Mobile Engagement Crash Course #11: Optimizing Campaigns

By: Kahuna | June 11, 2015 | Mobile Marketing
Mobile Engagement Crash Course

The most exciting thing about modern marketing is the ability to truly understand your customers and speak to them in a way they can relate to and take delight in. Mobile is the most personal and intimate device that exists, and every brand’s communications should be tailored to the special place that it holds in our lives. In our latest installment of the Mobile Engagement Crash Course, we’ll briefly look at some critical factors you need to consider when optimizing push notification campaigns to deliver the most impact.


The success of Netflix, Spotify, and a variety of other services point to the undeniable fact that people enjoy personalization. This also holds true when it comes to crafting your mobile marketing messages: Users don’t want mass messages. The keys to personalization are segmentation and copy.


Personalization really starts with effective segmentation of your user base. At the bare minimum, you need to know which users are new, really engaged with your service, were engaged but dropped off, and aren’t using your app at all. The more characteristics you can learn about your users, the better you can develop campaigns that resonate. Know how to target users based on behavior, demographics, preferences, interests, and relevant actions.

Listia, a mobile marketplace for buyers and sellers, saw positive results by segmenting its users based on their activity levels. Listia ran a campaign aimed at re-energizing dormant users by reminding them of credits they have to spend. The campaign increased the number of lists and bids significantly, and even decreased the number of app installs compared to sending no message at all.


Your main goal of your message copy should be to delight the user and make them want to engage in the app.

Sure, you’ll likely have other goals in mind, such as conversion, but keep that guiding principle in mind. Your message copy should be clear, concise, compelling, and align with your brand. Don’t be afraid to try thoughtful experiments with your brand voice, though. 8tracks found success by using humor in its push messages to reduce churn.

To personalize the copy, you’ll want intelligent attributes that can automatically incorporate knowledge about your users. These attributes should include elements like their name, interests, last item browsed, and more. For example, an e-commerce brand can personalize a message to a customer using his first name and the last item he browsed, asking him if he’s still interested in the item.


Push notifications are so powerful because the medium is on the most intimate device. That power cuts both ways: a well-crafted push at just the right moment can lead to a virtuous action, but a poorly-planned message can also turn a customer off for life. Optimizing for timing is a way to mitigate against this.

Your overarching marketing goals should be to treat users like people, not just devices or numbers. People are different. Some are night owls, some swim 100 laps before the sun comes up, some sleep with their phones, and others can’t wait to disconnect for the night. A push notification sent at 3 a.m. may wake up and disturb most of your user base but it may delight the individual who works the graveyard shift and is habitually active on his device.

Send a message at the time the user is likely to engage with your app. This is a deceptively simple notion, but it’s one that many apps don’t follow because it’s complex when you factor in millions of users, across various regions and time zones, with individual preferences.


If done correctly, messages that incorporate location are extremely compelling. This is true for lifecycle campaigns, such as a flash-sales app sending regionally-focused deals, or for one-off campaigns.

When it comes to location, make sure that you’re fully thinking through your user experience and segmenting your users accordingly. A travel app that automatically welcomes you to a new city can be wonderful as you’re getting off the plane, but what about the user who commutes in from a suburb every day and constantly receives the welcome push? That’s the sort of noisy, non-personalized messaging you want to avoid.

Unfortunately for marketers, once you’ve hit on the optimal personalization, timing, and location, it can all change quickly. People evolve and change habits, but your messaging needs to stay relevant or you risk losing them. For example, a message with a promo code may not resonate with users during the summer months but as the winter holidays approach and budgets get tight, that promo code could be appealing.

What’s Next

It’s vital to optimize your campaigns to be personalized and timely and to be aware of the role location plays. It’s also important to constantly adjust these factors to stay relevant with an ever-evolving user base. In our next lesson, we’ll discuss the value of deep linking and machine learning within your mobile marketing messages.

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