We often assume in-app campaigns - typically messages shown as interstitials during the app experience - are primarily used to drive revenue events such as purchases, or indeed the installation of another app. But there are a myriad of alternative uses, all of which can help deepen the relationship between the user and the app: and drive engagement and business performance as a result.
One such example is using in-app campaigns to ensure users are both aware of all the features within an app and - perhaps more importantly - are using them correctly. Any regular reader of this blog already knows just how critical retention is for app performance, and how many users 'churn out' of the experience early on. A major contributor to that problem is clearly a failure to appreciate the value in the app or difficulties with ease-of-use. So using interactive, testable messages is a smart way to avoid those issues.
An example I spotted recently was the message below in Reddit, which is simply shown when the user has moved 'back' or 'forward' in the traditional (slightly clunkier) way. It's a smart way to respond to the specific behavior of a user who has not discovered this trick and as a result helps make their experience just that little bit easier. And as a message defined outside the app, exactly when it should be shown, and what exactly the content says, can be tested to perfection.
Similarly, messages can be used to reveal whole areas of aspects of the app not explored. For example, this message from ESPN invites the user to enhance their experience by getting involved in the social side of the app by getting advice from friends on their fantasy football strategy. Again, a message of this type can be shown solely to users who have been engaged for a certain time and NOT used this feature - and taking that approach has the secondary advantage of meaning we can slim down the initial tutorial and only remind users of these experiences when they do not find them organically.
Of course helping users to discover this feature demonstrates perfectly the benefits in terms of retention of ensuring users are using the 'whole app'. Social sharing delivers powerful network effects and acquisition benefits - a reminder that in-app messages and campaigns are about more than short term revenue.