A/B testing is the process by which two or more competing creative variants are shown to separate audiences. By tracking the behavior and performance of these audiences during the test, we are able to establish which approach was most effective and adopt that approach in future. A/B testing removes ‘opinion’ from decision making and allows the organization to fine-tune creative and user interaction approaches based on real world data.Read more
As you might expect, acquisition relates to bringing new customers onboard. Definitions can vary: for some organizations acquisition will refer to new users on a mobile app, and for others it means new paying customers only. These are not the same thing. No business can live without customer acquisition, but spending too much in this area can be a mistake. It is wise to ensure you are retaining customers effectively before investing in acquisition.
Application Program Interface (API) is a set of tools built within a software to facilitate data between two apps. APIs are programmed to take direction from platform managers. So if an API is programmed to capture data from a weather application, it will do so. Once the data is captured, that weather data application will then appear in your app for your use. So if there is a constant change in data, APIs are especially useful in keeping your app experience up-to-date with the latest information.
They provide an access point that customers can turn to when they need new information in the moment. APIs can be a great key to seamlessly link experiences and data across applications. Used correctly, and they can blur the lines between your app and the outside world, keeping your app experience and in-the-moment with customers everywhere. However, they are not based on individual user behavior in the way that webhooks are. See webhooks.
App is short for application. Typically this application is downloaded to a device - usually a mobile device. Although there is no clear distinction between this type of ‘mobile app’ and conventional desktop applications, the former tend to be more lightweight and focused on specific tasks.
Today apps are a mainstay of brand/consumer interaction. Consumers love them (certainly when compared with mobile or even desktop internet) and they are steadily making their way onto the full variety of devices that we interact with - TVs, consoles, mobiles, wearables etc.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI refers to technology and systems that can ‘intelligently’ learn from experience (and huge amounts of data) and adapt to new circumstances and findings. In practical terms, this could mean marketing systems that learn when and how it is best to communicate with an individual based on the sum of all previous interactions with that individual, plus learnings from individuals like them.
AI enables marketing platforms to optimise communications without human intervention and will become increasingly significant in the near future.
In marketing, the process of audience segmentation refers to the creation of persistent ‘groups’ of customers or prospects, each of which has an unambiguous definition and can be used as a basis for both action and reporting.
In more traditional marketing terms, this might be “women aged 25-34” for example. As the data marketers are able to collect becomes ever more extensive the practice of building persistent segments becomes less necessary and less effective. There is a growing trend to either highly granular segments based on behavioral data or indeed no segments at all: treating each customer or prospect as an individual
A control group is a set of users who are isolated from either a specific campaign or set of campaigns in order to establish the effect of these campaigns. It is important, of course, to ensure the the control group is statistically identical to the ‘active’ group that does receive the campaign.
Over time the performance of the control group and active group can be compared against a number of metrics (retention, engagement, purchases, revenue) in order to establish just how effective these campaigns were. This approach also helps calculate return on investment of marketing activity quickly and easily.
Engagement can be defined in a general or specific sense. In the former case we are talking about the totality of interactions between brand and consumer, and ultimately the loyalty that results from those interactions. In the latter case (often used when evaluating mobile servies) we are referring to the total amount of time spent within a mobile app. In a sense both refer to the same thing.
Customer engagement is what happens when our product or service, plus our communication and interaction model, work together to ensure that our customers and prospects choose to stay with us and come back to us. It is the outcome of great customer experience.
Customer Engagement Platform
A customer engagement platform enables any business to design, target and deliver interactions and messages of all types to their customers. This platform will thus support the collection and management of customer data, the development of creative, and the ability to deliver across the many and diverse channels that characterise today’s environment. Thus such a platform automates a whole range of interactions with customers (and potential customers) in order to drive loyalty, engagement and ultimately revenue.
A measure of how successfully any business ‘holds on’ to new and existing customers. Retention can be measured in multiple ways, and each business may have its own unique take on the metric. On mobile, some apps use the concept of “Day 7 Retention” to measure the percentage of new users on day 0 who are also active during the 24 hours of day 7.
However it is measured, retention remains a key challenge for any digital business. Churn rates are typically high, but with effective delivery and management of personalized interactions businesses should be able to build strong relationships with the customer base and help retain as many as possible.
Deep linking refers to the use of links to specific locations rather than home pages—originally in the context of the desktop internet but increasingly in relation to mobile apps or indeed apps on any device. By using deep linking into apps, brands are able to build user journeys that maintain context across channels. The alternative—sending users to the homepage of the app—often means those individuals lose the trail and fail to complete which task they were in the middle of.
Dynamic content is delivered ‘in-the-moment’ in order to personalize interactions and make them as relevant and thus effective as possible. To give a concrete example, an interaction that reminds a customer that they have left an item in the cart is useful.
