Christoph Godderidge, VP Mobile
Lying awake in the wee hours of the morning, trying to comprehend what is happening around us, seems less unusual these days than it would normally.
Needless to say, my phone is my trusted companion during these times.
With all the updates I receive via email, the attention-seeking leaderboards on various sites, I was intrigued to understand how marketers make use of their mobile real estate - namely, how they leverage those highly coveted app installs and active users to inform us, their loyal users, around COVID-19.
About 100 apps later, the sobering realization is: very little.
This is particularly surprising given the current uptake in organic (≠ paid media) shipping app installs, as these examples from the first three weeks of March show according to data from Appsflyer:
- Italy - +30% organic (non-paid) installs
- UK - +21% organic installs
- USA - +10% organic installs
Read the full story here.
Here are 6 powerful yet simple ideas and strategies you can deploy to maximize the impact on the app canvas.
1. Position a value-add in the message and its purpose
Creating an executive summary of a statement from the World Heatlh Organization is likely not adding value to your users. Thinking about how COVID-19 impacts your customers' experience when interacting with your business can open up a number of new ideas.
For instance, highlighting the option of contactless delivery (leave at the door, waive the signature), or paying by phone or app instead of card or cash will both reassure customers and strongly contribute towards the actual improvement of the situation.
2. Images speak louder than words
More often than not I have found myself scrolling through screen after screen filled with just text. On the other hand, companies do a fantastic job of linking to their social media presence.
So why all the text?
Instead of telling us what your business is doing and how you are reacting, show it to us, your mobile users. Do an Instagram story of how you have improvised your fulfilment centre, your support staff having a virtual team huddle, and so on. Mobile is our most personal device, so encourage people to react, engage and, especially, to be emotionally connected.
3. Use the right messaging canvas
Push, in-app, text message, or email? If you are unsure, start by asking yourself if the message is going to be informative, a call to action, an urgent update, etc. Then use a simple urgency/simplicity matrix to decide. If your message is not urgent and simple enough, I encourage you to avoid push notifications. Ultimately, be honest with yourself and think how you feel receiving the particular message.
Alternatively, think how you can welcome back a user that opens your app after a period of inactivity. Hiding a small banner somewhere on the home screen or burying information in your FAQs will leave your user confused, potentially disappointed. If you have a position on COVID-19, state it clearly and make it relevant to the app user.
Think about the power of an in-app message that serves as welcome canvas upon app launch. Highlight the points you feel the strongest about as a business and provide a link to more extensive information for those who want it. Once interacted with, don’t show it again unless there is an important update.
4. Keep content in your app
Your users are smart. They are aware that times are tough for your business as well as everyone else’s. They also have certain expectations towards the experience they get when interacting with your brand in an app. Don’t disappoint them; their phone real estate is precious.
A key ingredient to a good experience is keeping users in your app. That means, unless absolutely necessary, don’t direct them somewhere outside of your app. If you have to direct users to digest the content elsewhere, inform them that the content will be opened elsewhere and make it easy for them to return with proper linking.
5. Think across your channels
Unless your app is your single and exclusive touch point with your users, consider the messaging structure across multiple channels. When using Tactics or Automation Center programs, think about the continuity of your message starting with an email, an SMS, push or in-app. Are they aligned? Is the message too repetitive in terms of content and presentation? Is it suitable for the respective canvas?
Remember, your users are smart. Flooding them with generic, unspecific information will likely result in an outcome opposite to that which you are trying to achieve. There is nothing wrong with telling your users you need to figure out the impact of COVID-19. Maybe some are even happy to help. Be sure to reward your audience’s contribution in some way.
6. Update your home screen frequently
What makes social media apps so sticky? It is their constantly evolving and updated content. Leverage this insight by updating your home screen content regularly to encourage users to check back regularly. How regularly, you may wonder. Simple: if you have an update you believe is worth sharing, share it. Please don’t set a quantitative target.
Keep it relevant and engaging by creating new categories or products to promote, or share now content pieces.
Be careful not to block it with longer notifications - you can use your app inbox for those.
The Coronavirus will dissipate. Until then, it will force us all the rethink our current activities. Arguably, we have the choice to make lasting changes and improvements to the status quo. The content urgency being imminent, the strategies may well become a part of our everyday communication toolbox. And why shouldn't they?
Be thoughtful, be honest and, most importantly, be human with what you tell people, where, why and how.
Stay healthy, stay safe!