Stop Spamming Your Users – Message By Engagement State

By: Adam Marchick | May 20, 2014 | Campaign Strategy

We’ve all experienced the errant email, mistimed text, or worst of all – the spammy push notification. These poor quality communications damage the user experience, and have given mobile messaging a bad name. Blast notifications are the junk mail of the mobile world, and Kahuna is on a mission to put an end to mobile spam. Successful mobile-focused companies use personalized messaging to guide their users on the path to engagement. A crucial step is tailoring your communication to each user’s current engagement state with your brand.

A few examples of what we’ve seen work best.

Newbie: Users who are new to your app. When these users are onboarded effectively, their lifetime value increases upwards of 500%. The best messages for new users include a value proposition – something unique to your brand’s mobile experience that will pique their interest. In many cases, it’s a mobile-only promotion or an initial feature spotlight.

Passerby: Users who have opened your app on the first day, and never returned. This group typically represents a large portion of your paid acquisition budget, and offers a huge opportunity to recoup that spend. Many of these installs have the potential to become power users or top shoppers, but they need to be reminded of the value of your app. A compelling “Fear of Missing Out” campaign is the best way to re-engaged them.

For example, a food delivery company might send this message to passerby users who browsed a restaurant on the first day, but never placed an order:

“Enjoy a meal from [last restaurant viewed] or one of your other favorites. Only two days left to redeem your welcome promo!”

“Enjoy a meal from [Jerry’s Deli] or one of your other favorites. Only two days left to redeem your welcome promo!”

As shown above, every user must receive message content that is unique to their personal search history and preferences. Relevance and value are critical.

Dormant: Users who have been active in the past but have not engaged with your app lately. Brands define this category differently – for some apps (high frequency apps – such as games or productivity apps), users become dormant after 24 hours of no engagement. For others, it can be as long as 30 days (luxury brands and travel companies). Many of these dormant users have been top shoppers or power users and are vital to your business. Utilize prior engagement history to send highly personalized messages.

For example, a home decor retailer might target this message to users who have searched many times in the past but have not been back to the app in two weeks:

“Looking for the right splash of [last color searched]? New [last category viewed] for under [last price point viewed] available.“

“Looking for the right splash of yellow? New pillows for under $50 available.”

Engaged: Users who are active on your app. The key is to keep them coming back by regularly offering new value – pro tips and information about advanced mobile features they have yet to discover. This population is also your key to growth marketing. For example, who can forget LinkedIn’s 1% campaign that generated 82,000 social shares and hundreds of thousands of free app downloads? By identifying, affirming and even congratulating your most active, popular or valuable users (ex. Top Bookers of the Month, Top Shoppers of the Year, Most Active Users of the Week), you can create organic user acquisition and greater brand loyalty.

“[First name], you’ve been named a power user for the month of [current month]! Share your new status on Facebook today!”

John, you’ve been named a power user for the month of May! Share your new status on Facebook today!”


Adam Marchick is the CEO of Kahuna, Inc – a mobile marketing company dedicated to fostering user delight and driving engagement and revenue. Kahuna gives marketers the power to deliver Perfect Push™ – hyper-targeted, automatically personalized push notifications – that dramatically increase conversion on mobile. Kahuna was founded in 2012 and is funded by Sequoia Capital.

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Author: Adam Marchick

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