However, it is more useful again to remind them of the specific item left behind: a set of Aviator sunglasses for example. In order to build interactions of this type, it is necessary to link up the relevant data to the interaction platform and support the delivery of this dynamic content within the message. As levels of personalization increase, the percentage of any interaction that is dynamic increases towards 100%
The old reliable. Tales of email’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The channel remains central to most customer communication and interaction programs. Particularly when it is necessary to deliver information that needs to be stored persistently and accessed in future, email remains a winning approach. As with any other channel it works best as part of a multi-touch, multi-channel approach.
It’s great to be able to interact with customers or prospects wherever they are. But there can be a downside to that ability: marketers love to send messages and too many can be a source of irritation rather than inspiration. Similarly, if multiple teams within a large organization are all competing to deliver interactions, that can lead to ‘message fatigue’ on the part of the user. Frequency capping is a response to this issue.
It enables the number of interactions to any individual to be capped at a certain amount at an organization-wide level. Ideally the ability to control the frequency of interactions can be set by the user themselves.
Interactions displayed within the app, usually as interstitials but also as overlays as required. In-app messages can be shown within apps on any channel, including mobile, TV and desktop. Although associated with advertising in the public imagination, used well in-app messages are a smart way to handle a number of interactions including onboarding, purchasing, cross-sell and up-sell and feature discovery. As in-app messages are delivered dynamically, they are a convenient way to personalize and test many aspects on the user experience (as opposed to hard-coding changes direct to the app).Read more
Many businesses invest significant budgets in user acquisition. Install attribution gives them insight into how effective that spend is - helping to optimise it in the future. The process ensures that each individual app user or customer is clearly associated with their “source” - in other words the ad or content they clicked on, and the site or other location that content was on.
It is then possible to track revenue (and indeed any other metric that the business is interested in) and establish which sources perform best, and calculate ROI when factoring in acquisition spend in that channel. Thus in turn top performing channels can be ‘turned up’ and poorer performers switched off.
Key Performance Indicators
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are those metrics that collectively provide a clear picture of the state of the business. Ideally they are meaningful measures as opposed to ‘vanity metrics’ and if they are moving in the right direction then the whole business will be doing so as well.
In multi-channel marketing, we are usually focused on building relationships, and for that reason many of our KPIs will focus on loyalty and engagement. They may typically include DAU (daily active users) RPU (revenue per user) and retention / churn rates - these being calculated in a wide variety of ways dependent on the specific industry the business operates in.
Lifetime Value (LTV)
Perhaps the most ‘K’ of all your KPIs, LTV is the total revenue you receive from an average new customers. As new customers are expensive, and delivering a product and service is also expensive, a strong LTV is essential to maintain and grow any business.
Unfortunately, in many cases programs that increase LTV are de-prioritised in favor of more immediately satisfying acquisition campaigns. LTV is a function of average revenue per user (an amount usually expressed per day or per week) and the length of a customer’s total engagement with the business. Thus campaigns that focus on improving loyalty and cross-selling or upselling will have a major impact on LTV. High quality, relevant and timely interactions are key.
The ability to deliver interactions based on the current or previous location of the user. The potential use cases for location marketing are effectively limitless, from satisfaction surveys delivered after a customer visits the store, to reminders to exchange currency on arrival at the airport.
It represents one aspect of a significant development: the ability to target interactions based not just on user behavior, but also on the specific environment that user is in at any moment in time. Once relatively primitive (sending push notifications to everyone in a stadium) it is now able to send or adapt interactions of almost any type based on precise location or movement - both now and in the past.
Some of the benefits of the mobile revolution are often overlooked. Perhaps most notably, we now know where our customers are at any moment in time and can now talk to them in that moment. When we overlay that ability over an understanding of the world we are able to deliver interactions and notifications as users enter, leave or stay in any defined location or type of location. There are any number of use cases that apply here.
From sending a notification when a customer is near to a bricks-and-mortar store that stocks an item left in a digital shopping cart, to campaigns directed at users visiting competitor locations, as a rule, the more sophisticated and individual location-based notifications are, the better.
Multi-channel marketing is the art of building communications and relationships across the full range of channels and devices in which each individual user spends time. In today’s environment that’s a huge range, from traditional TV and print to messaging apps and everything in between.
However, in contrast with omni-channel marketing (see below), multi-channel marketing keeps experiences within these channels rather than integrating across them.
Thus although a retailer may have a website, for example, each customers interactions with that site have no impact on their experience in-store (and vice versa). Whilst for most organizations multi-channel is a step along the journey, it is not a destination.
Marketing Campaign Lifecycle
The marketing campaign lifecycle refers to various stages of your customer outreach. The marketing campaign lifecycle directly reflects the customer journey. The lifecycle of your campaigns are however short or long you’d like for them to be. It all depends on how your customers are engaging, and how effective your messaging throughout the journey is.
