In-app campaigns are a great way to serve timely, relevant content to your users - and thus encourage them towards the actions and behaviors that contribute to your success as a business.

But use them incorrectly and you’ll have your app users heading for the exit door faster than y ou can say ‘spam’. This article provides some ideas for optimizing your in-app campaigns, focusing on general design guidelines, message creation, and advice on targeting and message triggers.

Three Golden Rules

First up it may be worth reminding ourselves of the basics - the things that we should be keeping front of mind in order to deliver in-app campaigns that really work. With that in mind, always remember these three ‘golden rules’ in any campaign:

  1. Avoid over-exposing users to too many messages within a short timeframe.
  2. Segment and target specific users as effectively as possible.
  3. Design messaging campaigns that are ‘short but frequent’. Short, frequent campaigns are more effective than longer static campaigns as they enable you to make creative adjustments and to be more responsive to changing data and results.

And with that said - let’s look in turn at more detail on the individual aspects of campaign creation - and how to make them work most effectively for you.

Message Creation

The structure and layout of the message itself is all important. It can make or break a campaign, so be sure to follow the following guidelines to put yourself in the former category:

  • Use one clear call to action per message, and avoid using a single message to encourage the user to perform multiple actions. Make the call to action the focus of the message - center it within the message so there is no ambiguity.
  • Design clear buttons and calls to action, ensuring that your button and text stand out from the background.
  • Use imagery that communicates what you are trying to get the user to do. For example, if you want the user to click on a promotion, show the product in the cart and use strikethrough pricing or ‘sale burst’ imagery.
  • Make the look and feel of the message as similar to your app content as your budget allows - whilst ensuring it is recognizable as a special message.
  • Localize your messages for each of your important regions. By localizing messages, you can improve click-through by as much as 150%. Remember, different cultures and audiences respond to differing visual prompts in different ways.

Message Artwork

Swrve enables you to upload a single image which is then resized for all devices relevant to the platform in question. By using a ‘safe zone’ to enable you to optimize your uploaded image across the full spectrum of platform devices.

The safe zone is the portion of the uploaded image that is always displayed (regardless of the device) and is not affected by cropping - so design your images so that no text, buttons or calls to action are included in the area between the safe zone and the resolution of the uploaded image. Swrve enables you to preview your image and the associated safe zone so that you can check your content and ensure that no important material is at risk of being cropped.

Message Targeting

Effective marketing is targeted marketing. That’s true in any field, and mobile is no exception In fact, mobile marketing is particularly invasive. That makes is powerful, but it also makes it easy to alienate your users. With that in mind, make sure to follow these general guidelines for targeting in-app messages:

  • Be conservative when considering the percentage of overall users to reach. Avoid over-messaging users, especially new users of your product. Use the frequency control and configure trigger set-up carefully to prevent over-messaging.
  • Take advantage of the segmentation options that Swrve offers:
    • Target specific messages at high payers, but target those high payers much less frequently than non-payers.
    • Target sales or promotions at non-payers; for example, promote an 80%-off sale to non-payers to motivate them to make their first purchase. It’s key to get users over that first conversion hurdle
    • Target messages at users who have not yet used a particular feature of your app (promoting that feature!)
    • Target message at a particular user types; for example, users who have upgraded and users who have installed your app for free.
  • Target cross-promotional messages at users who don’t already own the app.

Event Triggers

When a message is shown is crucial. Show the right message, to the right person, at the wrong time - and all your hard work is in vain. Important here is the concept of ‘triggers’ - the specific event that, when ‘triggered’ by the user, prompts a given message to appear.

Using these triggers can help easily define when a message is seen and ensure that campaigns appear when of most relevance to the user. Here’s a few examples of that logic:

  • Session Start - this is the first (and best) opportunity to inform users of changes, updates and special sales. Use this opportunity for broad updates and important news.
  • App Exit - when the user exits the app can be an ideal opportunity to introduce new (to date unseen) items to the user.
  • Achievement Failed - when the user fails in a task can be the perfect opportunity to deliver campaigns relating to any in-app purchases or features that can help the same situation occurring again.
  • Enter Store - when the user enters the store, deliver an interstitial message focused on a new item or upcoming items/offers. This keeps users aware of the fluid, live aspect of the app.
  • Exit Store (No Purchase) - when the user exits the store without making a purchase is the perfect time to deliver a message to introduce a sale item to convert them.
  • Tutorial_completed - when the user has completed a tutorial, ask user for a review of your app on the app store. This assists user acquisition and promotes your public image in the app store. Do this before delivering in-app purchase messages.