May 11th, 2020
After a few months of social distancing, the world is no longer the same. The adoption of everything virtual, from food delivery, shopping, work, dating, birthdays, workouts, and in my case, even physical therapy, has accelerated to a place where it would have taken years and decades to get to otherwise. As a business owner — a good digital presence is becoming crucial to surviving, and a mobile app is key to that presence. In fact, our data shows significant app usage in many verticals, including some that are surprising like dating and eCommerce, and notable shifts in how apps are acquiring new users.
As I write this article, most of the strategies are really about how you can take users you acquire in different channels and convert them into the app. If you have a ton of web and app users, I don’t need to convince you that apps retain users better and convert better overall. Getting a user to download your app is like going steady with them — by giving you a dedicated space on their home screen, they are entering a committed relationship — and on average, app users convert at a double rate and are twice more likely to return to your brand than a web user.
So now that I’ve convinced you that the app is better (which most of you already knew), let’s go over three simple strategies for getting more users into the app. This article will cover some of the basic concepts while next week I will cover more advanced strategies for mobile growth.
In our new normal we look for ways to connect — sometimes it’s Zoom calls or Houseparty rooms, other times it’s sending someone a virtual gift card, or a link to a news article, or a pair of shoes that reminds me of them. In this physically disconnected world, we look for virtual connections, and if you haven’t invested in a good sharing or referral program, now is the time to do it. When we looked at referral data in the past, we found that a majority of apps who have sharing or referrals through Branch were seeing a big portion of their traffic come from these user to user referrals. Those percentages have increased over the past few months as people share more and marketers have cut paid budgets to conserve cash in case of an economic downturn.
What are some good practices for building your own sharing and referral program? Here’s what I’ve learned from analyzing hundreds of these over the years:
As we looked at all the different verticals and how they changed as social distancing became more prevalent, one thing stood out: Everything to do with social blew up, from video to games.
We are spending time at home and we are bored, so time spent on social networks has skyrocketed. What does that mean for your brand? This is the time to spend time and effort on your social media strategy — be interesting, be bold, and post often. Here are some learnings from what I’ve seen around:
While this is a tool that many of the bigger companies use, I am often surprised by how many brands don’t customize and personalize their banners. When we looked at our data, we saw that by personalizing and targeting your banner, you can increase the view-to-install ratio by 5X. That’s right: you can get on average 5X more click-to-installs from your web visitors.
While there are some advanced techniques here like optimizing your SEO and using banners to drive that traffic into the app, here are some basics for your banners:
Last but not least, email is a great way to get more users into your app. Unfortunately, even though the data is clear, many brands still send their users from email to their website, even though those emails are read on mobile. The reason? Detecting the platform and whether a user has the app is not always easy, and furthermore, most email solution providers break universal links on iOS when they wrap email links in a redirect in order to track links. Our deep linked email solution fixes this — it opens the app if users have it, and falls back on a website only if they don’t. This makes sure the user always gets to the right content and increases engagement. Better yet, we help you track conversions from email regardless if they happen on the web or in-app! In fact, our latest case study showed that just by implementing this practice, our customers boosted the overall engagement of their user by 11%. Some best practices when it comes to email:
While budgets are short during these times, these tactics can help you grow and build retention and engagement with your users even with a small marketing budget. And the best part about it? App users are more likely to stay with you through this period and beyond, and will help you continue to expand as businesses and social interactions start returning to normal.