Engagement through in-app push notifications is a key driver of app retention

In today’s mobile-centric world there is an app for almost if not everything. With 1.2 million applications in Apple Inc.’s App Store and more than 1 million Android apps on Google Play, we’ve become app-saturated. And an alarming fact is that apps rarely stick. According to Gartner Inc. research, 95 percent of apps are abandoned after just one month. However consumer preference is strongly in favour of apps (85 %) over a mobile site. The most common reasons for this is that apps are seen to be more convenient (55%), faster (48%) and easier to browse (40%).  Gartner predicts that by 2017, applications will generate revenue of more than $77 billion per year — bringing in a hefty revenue stream for successful app creators.

With the growing number of smartphone users and since the launch of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the Apple iOS 8 release in the fall the cost for marketers to acquire loyal users has reached an all time high at $2.25, which is an increase of 21 %. A loyal user is defined as a user who opens an app three times or more.

Organizations typically invest between $15,000 and $20,000 to develop an app, and with high abandonment rates, from an ROI perspective that can be really scary. Although the cost for marketers to acquire new users is rising, in order to make the investment worthwhile in the first place engaging your users is key. As the mobile space matures there is an increasing focus on user engagement, retention and personalization. An effective way of driving loyalty and retention and ROI in your app is through in-App push notifications.

Engagement and In-App Push Notifications

App users who opt-in to receive push notifications show significantly higher engagement and retention. Through the segmentation of push notifications, users receive content that is likely to appeal to them based on their behaviour and preferences and in turn encouraging them to re-engage with the app in question. Engaging your users through in-app push notifications can help to retain loyal users and to increase ROI. As mobile apps become more sophisticated and rich, there is an increased focus on in-app messages as a way to drive repeat usage. In-app messages support more feature-rich content, like images, links and longer copy.

Starbucks has mastered in-app messaging to send out coupons and offers in addition to recommending apps and iTunes downloads.

in-app-purchase-starbucks                Starbucks uses in-app messaging to tie in with free song downloads

Also it is worth noting that the trend in larger smartphone displays is giving rise to better app engagement and this will lead to more in-app purchases. If you are eager in not only engaging your users but driving user retention and app loyalty, ourselves here at Xtremepush would love to hear from you.

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Why a Mobile Marketing Strategy is essential this Christmas

merry-mobile-christmasThe days of shopping for Christmas presents on the desktop computer are disappearing and there has been a surge in mobile activity during the Christmas season. In December 2013 Mobile traffic accounted for 48 % of all online traffic, with a notable growth in Mobile sales accounting for 29 % of all online sales, up 40 % over 2012. Increasingly more and more consumers are now shopping on their mobile devices and turning to mobile to buy gifts.

Last December Smartphones drove 28.5% of all online traffic compared to tablets at 18.1%, making it the browsing device of choice. And when it came to making the sale, tablets assorted 19.4% of all online sales, more than twice that of smartphones, which accounted for 9.3%. Whilst 25 % of shoppers said they had a preference for shopping in-store  and 10 % of all shoppers plan to use their mobile devices to check retailer’s products or prices or read reviews, while they are already shopping

The multiple mobile devices being used by the consumer during the Christmas shopping journey means a multichannel shopping approach is advised for your mobile marketing strategy this Christmas season; For instance your customer orders online and then proceeds to click and collect in-store.

Below are some reasons why a mobile marketing strategy is essential this Christmas season:

Reach Extreme Last Minute Shoppers
Holiday gifting procrastinators
We have all been there, it’s 3.30 on Christmas Eve and you have yet to buy those Christmas gifts for loved ones, with the shopping shelves empty, and the wrapping paper scarce, you can’t help but panic. However with Mobile thrown into the equation panic mode can be sedated; and the rush to complete those purchases can somehow be more organised. Last-minute shopping is likely to be easier than ever; a later cut-off period for Christmas delivery together with click-and-collect options mean it’s easier for these last-minute shoppers to buy their presents online, 11% of shoppers in 2013 planned to leave their Christmas shopping until the last week. In the meantime, mobile-enabled consumers can compare prices, find nearby stores and with some retailers they can reserve stock while they are already shopping.  Retailers need to cater to these mobile-enabled shoppers by rolling out options on their mobile website and/or mobile app to check stock availability and reserve products in nearby stores.

Build Wish Lists and Shopping Lists
Their making a list and checking it twice…
As a retailer through usage behavioral segmentation in your mobile app you can become more responsive and coming up to the Christmas shopping frenzy you can encourage users of your app to tag favorite products or build wish lists and shopping lists within your app. And based on these wish lists created by the user, coupons that relate back to your users wish lists can be digitally delivered to their mobile phones, and similarly through coupons to digital wallets mobile coupons can be updated in real time. And its Christmas Eve, the shelves are empty and they have not gotten around to ticking everybody off their list. Well now with digital wallet capabilities you can conveniently send gift cards directly to a loved one’s smartphone.