A campaign lifecycle could look something like this: Acquisition, Onboarding, Engagement: General Outreach, Monetization: Offer, Monetization: Relapsed User Offer, Monetization: Upsell, Engagement: Survey, Retention: Loyalty Program. Each of these stages are reflective of a new moment for your brand’s relationship with its customers. Platforms like Swrve help to extend and embolden the impact of each stage within your marketing campaign lifecycle.
Whilst once marketers thought in terms of ‘audiences’ and campaigns, now we are (slowly) adopting a new focus: the individual in a moment of need. Successfully being there for this individual is what counts, which in turn means being smart enough to recognise such moments, and nimble enough to respond to them in real-time.
These ‘micro-moments’ occur hundreds of times a day, for every customer.
From ‘where will I eat lunch’ to ‘how will I get home’ we look for help or inspiration, and we each do so at our own time and in our own way. Each micro-moment is a small battlefield—the brands that win them consistently will succeed in the new digital landscape.
A vast subject. Mobile marketing can refer to conventional brand marketing campaigns delivered via mobile, to mobile acquisition campaigns and finally any and all interactions delivered via any mobile device (not just the smartphone). It is, in short, the new normal when it comes to the brand/consumer relationship.
It is important for any marketer - no matter what their objectives - to think ‘mobile first’. As mobile usage has risen, our exposure to conventional channels such as TV and print media has shrunk. In 2019, the average American adult will spend more time looking at a mobile screen than looking at a TV screen. Mobile marketing IS marketing.
Mobile Marketing Automation
Mobile marketing automation (MMA) typically refers to the process by which interactions, notifications and messages delivered within the mobile environment are developed, designed, and delivered. Those notifications will encompass push, email, in-app, messaging and other interaction types.
At the same time MMA also involves specifying the ‘rules’ that dictate the triggering of individual interactions, the co-ordination of campaigns across multiple channels and interactions, and in general every aspect of driving customer loyalty and providing high quality user experience across the mobile environment.
Monetization is ultimately the art of deriving revenue from active users of an app - on whatever device. In most cases, apps are free to download and use. In many industries, notably games, media and retail, the requirement is therefore to generate purchases and thus revenue from these users - in a word, to ‘monetize’ them.
Effective monetization demands personalized experiences and communications, both to retain users within the app, and more importantly deliver the right offer at the right time: one that the individual user is most likely to respond to and thus become a true paying customer. Monetization can be seen as consisting of two parts: initial conversion, and then the process of maximizing repeat business and thus lifetime value.
A native app is of course designed specifically for the OS in which it runs. Thus native apps tend to be faster, smoother and more able to incorporate ‘native mobile’ interaction elements and styles. Although new technologies continue to emerge that blur the distinction between web apps and native apps, for the moment native apps are clear winners in terms of delivering the best possible experience.
“It costs 10 times as much to acquire a new customer as to retain an existing one”. It’s an old adage but as true today as it ever way, if we don’t get too picky about the exact multiplier. In digital channels in particular, customer attrition is a very real issue. It certainly isn’t unusual for over 50% of new customers to be lost within one or two transactions, and in that situation a little spent on nurturing those customers will be money well spent.
Nurturing customers means ensuring they receive the right experiences and interactions, ones that are tailored to them as individuals but most importantly ones that offer real value. These can be offers, rewards, or just clear information on what else the product or service can do for them. They should be communicated in the channel that is right for each customer, at the right time, and with the right creative. Smart nurturing campaigns like these can have a huge impact on the bottom line.
As noted above under ‘multi-channel marketing’, there is today a huge range of channels in which the brand and consumer can interact. For brands, this opens up many possibilities. But it also creates challenges. Omni-channel marketing is a response to these challenges. Most importantly, omni-channel marketing is not simply delivering marketing communications in each of these channels.
It is presenting a consistent and coherent experience across all of them, with interactions in each being aware of previous interactions in any. To support this type of experience it is essential to have a single ‘dashboard’ from which this experience can be co-ordinated.
OTT, meaning ‘over-the-top’ refers in this context to the delivery of media streaming services across internet networks rather than via cable or satellite. With the rise of major services such as Netflix and Spotify, OTT is now a realistic alternative to traditional media models and has led directly to an dramatic increase in ‘cable cutting’, particularly among American consumers.
OTT is not just about distribution.
By delivering media within apps and across existing internet connections, providers have significantly greater insight into how users browse, view and listen. They also have the opportunity to deliver personalized content and interactions in a way not possible in previous media models. As a result, successful OTT media companies will be those building a personal relationship with each individual customer in this way.
Push notifications are messages delivered on mobile devices - typically smartphones. Whilst push notifications on Android and iOS can differ in some key ways, in general they serve one key purpose: they communicate with users when they are outside apps. This means they can be used to bring people back into the app, or alternatively simply let users know about something significant. Push notifications today are a key element in any marketing mix.
