With more than 20,000 apps added to the app stores every month, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd. Even if your brand manages to become one of the few apps used by consumers every month, nearly 90% of app users don’t return 30 days after an install. In order to not waste those acquisition efforts, smart brands are using engagement strategies that are heavily informed by behavioral analytics.
This was the main takeaway from last week’s webinar, “Insights to Action: Inform Your Engagement Strategy with Behavioral Analytics” (embedded below). In this session, Kahuna’s Doug Roberge and Amplitude Head of Product Justin Bauer offered clear strategies on how personalized messaging can be used during three key phases of retention.
The backbone of any strong engagement strategy is having a deep understanding of your users, said Doug. From there, you can start to engage via push notifications, in-app messages, email and social messaging. Brands must also use every possible data point at their disposal to optimize for the best possible outcomes.
Product analytics are a key data input for engagement marketing campaigns. But, as Justin noted, brands must focus on the right kind of analytics. High-level aggregate statistics can tell you where the problems are but often times, they are too rigid to provide a deep understanding of user behavior. Raw data from individual user timelines is often too granular to extrapolate useful information across the user base. Behavioral analytics sit between the two layers of data and provide an actionable set of insights that engagement marketers can use to drive results, said Justin.
Best-in-class engagement marketers think about retention in three phases. Justin and Doug covered the analytics and messaging strategies brands should use for each phase.
Phase 1: Does the customer believe the app is valuable?
You can’t assume you know the “aha” moment of your app. You must have the data to back it up. Justin discussed how a cooking app assumed its best customers would come after users explored deeply into their favorite food category. After digging into the behavioral analytics, the cooking app discovered the numbers of recipes saved is a better indicator of high retention. By re-shifting its onboarding experience to encourage more recipe discovery, the app saw a 28% increase in retention.
When it comes to engagement marketing during the onboarding process, Doug suggested brands shouldn’t be coy. “Clearly highlight the problem you solve for your customers during the onboarding process,” said Doug. “Furthermore, highlight the key actions that you want your customers to take to get the full value of the experience.”
Doug discussed how SeatGeek does a great job of this during its onboarding process. Encouraging new app users to track events has led to a 61% uplift in user engagement and a 32% uplift in bookings.
Phase 2: Does the customer remember the app is valuable?
Just because a customer found value on the first day doesn’t guarantee she’ll remember to come back three days later. Re-engagement campaigns give users reminders to keep coming back and transform casual users into a highly-engaged long-term customers. Personalized messages can lead to significant increases in 90-day retention rates. As Kahuna data shows, this can lead to a 186% uplift in retention.
Justin said brands should use a series of behavioral cohorts to identify the optimal experience. For example, Facebook was ultimately able to determine that its optimal experience was users adding seven friends in ten days thanks to its behavioral cohort analysis. Brands need to discover what virtuous actions lead to their customers sticking around, and nudge users toward that with re-engagement campaigns.
Phase 3: Has the app become a habit for the customer?
Behavioral analytics and personalized messaging empower brands to turn normal users to highly-engaged power users. Doug said behavioral analytics are key to this because it enables brands to sense the “digital body language” of users who may drop off, and then intervene with relevant messages.
Both Doug and Justin agreed that engagement marketing is key for helping to turn your app into a habit in the user’s life. For example, win-back campaigns have traditionally been sent based on a timed basis (on day five, send x message). But that doesn’t work in the mobile era. Instead, brands need to talk to fading power users quickly in order to fight off churn and increase the chances of producing a long-term, profitable customer.
You can view the entire webinar below and you can download the presentation materials via SlideShare.