How to Leverage Your App to Get More Customers
The past two years have already, most likely, accelerated your investment in your app’s growth. In case you’re still on the fence, out of the estimated four hours that U.S. adults spend on their phones each day, 88 percent of that time happens within apps.
Putting your app at the center of your omnichannel strategy instead of it being “just another” channel requires a new way of thinking about mobile commerce.
Why Apps Are at the Center
Apps are unique in facilitating the best elements of in-person shopping. Apps load faster and can incorporate more features natively than a mobile website. Among other things, they keep the user logged-in, integrate seamlessly with Apple Pay and Google Pay, engage users with notifications of promotions and discounts, and reduce friction during the shopping journey, all improving the user experience.
For an in-store shopper, a great app can serve as a hub for loyalty programs and make it easy for shoppers to keep track of their activity, like Walmart has done. Or like Target, an app can also enhance the physical experience by providing a way to get more information about products as well as make it easy for shoppers to find an expanded product selection that’s offered online.
Building an App That Drives Business Success
If there's one key to success in building a great app-centered business, it’s adopting a culture of “test-and-learn.” Apps provide the flexibility to test and experiment well beyond what’s possible in a physical location. A/B test everything you can, such as welcome screens, checkout flows, promotional offers, call-to-action buttons, text color, fonts and more. Approaching your app in such a way from the start will enable you to scale for success over time and optimize for maximum engagement and conversion.
Also, build a testing plan that allows you to experiment with cutting-edge features that work well in-app. Augmented reality (AR) leveraging phone cameras, for example, is becoming common with everything from furniture to fashion. In-app content can engage users and drive sales, whether through written editorials or live video. Live in-app chat for customer service is another effective way of meeting your shoppers where they are and increasing time spent within your app.
Your app should not only work for existing customers, but it’s also an incredibly powerful tool to recruit new shoppers to your brand. This means having a dedicated app marketing plan for acquiring high-potential users, and then utilizing app-specific tools and platforms for measuring campaign effectiveness in order to iterate, optimize and scale.
There are numerous channels that you can include in your strategy to reach as wide an audience as possible. You can run campaigns inside other apps, on social channels (e.g., Facebook, TikTok, etc.), on SDK networks (e.g., ironSource, Unity, etc.), or connect users natively with ads directly on-device. Each channel has its own benefits, but crucially, strong app growth comes out of a multichannel strategy, where you’re meeting users at multiple touchpoints and in various contexts.
Measuring and managing cross-channel campaigns can require a lot of overhead, so make sure to leverage marketing software that reduces the manual labor of optimizing campaigns and identifying which ads are working well or not. It’s also important to integrate with a mobile measurement partner (MMP) to understand the relative performance of each channel in terms of actions users take after install. Some channels might work well to bring in new users, but ultimately you want to invest in channels that bring users who convert to customers.
Whether your business is exclusively online or truly “phygital,” a best-in-class app experience at the heart of your strategy will unlock long-term customer value. Thinking from an app-first perspective will help your business stay on the cutting edge of consumer expectations and create additional opportunities to increase your user base and delight your customers.
Dor Birnboim is vice president, strategic partnerships at ironSource, the leading business platform for the app economy.
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