In many ways, the stakes have never been higher for marketers. Consumers demand an immediate and frictionless experience which, in part, has been driven by the prevalence of mobile phones. The mobile phone has transformed our world. We are now connected like never before with smartphones becoming our pocket gateway to the internet and the world.
According to a new report from We Are Social and Hootsuite, Digital in 2017 Global Overview, there are 4.9 billion unique mobile users worldwide.
The way consumers use their mobiles has also shifted dramatically over the last few years with Flurry Mobile reporting that 90 percent of time on mobile is spent in apps. Apps have revolutionized the mobile experience with consumers happily downloading and using apps to track their sleep patterns, manage their fitness progress and privately chatting with friends and family.
But simply having a mobile app won’t cut it, especially with so many of them available. According to Statista, by 2020, over 350 billion app downloads will occur worldwide.
For brands, the app market offers a tantalizing opportunity to connect with customers in an intimate way. But whether you are looking to create an app to complement your content marketing strategy, create a better in-store experience, or if your app is your business, this post walks you through what you need to know to make sure your app meets your users’ needs, wants and expectations.
Challenges of mobile engagement
In what Google defines as the "I-want-to-know, I want-to-go, I-want-to-buy" moments, there are many moments in our everyday lives that are driven by us taking out our cell phones and expecting instant results. As a result, brands have to be there when consumers arrive, ready to provide actionable, relevant and seamless app experiences. But that’s easier said than done.
Mobile app marketers know the importance of engagement and retention. Retaining users can be especially challenging. Fewer than 1 in 4 mobile app users return to an app after they first use it, according to data from Appboy. Two weeks after downloading an app, just 9 percent of users were still returning to it. By day 60, retention fell to 5 percent.
Research from Localytics confirms the widespread challenges of mobile customer engagement, finding that 80 percent of all app users churn within 90 days! A number of factors, including the variety of app choices and poor engagement efforts, are responsible for the decline. The key for marketers looking to overcome low engagement and retention is to provide a seamless customer experience.
Importance of the mobile app experience
Many companies have already found great success putting the experience first when it comes to creating their app strategy. A couple of examples include Starbucks, who launched an "order ahead" feature within its payment-enabled mobile app. According to the company, Starbucks offers the largest mobile ecosystem of any retailer in the world, with 8 million mobile paying customers. That’s 1 in 3 customers using Mobile Order & Pay!
Starbucks is also taking the mobile app experience one step further with an innovative conversational ordering system, My Starbucks Barista, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Starbucks Mobile App customers will now be able to place their orders via voice command or messaging interface.
Starbucks is hardly the only company investing in mobile channels with great success. The Wall Street Journal reported that Marriott International Inc. has a host of new tech-driven features coming to its hotels, including the ability to skip front desk check-in using the hotel chain's mobile app and the convenience of using a mobile as a room key. So far, Marriott's emphasis on a mobile-enhanced customer experience has been nothing but stellar with their mobile revenue rising 25 percent.
Web analytics tell only part of the story
The app experience is essential to an app’s success, but how do you measure and improve the experience? Most marketers turn to mobile app analytics to provide the inside track on how to take the app experience to the next level.
The power of web analytics data is monumental in understanding what visitors do. But for all you can squeeze out of web analytics questions like "What’s your percentage of active users" or "When are they downloading your app?", the "Why" remains unanswered.
Do you know the reason why the number of active users are dropping? Or why your in-app sales have plateaued?
To begin to truly understand, you have to get inside your users' heads and collect customer feedback. Only then can you paint a fuller picture of the mobile app experience.
After all, you wouldn't invest in a company with only a portion of its financial information, would you? Nor should you take the same risks when investing in your mobile app by relying solely on app analytics data to understand the in-app customer experience.
Knowing your customers' voice is key
Voice of the Customer (VoC) analytics is critical to understanding what customers think about your mobile app. VoC provides essential information that can be obtained only by reaching out directly to mobile users for their feedback.
By asking a small portion of users to leave their opinions on the app experience, marketers can collect a representative sample of users' intent, needs and wants to help better understand strengths and weaknesses from a customer's perspective. This helps better understand what customer think of your app experience and how well the app is serving your overall app objectives.
Slack is a great example of how the voice of your customers can transform the in-app experience with incredible financial success. The company has gone from a small startup to a possible $US9 billion valuation in four years.
Slack’s Chief Marketing Officer, Bill Macaitis spoke with Business Insider about this rapid growth and attributed it to providing a great user experience that was driven by the voice of their customers. According to Bill Macaitis, “The voice of the customer has never been more powerful.”
Only by combining customer feedback with app analytics can you truly understand the in-app experience. Only then can you drive retention, engagement and conversion.
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