They represent one of the most powerful and immediate methods to speak to the consumer and drive behavior that we have at our disposal today. Any marketer must take the time to learn how to use push notification effectively to move the key metrics of their business.Read more
In today’s marketing landscape, targeting is everything. And generic targeting isn’t good enough. Payload targeting refers to the ability to target and customise campaigns based not only on key events, but the nature and detail of those events. To give an example, a simple event might be “booked a flight” or “watched a show”. By including the payloads associated with these events, these examples can be refined to “booked a flight from London to San Francisco, departing on the 1st of June at 3pm, in business class” and “watched Game of Thrones season 7 episode 3 at 7:29pm on the 1st of June”.
Payload targeting in turn enables future campaigns to be delivered to audiences created using this detail, and with creative that reflects this detail. As a result these interactions are more powerful and effective—driving better retention rates, increased engagement, and revenue spikes.
Personalisation refers to the creation of messages and interactions that incorporate information unique to each individual who receives them. Whilst most people understand the use of personalisation when it relates to using names and other standard demographic data, the most significant gains are when personalisation can be based on behavioral data.
Thus interactions can reflect specific items or content that a user has browsed or purchased, their current location, other channels they have interacted with, or what their current status within a specific process is. This form of personalisation effectively creates interactions by assembling creative unique to each individual into a meaningful whole: a truly 1:1 message.
Ah, predictive analytics—the art of knowing what will happen next. As the amount and granularity of data we collect from each customer increases, it becomes possible to use machine learning techniques to make increasingly accurate predictions about propensity: how likely any one person is to do something. It isn’t an exact science, but it’s getting there.
Predictive analytics has a number of potential applications.
If we can establish which users are likely to return to a service, we can exclude them from incentivised campaigns and as a result improve ROI. If we can forecast which customers are likely to churn, we can step in. If we identify propensity to purchase a specific class of item, we can step in and nudge in the right direction.
Marketing is not simply a series of isolated interactions. Done well, and it builds a real relationship between the brand and individuals as individuals. From the initial ‘getting to know you’ stage of onboarding, to deep interactions that reflect everything we know about the recipient and feel like a completely natural conversation. This is relationship marketing. It demands a willingness to view each customer as an individual and be aware of the lifecycle stage that customer is in.
Although it is necessary to understand the customer’s journey, it is also important not to impose our own understanding of that journey on the individual. A great relationship starts with listening.
The first five minutes are vital for any service provider. The numbers bear this out: 25% of mobile apps are opened once and never again. That’s a huge waste of development and acquisition spend, which is why onboarding is so important. What does great onboarding look like? It delivers a dynamic and personal experience ‘out of the box’, and it proactively answers the questions a typical new user has: what can this service do, how do I use it, and what features are included?
By doing so, it ensures these new users are set up to get the best possible value from the service, and as a result run a much lower risk of churning early in the lifecycle.
Modern marketing relies on user permissions. Without them, we cannot deliver location-based campaigns, we can’t share social updates, and we cannot send push notifications and other types of interaction. Although both mobile operating systems have default methods for requesting opt-ins and permissions, it is preferable where possible to customise the way in which these permissions are requested.
Use messages delivered in the app to explain why permissions improve the user experience, and deliver them at just the right time in order to maximise opt-in and thus your marketing effectiveness down the line.
Quite simply, the ability to retain users—either within an app (the narrow definition) or a broader service. Successful retention is a product of multiple factors. Of course it depends on the value a customer derives from a service, However, that value itself can be dictated by how successful the onboarding process was (see above).
Either way, great personalised interactions will improve retention rates. Retention can be seen as the flip-side of churn, with a focus on early life. Whilst in some industries retention is measured on the basis of a % of users still active on (for example) day 7, others will have bespoke definitions that work for their specific business.
A web app is an app-like experience delivered through HTML and frequently ‘wrapped’ in order to be accessed in the same way as a native app. Although web apps can be convenient for organization’s wishing to save time and money, all evidence suggests that consumers prefer the feel and performance of the native app.
Similar to APIs, webhooks are a set of tools built within a software to facilitate data between two apps. Unlike APIs, webhooks are not limited to a static, one-dimensional connection between those two apps. Webhooks are built to act as automated cells that capture information based on a set of predetermined triggers and events that happen within an app. That means there is a constant firing of interactions that power a webhook to seek and capture information from an external source.
Consider a webook built to capture data from a weather app. Let’s say our app’s platform manager has directed the webhook to capture weather app information whenever a customer enters a new location. That means that when a customer finally takes that vacation to Paris, they’re immediately eligible to receive new weather information based on their new surroundings via our webhook. So triggers and webhooks work hand in hand in this way, laying the foundation for more relevant and responsive app experiences in real time. See APIs.