How have the latest privacy updates (led by Apple) impacted consumers, and in turn, customer engagement strategies for brand marketers?
Apple’s recently announced changes are a huge win for consumer privacy. Along with Apple’s privacy nutrition labels for iOS apps, new permissions for tracking introduced in iOS 14, consumers now have even more transparency and control over how their data is used with iOS 15.
It is a critical time to reassess customer engagement strategies and become even smarter in getting to know your customers better through direct interactions across apps, websites, and messaging channels. To state the obvious, more user-centric iPhone controls mean more opportunities for customers to shut down brands that aren’t meeting their needs.
The changes to tracking highlights the importance for marketers to be even more sophisticated to ensure they are sending timely and relevant messages and leverage first-party and zero-party data as intelligently as possible — third-party data will only get more scarce. Marketers also should not forget the opportunities for transactional messaging that streamlines and enhances customers’ experiences.
It is also crucial to re-evaluate in-app messaging strategies for engagement while ensuring preference centres are in place to let customers choose what information they would like to receive. Marketers can best prepare for this new era of customer-first marketing by continually optimizing app onboardings, opt-in prompts, customer journeys and messages themselves, finely tuning executions with ongoing A/B or multivariate testing.
Mobile app usage soared during lockdown – what strategies can brands use to retain and strengthen engagement post-pandemic?
Indeed, we have seen usage soar and it is likely to continue post lockdown. The pandemic increased global mobile app audiences by 31% — nearly twice the Philippines Photo Editor growth of the year prior — as more customers than ever now rely on their mobiles when shopping or simplifying their lives. This “mobile advantage” that consumers are embracing is easily lost if brands do not invest in retaining users. Our data across thousands of apps shows that 78% of users will churn in the first week after installing an app if brands do not have an engagement strategy. And that simply means they will go to competition.
Airship provides a SaaS platform to help businesses more easily engage mobile audiences by responding to their latest context and behaviours with highly relevant, in-the-moment experiences orchestrated across push notifications, in-app messaging, SMS, email and more. A proper retention strategy requires brands lean heavily into optimizing onboarding experiences, app tours, opt-in prompts and critical customer journeys in order to grow conversions and lifetime value.
Sending a customer the right offer at the right time and through their preferred channel is the holy grail, as that drives them back into the app where subsequent behaviours and automation fuel a virtuous cycle of continuous individualized engagement. And if you’re unsure what the right time, offer or channel is — and you don’t have analytics or machine learning to tell you — the most important thing to do is to ask your customers what they want and adapt your communications and offers accordingly.
I would also add that brands should welcome customers combining mobile activities and in-store experience to make it their vital shopping companion. The Home Depot is a great example of a brand focused on a mobile-first approach to in-store shopping. Its app includes key features such as an in-store mode providing shoppers with a store map that specifies the aisle and bay number, as well as stock status, of items in a shopping list or a search result. This is a great example of how mobile usage can help remove friction and streamline customers’ in-store experiences.