages they bring along:
- In-app messages don’t come with time restrictions like push notifications do. They can be sent whenever the user enters the App or they trigger an event.
- Unlike push notifications, In-app messages also don’t have any text character limitations. They can easily be personalized with videos, images or such combinations, making them highly effective.
- While push notifications need permission to appear on a user’s screen, In-app messages are not prone to any such restrictions and will be visible to anyone who uses the App.
- Most important advantage of an in-app message is that it gets the user’s undivided attention and isn’t just skimmed or ignored like an email or a push notification.
Disadvantages of In-app messaging
While in-app messaging comes with some great advantages, it has its drawbacks too.
- While displaying messaging inside the App might make the audience more specific, but it also states the disadvantage that in-app messaging can only engage the user when they are inside the App, which is not very often. This makes the audience of in-app messaging smaller and restricted than email or push-notifications, making it not the best option for re-engaging users at scale.
- Additionally, going overboard with too many messages while the user is browsing the app might have the opposite effect. Marketers have to be very careful with the kind of messaging they show users while they are inside the App as irrelevant content may interrupt the user’s intention of entering the App and take away conversion or engagement opportunities. This might also lead to the user deleting the app.
Best Practices for In-app Messaging Campaigns
Until now we have discussed how In-app messaging is a great tool to engage a user right in action through real-time personalized messaging. Although marketers are often struggle to find the line between keeping it relevant and detracting the user from an organic experience. Precisely why, only 1/3rd of the App marketers have been successful in adapting in-app messaging as a part of their App engagement strategy. Here are few of the best practices for effectively using in-app messaging that can improve not just click through rates but also almost double conversions.
- Event-based triggered In-app message
The average click-rate for an in-app message is 28% for messages shown at the starting of an App session. However, this rate is 2X higher than the standard rate when it is triggered off based on an event. An event is basically the action taken by a visitor within the App based on which an in-app message can be personalized to make the offer or communication more relevant and real-time. The use case stands true for conversions too as when an in-app message is personalized and shown to a user based on an event that takes place inside the App; conversions are 4X higher than the average percentage.
- Set a specific goal
For an in-app messaging strategy to work, it is important that marketers set a specific goal that they are looking to achieve from every message. These goals should be clearly defined and measurable. This can be achieved by understanding behavioral analytics and funnel metrics.
- Segment messaging well
Be it information about a new feature of the app, or new navigation bar or simply the launch of a new product or collection, it is crucial that marketers segment their target audience thoroughly. As per the practices followed by large brands, it is ideal to segment users based on their engagement state as well as their actions or browsing behavior within the App.
For example: For a brand letting their users know about a new feature is crucial but not every user might need that information. In a user that’s highly active on the App have already figured out about their feature while browsing then showing him/her an in-app message about the same is not of much significance.
- Focus on the content of the message
As mentioned earlier, an irrelevant message shown to the wrong user might result in losing that customer completely. That’s why it is crucial that marketers pay extra attention towards the copy that goes in in-app messages.
While relevance and value-addition will help you win half of the battle, non-compelling content will act as a drawback. Make sure that the message is highly compelling with clear call-to-action that aligns with the goal mentioned above. Keeping it concise does the trick here too like it does in case of push-notifications.
Duplicating content across channels is also a big no-no. Every channel has a different impact and approach and not to forget that the audience for them will also be different. Personalization is the key here! You can further validate the impact of your content by A/B testing various versions of it in different groups.
- Time it right
There is no denying that timing a push-notification right is highly crucial but marketers tend to neglect the importance of ‘timing it right’ in case of in-app messaging. Usually the reason is active presence of a user in the App when the message is displayed, but that’s where you might go wrong with your in-app messaging strategy. Which information is most effective during which moment of browsing can do the make or break here.
For example: Showing a cart abandonment in-app message while the customer is still browsing seems highly insignificant. The correct moment to show such a message is when the customer is about to exit the App without purchasing the products they had added to the cart.
What are Push-Notifications?
Push notifications are the type of messages that are sent by an App to a device to convey a particular piece of information. They are almost like an SMS, but instead of reaching in a user’s inbox, they are visible in the notification window of a user’s device. These messages like alerts also come with the advantage of being highly action-oriented due to their media rich nature.
Unlike an SMS, these alerts aren’t dependent on user’s timing of going inside the SMS inbox; rather they are visible at the top of the home screen and thus have the advantage of conveying any information precisely and promptly.
With changing technology, push notifications have today moved on from being just text alerts and becoming media rich in form of image notifications, video notifications, carousel notifications and much more. This evolving nature of push-notifications has made them a preferred choice of communicating for marketers today.
