What Marketers Need to Know About The Mobile App Experience


Share on LinkedIn

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 smart phones becoming our pocket gateway to the internet and the world. According to eMarketer, there will be almost 35 million mobile-only internet users by 2017. 

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 eMarketer by 2017 160 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 or create a better in-store experience or your app is your business, this post will walk you through what you need to know to make sure your app meets your customers’ needs, wants and expectations.


Challenges of mobile engagement

In what Google defined as the “I-want-to-know, I want-to-go, I-want-to-buy” moments of everyday life, consumers increasingly rely on their phones for instantaneous results. 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 confirmed the widespread challenges of mobile customer engagement. In the first quarter of 2016, 68 percent of e-commerce and retail app users had ceased using the app just one month after downloading it. 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 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 that, as of the first quarter of 2016, accounted for an impressive 21 percent of orders and $6 million in revenue. The coffee giant’s investment in mobile is largely seen as the primary reason for its all-time high revenue ($5.4 billion in the first three months of the year, The Motley Fool reported). 

“Technology innovation is further strengthening our brand, improving our efficiency and in-store execution, increasing our profitability and most importantly, enabling us to deliver an elevated Starbucks experience to our customers, particularly to millennials,” said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz during a first quarter earnings call.  

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 smartphone as a room key. So far, the emphasis on a mobile-enhanced customer experience has been nothing but stellar. Marriott’s mobile revenue rose 25 percent year over year in 2015, and the company projects another big leap this year. 


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 understand what visitors do inside your apps. 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. 

For example: Have you ever questioned why the number of active users is dropping? Or why your in-app sales have plateaued? To begin to truly understand, you have to get inside your visitors’ 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 web 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 achieved 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 have well the app is serving your overall app objectivies.

Slack is a great example of how the voice of your customers can transform the in-app experience with incredible ffinancial success. Slack has gone from nothing to a $US3.8 billion valuation in two 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. 

Image source: Unsplash

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Duff Anderson
Duff Anderson is a visionary in digital Voice of the Customer research with over 20 years' experience. As SVP and Co-founder at iPerceptions, Duff is responsible for providing expert advice to organizations on how to gain a competitive advantage across the digital customer lifecycle and become more customer-centric.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here