A Short History Of Apps - aka ‘Why You Need Swrve’
Swrve was built, from the beginning, to solve what is by now an urgent requirement for many businesses - the need to engage consumers on mobile. Our first in-app message was sent in 2012 and our real-time segmentation engine was built in 2010. We delivered our first dynamic content edits and A/B tested the same some time in 2011.
Why does that matter? Well, when looking for a mobile engagement platform, it can be tricky to sort through the ambiguous language, lack of clear differentiation, and all the claim and counterclaim out there. And sometimes, the smartest way to make a choice is to look at a little history. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin….
The Dawning Of The App Age
The App Store launched in July 2008. The moment that iOS was proven to be a lucrative platform for app developers, the need for general analytics to inform app design led to a host of third party solutions to meet the challenge. No longer could apps be developed solely on a creative vision, analytics helped developers understand what was working and not working out there in the field.
App design continues to evolve to meet the requirements of the attention economy, and analytics remain a key part of meeting that challenge. But the age of ‘just analytics’ did not last long.
The Gold Rush
Building a great app is, of course, just part one of the mobile puzzle. You also need to bring your users to the front door - and thus the race to build a great ad network, or aggregator of ad networks, began. Way back then, the Apple ‘black box’ created an initial break in tracking - early ad networks could only track the click. It took a bit longer to track an ad to install, and then a little bit longer again to understand if that install had any value (i.e. led to engagement or purchase inside the app).
Incentivized installs, though low in direct value, were used as a popular tactic to drive organic downloads by increasing visibility in the charts with a ‘burst campaign’. A quick bump in installs is still a paid acquisition strategy today, but not as easy or cost effective as it used to be.
Push Comes To Shove
To this point, little consideration was given to what happened after the install. But that changed when app publishers discovered just how little their acquisition spend was getting them.
What came next was the need for re-engagement and specifically push notification solutions. But bringing users back into the app, in most cases, failed to do more than get the user to open the app one more time. Without messaging and optimized content inside the app to drive further action, engagement and monetization remained an issue.
Adding Mobile Engagement To The Mix
While both app design and user acquisition are still evolving today, it’s mobile engagement marketing (a field that includes push notifications) that app publishers are really focused on today. Maximizing engagement and monetization inside the app, or across multiple channels with the app as a leading touch point, is where the value of mobile is finally being realized.
That means, essentially, making a coordinated effort to build relationships with the consumer on mobile - which today is clearly the channel of choice for most consumers. Email still has its uses, but with a cluttered “promotions” folder that can be ignored, reaching consumers via a mobile experience can greatly increase the likelihood of developing the relationship (and turning it into profit).
That action can take many forms. It can involve optimized mobile experiences complementing in-store visits. It can be mobile campaigns delivered in the app that advises users around potential future purchases, or features to try out. It could involve push notifications linked to in-app offers on subscriptions, upgrades or just better experiences. And it can involve a whole range of mobile interactivity designed to enhance real world experiences - think travel assistants for example. One thing all those concepts have in common, however, is the need for a comprehensive, integrated marketing platform built from the ground up.
Swrve was built for mobile engagement and we have been fine-tuning our product over the last five years. Many of our competitors in the space were originally built for the early stages of the journey - analytics or user acquisition - and then added on an engagement piece later. That’s fine, but in actuality it’s difficult to change existing technology to adapt to a different purpose.
When a technology pivots to solve a problem it was not originally intended to solve, the legacy technology will always have some peculiarities that are not obvious on the surface but painful in actual usage. To give a practical example, an analytics solution that was built to inform app design only needs to get a sense of what is happening now, and thus might implement a thirty day window on most key metrics.
Engagement campaigns, on the other hand, need to know all data over a user’s lifecycle. Thirty days of data isn’t enough to recognize a pattern of a user who goes in the app three times a year to search for holiday flights. It’s impossible to accurately message a user based on their cumulative behavior with this type of technological limitation - a limitation that is likely not easy to fix.
The disruption of mobile has been perpetual over the last seven years, and for businesses to succeed right now, having the best partner for engaging mobile users means selecting one that was specifically designed to meet that need. Swrve processes data in real-time, can send messaging campaigns instantaneously based on that data, and builds user profiles across platforms over the life of a consumer. Today’s marketers need to design communications for consumers based on context and relevancy - and Swrve was built to do just that.
Contact us today to find out more about Swrve and why we are the best partner to help you achieve mobile success: firstname.lastname@example.org
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