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There’s in-app for that: How to Leverage Personalization across the User Journey

Whatever business you’re in, you’re now expected to deliver the optimal customer experience to which mobile personalization is key. That means to not just meet the needs of your customers, but to know what these needs are before they do – and then to exceed them. Succeeding means the holy grail of app success, customer loyalty. Worth a shot? We think so

Delivering the optimal customer experience through hyper-personalization is no longer the preserve of a few elite brands. Thanks to ever-evolving tech solutions, creating exceptional, personalized user experiences at scale has rapidly become critical to forging meaningful, valuable customer connections, and, quite simply, to the success of any brand.

Download the guide: Mobile Marketing 101

Rich customer data is always the precursor to successful personalization. Chances are, you’ve already invested in a mobile analytics platform that does the hard work for you, delivering the intelligence to power meaningful, valuable connections and profitable campaigns. But if you’re turning up late to the party (and let’s face it, who doesn’t like making an entrance), the unparalleled insights data offers, and the compelling benefits these insights will help you to deliver across the user journey, should quickly convince you: 

  • Greater brand awareness
  • Enhanced retention rates
  • Deeper customer relationships
  • Richer, more meaningful engagement
  • Increased purchases
  • Enriched customer experiences
  • Amplified conversion rates
  • Intensified brand loyalty
  • … and of course, an often very impressive bottom line

First thing’s first – data

Rapid, global digitization alongside ever-evolving data technologies has given us the tools and opportunities to utilize customer data to build detailed pictures of users and gain deep, valuable insights into their preferences and behaviors. 

A powerful analytics platform will capture and sift through vast amounts of customer data in realtime, helping you to make high-value insight-driven decisions that power your personalization strategy. 

To capture external data (think social media posts, product/service reviews, industry research, and statistics, etc) identify what you’re looking for and how you’ll obtain it; in 2022, many brands will be utilizing the services of a DaaS provider (Data-as-a-Service); others still will utilize in-house resources. 

For data obtained directly from app users – aka first party – you’ll be looking to your analytics intelligence to build out the detailed customer personas and audience segments needed to drive successful personalization efforts. How you approach data collection and work with the resulting insights will depend on how far you want to go with personalization – and if you’re smart, it’ll be all the way!

A great onboarding experience is half the battle

Retention rates can increase by up to 50% with a positive onboarding experience, so it’s the perfect opportunity to quickly connect with and delight new users, and start capturing the data that’s going to enable you to continue delivering a personalized CX: 

  • Use existing data to quickly segment users to create a more personalized onboarding experience, and minimize the risk of abandonment. When new users are taken directly to relevant in-app content, brands enjoy 1.8 times more signups and an almost 2x increase in user retention and engagement.
  • Always capture the basics; name, email, and personal preferences (if required). For example, Spotify requests music preferences and the Trip travel app requests vacation-type preferences. Once captured, include these preferences throughout the rest of the onboarding process. It’ll help new users quickly feel at home – and even better, start building trust.
  • Gamify the process. Elements like a status bar let new users know where they are in the process, making it fun and minimizing the risk of drop-off before completion. You could also introduce an element of competition, or incentive users by offering rewards as they complete each stage and progress towards activation. 
  • Go beyond your app with personalized emails that provide additional opportunities to engage new users and bring them back into your app once they’ve completed the onboarding stage.

Personalized navigation? Yes please!

The more personalized the navigation journey is for your app users, the greater the chance of them finding exactly what they want, and by default, enjoying a seamless customer experience that they’ll thank you for. Leveraging data and the resulting insights, such as location, time of day, weather, gender, etc, marketers have at their fingertips a veritable banquet of tools to deliver an exceptional personalized experience – think timely offers, recommendations, trending products, and highlights that keep users engaged, and primed to purchase.

Introducing: Introductory Offers

25% of users abandon an app after just one use, so personalize quickly with valuable, relevant content and plenty of these ‘a-ha!’ moments that can make new users feel special. Once new users have completed the onboarding process, you’ll want to add value quickly, minimizing the need for your audience to look elsewhere. Strategies such as rewarding new customers for downloading your app with a money-off coupon towards their first purchase, or sending a time-sensitive discounted subscription (if they’re in trial, for example)  are great ways to keep new users engaged and returning to your app. What could you do to compel new users to return to your app?

