According to eMarketer, people are spending more time on smartphones primarily using mobile apps, which now account for more than 90% of internet time usage on smartphones. Further, Statista forecasts that by 2021, the total mobile app downloads over Google or Apple cloud will jump to a stunning 258 billion. Moreover, mobile apps are a big revenue driver: In 2020, they are projected to generate nearly $189 billion in revenue via app stores and in-app advertising. If you’re already using or plan to launch a mobile app to offer your services to customers 24/7, your growth potential is huge.
So why isn’t this a no-brainer for all companies?
Mobile app go-to-market challenges
As apps continue to proliferate, your new mobile app launch will be fighting for market share on the screens of your customers. Launching a quality app that gets noticed and used requires resources, most notably developer time and money. Crafting a strategic plan that promotes the perceived value of your app is then essential to spur user adoption.
Once you have launched your mobile app and customers have downloaded it, there’s still work to be done. Customers need to understand how to get the most from your app. Churn rates are high, especially in the first 30 days after download. If the user doesn’t see the value, or is not motivated or reminded to continue using the app, it will likely get ignored, or worse, uninstalled. Research by App Annie has shown that an average smartphone user has more than 80 apps on their phone but uses only about half of them each month.
So how can you ensure a successful mobile app launch?
Having a mobile app launch strategy is key. Here are three things to consider for your app launch campaign:
1. Clearly communicate the app’s value
When introducing your app, a key metric for success is the number of users you acquire. You may be tempted to think in terms of app downloads as a key performance indicator (KPI), but due to attrition rates, the number of active users is the metric that counts.
Let’s take the example of a banking app. To spur engagement, a potential user has to understand how the app will make his or her life easier. For example,
- Will he be able to use the app instead of his wallet?
- Will he have easy access to all regular banking services without needing to visit the bank branch?
- Will she be able to make international payments without additional costs?
Communicating that you have an app isn’t enough; you need to communicate the value the app provides in order to create active users.
2. Develop promotional materials that explain the app’s value
In this stage, promotions that explain the app’s value will help to grow its adoption rate.
To continue our banking example, here are some activities worth considering for your app launch campaign:
- Offline promotions
One of the first touchpoints is your bank’s branch offices. To introduce this new channel to customers, place a promotional message in the window of your branches or in the reception area where people are waiting to speak to a representative. Create flyers or postcards that users can take with them so they can learn more about the benefits and what they will gain from using the app.
Use your website and social media to announce your app, again, clearly communicating the benefits.
Video is a powerful tool that can help give customers an understanding of what your app can do, gain insight into the experience of using your app, and become interested in trying it out. Run the video on a loop as part of your in-branch promotions, and embed the link in your social media, website, and email communications.
App store visibility
Apple (for iPhone) and Google (for Android) app stores are another great vehicle to communicate with potential new users of your app. Make sure the language you use to describe your app is informative, discussing both its functionalities and benefits. Use plenty of screenshots to indicate how it works.
App landing page
In addition to your regular web site, you might want to also consider creating an app landing page as part of your mobile app launch marketing campaign. Simply put, this is an online destination for communicating your app’s benefits. Include whatever messaging you may have created for offline or online promotions, but also consider a demonstration video that takes them through the features of the app. Your mobile app launch plan should ensure every piece of messaging contains a link to this page.
In addition to attracting new users, app landing pages can also serve as a retention vehicle to keep users informed and engaged when it comes to app upgrades and new functionalities.
3. Educate and engage users through mobile app onboarding
Once you’ve acquired app downloads through your promotional strategy, then you need to educate users as to how they can get the most from the app and conduct activities that engage them in using it. Easy and clear mobile app onboarding is a must, and usually within the first 30 days of download.
In this stage you should consider using mobile app messaging, treating your mobile app as a direct communications channel to your customers – in this case, the ones who have downloaded your app! Mobile app messaging enables communications between enterprises and their mobile app users, using in-app messaging and push notifications.
Through in-app messaging, you can send targeted, behavior-based messages through a pop-up window or banner that helps users navigate and engage with your business – while they are in your app.
To get started, after a user has downloaded the app and registered their account, send them an in-app welcome message to get them excited about the value they will gain from the experience.
To keep users engaged, in-app messaging can also be used to introduce them to some of your services, offer a low-interest loan or give a rating on one of your services once they’ve used it.
Another way to communicate with customers directly through mobile app messaging is through push notifications. These can be especially effective as they are sent to users while they're not active in the app, appearing on their lock screen.
To get started, send an in-app message to iOS users after they register inviting them to opt-in to push notifications. (Android users are automatically opted-in, and must opt out of receiving push messages.) The essence of push notifications is to “push out” important information from your side, while spurring engagement on the customer side.
Combined with in-app messaging, your mobile app user gets information that’s relevant to them and, after experiencing the value your app is providing, becomes an active and loyal user.
Here are some examples of how to use push notifications in the engagement process for our banking example:
- Remind users to go back into the app and check out any features they may not have tried
- Inform users about new account balance status after transactions have been completed
- Alert users as to any potentially suspicious activity
- Provide notice of version upgrades so that they can have the best possible experience and enjoy new features
- Inform about maintenance activities to the site, leading to temporary downtimes customers should know about
Mobile app messaging that combines push notifications and in-app messaging can help ensure a successful mobile app launch, while providing you with a comprehensive and efficient solution for communicating with customers during every step of their journey.