Advantages of Push notifications
Considering how much attention and screentime push notifications enjoy, they surely are the divas of mobile marketing. Marketers too give them due recognition and have started making them the preferred channel to convey crucial and even time-sensitive information. Let’s discuss some of the advantages push notifications offer to the marketers in terms of engaging and retaining App users:
- The foremost advantage of a push-notification also known as a push message or alert is the ability to reach the user in a prompt manner even when they are not using the App. This makes them a great channel to bring users back to the App. For all the users who have given permission or opted to receive a push-notification, marketers can reach them almost at any time (ofcourse keeping in consideration the ideal time to reach them).
- For being media rich and action-oriented, push notifications also have a high engagement rate and as per industry stats, their click-through rate is as high as 40%. With the use of dynamic deep linking, brands can use push notifications to draw users to any particular part of their website and make their marketing efforts highly targeted and personalized.
- Additionally push notifications can also be used as a way to engage and interact with users even when they are not using the App. Such messaging might not directly lead to a conversion but they are highly useful in getting user’s attention and communicating something of interest to them. This kind of communication is a great brand building exercise as it helps to set a tone about the brand instead of just focusing on sales and revenues.
Disadvantages of Push notifications
Push notifications even after being a strong channel of communication can often misfire if not used wisely. Also, when it comes to comparing in-app messaging with push notifications, there are few restrictions that work in favor of the former.
- Opt-in restriction
The major disadvantage that a push notification presents for a brand is the need to opt in. Mobile marketers cannot send a push notification to a user until and unless they have opted in for them unlike an SMS or an in-app message for that matter. This reduces the audience for push notifications and marketers miss out on reaching out to a huge chunk.
- Irrelevant and ill-timed targeting
Push notifications might also feel spammy at times when brands don’t effectively put a cap on the frequency on how many times a notification is sent to a particular user. This also stands true in case where marketers time a notification wrong or send irrelevant content through it. No matter how many relevant notifications you send to a user, it just takes one irrelevant one for the user to uninstall an App or lose loyalty towards a brand.
- Character limitations
We find it rather hard to fit thoughts in the 280 characters of a tweet; push notifications bring similar challenges for marketers. To be able to clearly deliver a message to the user in such space and character restriction often makes the notification fall short in its goal. Even though push notifications are evolving into various multimedia notifications, still keeping it short, catchy and to-the-point stays inevitable for the marketers.
Best Practices for Push-Notifications
A great batsman doesn’t give up knowing the pitch might not be great that day. Similarly, push notifications might come with its own set of limitations but it’s completely upto a marketer to make the most of it. Here are some great practices associated with push notification marketing that marketers can follow to turn their strategy into a sixer!
Keep it precisely for the targeted segment. Conversions achieved through push notifications almost double when they are contain communication personalized for the relevant audience. Skip the generic approach and let the audience feel cared for.
Here’s an example of a personalized push notification by Swiggy that perfectly captured Wednesday blues just before Dinner time, letting the user land directly in the menu of their most ordered/favorite restaurant.
- Time it Right
The above example is also quite fitting in terms of timing a notification right too. Capturing the user just before dinner time is directly proportional to better chances of conversion. Timing a push right while adheres to improving conversion and engagement, but an ill-timed one might make you lose the customer altogether. So, make sure your pushes don’t hit the user’s device at a time that might not be comfortable to them, like at night or busiest hours of their day, etc.
- Define a purpose and stick to it
Due to its concise nature, push notifications can rather get confusing while defining a purpose. Don’t go over-board trying to achieve something through a push notification. Define the nature of that notification in advance like engaging, transactional, or informative. This will let you fit more info and achieve the action you expect out of that notification.
- Choose the multimedia wisely
Too many options might not be a good option all the time. In case of push notifications too, having abundance of multimedia options make marketers go off-track. Our suggestion, don’t make a choice as per trends and neither fit all notifications in a single template. Customize the multimedia choice of a push notification as per the nature of it and what kind of action you are looking to derive from it.
For example: For a transactional push notification sending a simple text message with a clear call to action tab is enough to get the job done. Although when you are looking to promote a new collection or explain the feature of your new services, a carousel image push notification or a video push notification might stand more apt.
Striking a Balance between the Two Channels
We can’t deny the fact that both push notifications and in-app notifications are the next big thing when it comes to mobile marketing. While both of these channels have some drawbacks, their advantages and impactful nature cannot be ignored. Best strategy for marketers while dealing with both these channels is to strike the right balance between the two and use them to complement and support each other.
Like when you need to announce a new feature released for the App, you could let your users know through a push notification when an in-app message can help to take them through those features and how to use them, once they are inside the App.
The need is to stick to the best practices for both the channels and let go of the things that might misfire!
Improve conversion and engagement rate with effective in-app messages and push notifications with Gamooga. Check out how we can help!