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How to choose the right messaging channel for your app

Posted by Ben Dickson on Sep 27, 2016 12:00:00 PM
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Sending messages to your users is essential if you want to let them know the newest features and products you offer. But there’s more to it than simply using push messages on mobile devices. There are plenty of options at your disposal, including push notifications, in-app messaging, email, and newsfeeds. With smartphones considered to be very personal devices, it’s very easy to make a wrong turn and frustrate your users.

So how do you choose the right channel for your mobile app?

In this post, I’ll present a few examples that will help you make the right choice for your app. This is far from a perfect science, and a lot will depend on your app’s function and audience. It’s always a good idea to test first, and tailor the advice given below to your own app.

limited period discount offer: Push

Let’s say you want to inform your users of a limited-time discount offer. Push notifications are the best medium for instant messaging since they can reach users even when your app isn’t open in their device.

To really make your message stand out, you can personalize it by adding information such as the user’s name. If you have an analytics solution in place, you’ll want to target relevant users only; sending messages to users who aren’t interested in your offer will likely have a negative effect. Also, make sure the timing of your push messages are convenient; It’s not a great idea to wake up a user at 3AM to inform them about a 25% discount on shoes.

Newsfeeds can be used as an alternative to push notifications. Newsfeed updates are especially effective for users that are scrolling through a feed, reminding them that they only have a limited time to take advantage of an offer. Newsfeeds are also useful for reaching out to users who have opted not to receive push notifications and work well alongside push notifications.


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new feature rollout: email

Imagine you’ve added cool new feature to your app that you want to inform your users about. Generally, email would be the best channel to deliver such information. Emails will enable you to reach out to users who haven’t been active in your app in the past few months, or those who have signed up for updates on your app’s website but haven’t yet decided to install your app. Emails also allow you to send much more detailed messages than simple push notifications.

A strong alternative would be to use in-app messages. In-app messages for new features have a relatively high conversion rate since they’ll be seen by users who are already actively using your app. In-app messages also offer the opportunity to test your message by first sending it to a specific segment of your users, then fine-tuning the message based on clickthrough and conversion rates.

Using analytics tools to time your message to perfection can be very helpful and increase the likelihood that users will open them.

rating request: in-app message

High app ratings and positive reviews will drive organic traffic to your app and improve your acquisition rates. But how do you encourage users to boost your reputation through 5-star ratings? I’d go for in-app messages because they’re integrated in your app’s interface, and give you full control to capture the moment in which the user is most likely to give you a positive review. For instance, when a user makes a purchase, completes a game level, or shows loyalty in any other way, you can encourage them to input a review which (more often than not) will be a positive one. An in-app message, enabling the user to be redirected to the app review page, will serve you well.

A word of caution: always include an option for users to privately relay any complaints, otherwise they’ll take to public channels such as forums to express their negative views.

Newsfeeds can also be effective in getting positive reviews; you can make sure that when users are scrolling through the newsfeed, they’ll be prompted to leave a positive review. Don’t put the message at the top of the feed. Instead, push it a little further down, where it will be seen by users who are more actively engaged with your app and are more likely to have a favorable opinion.

over to you

There are a range of options for reaching out to your users and engaging them in new activity related to your app, and there are many factors that will determine which is the best channel. I hope some of the examples mentioned here will help give you a general feel about how to choose wisely for your app.

Here are a few key things to remember:

  • Messaging channels complement each other: Using different channels will make sure users who miss one version of the message will see another one.
  • Choose your channel based on urgency: Make sure you consider how much time users have to act upon your message and choose your channel based on the timeframe.
  • Personalize: Don’t blindly push every message to every user. Try to leverage your analytics tools to select specific segments for each of your messages and target users who are more likely to be interested.

Have you been successful with app messaging? Please share your experience with us in the comments section.

 

Topics: App promotion

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