January 28th, 2016
Mobile developers are at the heart of everything we do at Branch. From the ease-of-use of our SDK, to the global mobile growth community that we’ve built around the world, our job for the last year and a half has been to help mobile developers turn their app ideas into viable businesses.
Because of this goal and the community we’ve built, we’ve had the opportunity to interact with some of the most prominent figures in mobile and hear their stories of trial, tribulation, and in many cases, success. Each story we hear turns into a lesson on best practices, mistakes to avoid, or growth opportunities you may overlook. Below we’ll share two of the most interesting mobile marketing lessons we’ve heard so far in 2016.
It’s well know that users are the best source of feedback for your app. They are the true UX experts. However, without an accepted best practice for eliciting user feedback, we often see marketers use feedback techniques that leave their users disrupted and unhappy.
In our recent Mobile Growth Meetup in San Francisco, Dina Chaiffetz, Director of Product Strategy at Prolific Interactive, described in detail some of the ways she’s seen the best mobile teams get feedback from their users. To her, the core technique is to not disrupt the person when they’re doing what they came into your app to do. Start with the analytics and do a deep dive to learn the behavior patterns of the users in your app. Find out when they are most engaged or when they are likely to leave and look for something else to do. The latter is when you can be tactful and smart with the timing, and placement, of your ask. Chaiffetz suggests embedding the request in the newsfeed or a list page where it’s less disruptive. To users, it’s obvious you’re hunting for ratings when you prompt them for a rating in the app store. Instead, try to structure the feedback in a way that will be beneficial for you. Finally, she suggests not to be selfish. Make sure to ask how you can make the experience better for them.
Marissa Chacko, Product Manager at Foursquare, had an interesting experience which demonstrated that user feedback may be more effective, and easier, than trying to use data to make every product decision. Foursquare’s dream was to use past user behavior to predict which type of food customers wanted to know about. For instance, if a user had pizza four times in the last month, Foursquare figured they’d want to know when a new pizza place is close, and send them a push notification. However, since they were basing their conclusions on a limited set of data and a small subset of users, they found that simply asking users “what do you like?” worked just as well. In fact, users were just as surprised by the fact that Foursquare could “predict” their tastes, even after the user explicitly answered that question.
One of the aspects of your app that can have a surprising impact on users is the voice and messaging you use. This is something that can be thoroughly A/B tested (we recommend trying mParticle or Apptimize) in order to narrow down on the copy that works best for your app goals. The reason we suggest A/B testing is that you’ll likely find that changing the voice will have some unexpected results.
For example, when Dina Chaiffetz was tasked with designing the push notifications for Lilly Pultizer, a high-end fashion app, she started by using the type of language that was found all over their site. The assumption was that app users would be intrigued by the same brand messaging that they were accustomed to. This included long, elegant sentences that thoroughly described the items they were featuring. However, in order to test this hypothesis, they also created a set of push notifications that we’re extremely short, vague, and contained a lot of emojis. Surprisingly, the emoji containing push notifications were the most engaging. In hindsight, this made sense. Since most of the Lilly Pultizer users were college-aged women, the calls to action worked better when sounding more like conversations they’d have with friends.
If you’re new to A/B testing, there are a number of important tips that mobile marketers suggest to improve your experience and results. Julia Lipton, Head of Growth at Rise, runs A/B tests on web landing pages before trying them on mobile. The reason — they are much faster and easier to create. Before taking a test to mobile, Lipton’s team will test a hypothesis on a landing page and measure the impact on the conversion funnel. But she doesn’t always test small changes like color and messaging. She found that by radically changing items, such as the position of features on the page, they were able to make huge jumps in conversion almost every time they tested. With this technique, they ran experiments that could sometimes double conversion. With the tests easily completed on web, they could implement the best techniques into the mobile app and measure their new success.
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