Make your messaging count

With the average smartphone user receiving 46 push messages every day, it pays to ensure that those you’re sending are one of the 46 your audience are going to pay attention to. Over 60% of 18 to 34 years either often or always opt-in to receive push messages, so the opportunity to engage with personalized, relevant, valuable messaging that compels engagement is there for the taking:  

  • Always add value – A limited-time discount for leaving feedback? The opportunity to try out your new product before anyone else? Saying thanks for their recent participation in your survey with a link to results and a free download of the report? Think about how your push campaign can add value – if it doesn’t, why are you doing it?
  • Get the timing right – A limited-time-only offer for a product your customer has checked out online when they’re near your physical outlet; an invitation to feedback on a recent food delivery in return for a discount for your next one; or the chance to win a free meal when a user is already engaged with your app – intelligent send times can increase engagement by 40%. 
  • Use rich media – We’re all visual creatures. Rich formats have the potential to skyrocket engagement rates by a whopping 25%.

Realtime recommendations, think Spotify

Everyone wants a piece of your customer’s attention – but there’s only so much of it to go around, which is why providing personalized realtime recommendations as a user moves throughout your app will pay dividends to the savvy mobile marketer. 

No one does personalization better than Spotify; the average customer streams on the platform for around 3 hours every day. From Monday morning favorite Discover Weekly which introduces users to artists they may not have heard of, but are likely to enjoy based on listening history, to the ever-changing Daily Mixes, to the personalized Time Capsule, Spotify capitalizes on every piece of user data they can to deliver the ultimate personalized user experience. 

Use data insights to identify where in the user journey personalized recommendations are likely to be most effective, build out your strategy, and fine-tune as more data comes in.

Go global by going local

Location-based marketing and analytics tend to deliver insights that allow for a far richer, deeper understanding of what customers are actually looking for, and where they’re looking for it. Utilizing the resulting data to deliver personalized location-based marketing campaigns can be highly effective; engagement enjoys a near 300% increase with location-aware campaigns vs. standard broadcast messaging.

Location-based features can help developers uncover where users like to go, why they make purchase decisions, and how to reach them with powerful messaging:

  • Ask permission. The most effective way to do this is to quickly and succinctly explain the value they’ll glean from allowing you access to their location data, how you’ll use that information, and how you share it (if relevant). If it’s a firm ‘no’,  there’s always the option to ask again as they continue to engage with your app and do business with your brand. 
  • Location based engagement – comel engagement by reaching users the moment they approach or enter a location to remind them to complete a location-specific action, such as scan a receipt, take a survey, or activate an offer.
  • Generate detailed behavioral insights and visit histories to create more personalized communications as users navigate the app journey.

Use analytics to gain insights into the way your audience moves through the world, build out a detailed customer profile that enables you to continually fine-tune personalization efforts, and watch engagement and retention rocket.

More dollars, more minutes

Harnessing the power of your analytics platform to adapt to this brave new world is to survive and succeed where many others won’t. Leveraging personalization at scale across the user journey means mobile marketers must have access to the right data via analytics that leverage both AI and machine learning. Personalization has unparalleled potential to increase both the time and the dollars that new and existing customers will spend with you – and with these technologies, your team can make huge advances in your quest for providing a personalized customer experience that your audience loves.

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Bob Lawson

Bob Lawson is Director of Mobile Offerings at Optimove. He joined Optimove early in 2022, when it acquired Kumulos, the company he co-founded. Kumulos was a market-leading Mobile and Web Messaging Platform serving a broad range of industries. Bob has spent more than 18 years in technology, particularly Mobile MarTech. He has held commercially facing roles in start-ups, scale-ups, and large enterprise businesses, particularly in Mobile Technology. Before working in the Tech space, he spent 15 years in Financial Services, most recently as Marketing Director of one of Europe’s largest Fund Management Companies.