Also for the last minute shoppers who may have a wish list but may be waiting until the middle of December to buy presents in online “Christmas sales” per say or for the shoppers who may be waiting for stock to be made available again, a particular size or color etc. As a retailer this is an opportunity to encourage users to download your app and build a wish list of items they possibly intent to purchase before Christmas day.

Through behavioral segmentation users who have created a “wish list” would then be able to receive an alert through a push notification if any of the items were to go on sale and or become available again.

Dedicate a Line For In-Store Pick Ups
Because the likelihood of having a clear path to purchase is as likely as Santa Claus traveling faster than light…
And lastly it is no secret that Consumers come out in their droves during the Christmas season and the likelihood of having a clear path to purchase is as likely as Santa Claus traveling faster than light. Most of the time Christmas queues are unavoidable, with one quarter of shoppers having a preference to visit stores rather than buying online. On the other hand for consumers who decide to pre-order their Christmas gifts through Click and Collect you can help your customers to avoid the queues by having a dedicated line for in-store pick ups. iBeacon technology can also be deployed in a store  to trigger alerts through push notifications to consumers when they arrive in store to direct them to their collection points.

The rapid increase in mobile shopping promises to be one of the defining characteristics of this Christmas for retailers, along with further growth of click-and-collect. Along with consumer confidence on the up, a strong retail trend is expected to continue this Christmas season. And what better way to embrace these trends than to carry out a mobile marketing strategy of your own and allow your brand to shine.

If you would like to hear more about how XtremePush can help you to reach your extreme Last Minute shoppers and much more – we would love to hear from you.

Afterall – tis the Season to have a Merry Mobile Christmas!!!

5 Industries iBeacon has taken off in

fly_the_aircraftiBeacon is an indoor proximity system that allows your mobile device to understand its position even indoors. iBeacon enables an app to trigger push notifications when in close proximity to an iBeacon. Although retail was one of the very first industries to utilize iBeacon, the airline industry is another area where iBeacon is, along with events, hospitality, banking and mobile all of which can be seen below:

1. Airlines
iBeacons have the capacity to provide multiple solutions to passengers in airports and can provide a boost to their overall journey experience. Using iBeacon airlines can easily provide passengers with indoor directions, walk times to gates, lounge access and inform passengers in real-time of boarding updates. Very often passengers arrive into airports that are of unfamiliar territory and quite often it can be an overwhelming experience. Particularly if you were to arrive into Dallas Forthworth Airport with research revealing that 65% of passengers arrived at the gate early because they are often nervous about whether they are at the right gate. Following on from this research iBeacons were deployed at the Dallas Forthworth Airport where American Airlines app users could automatically receive information and directions to their gate via their iPhone or iPad when they were at the terminal.

2. Events
Mobile event apps using iBeacons have the capability of enhancing features like contact exchange, exhibitor information, maps, line-up information, sponsorship, advertising and promotions, seat upgrades, in-game prizes, scavenger hunts and geo fencing. Networking events such as the Cannes Lions Festival has used iBeacon for networking. The company used iBeacon to allow attendees to network with an “Around Me” feature in the event’s app that display nearby attendees. The feature was integrated with LinkedIn profiles allowing attendees to send messages and connect instantly if they’ve opted in. GenieConnect an event app introduced a new iBeacon-enabled audience response solution for the convention and corporate events industry. The solution utilizes the proximity awareness of iBeacons to ‘push’ session content to attendees and, if desired, locks their handset screen during the session to minimize distractions.

Similarly iBeacons are being embraced at sports events. Here at XtremePush we teamed up with Leinster Rugby and deployed iBeacons during the recent RaboDirect Pro 12 semi-final at the RDS stadium. Mobile-minded supporters received push notifications through the Leinster Rugby App, triggered by specially placed iBeacons, when they entered certain areas of the stadium. The push notifications directed the fans to collect special prizes from Leinster’s Blue Crew within the RDS.

3. Hospitality
iBeacons used in hotels can allow a hotel to enhance and deliver a greater overall customer service experience. iBeacons can look after those hotel formalities that you would rather not have to think about, freeing up time for guests to enjoy themselves. In the case of formalities such as check-in, your reservation number is automatically opened up in passbook and upon entrance of the hotel you are then provided with an electric room key. Beacons can help you to solve the potential maze you will have to solve when you are trying to find your room. The James Hotels based in the United States, released an app called the James Pocket Assistant with iBeacon integration. The app promises to give hotel guests a concierge like experience, providing location-based suggestions for dinner, shopping, and activities.

4. Banking
iBeacon offers exciting opportunities for banks. iBeacon can target customers as they walk past or enter a branch. These opportunities include welcome communications, customer recognition, availability and wait times, personalized product offers, surveying and branch analytics. St. George bank branch in Australia was the first ever deployment of ibeacons in the banking industry. When a customer walks into the bank, the iBeacon senses the person’s entrance and sends a welcome message and personalised information directly to the iPhone or iPad. The bank hopes the service could help to reduce queue times. The bank has said that their investment in iBeacon has the ability to anticipate customer’s needs, understand what matters to them and act on that knowledge to surprise and delight them.

5. Mobile Payments
iBeacon and mobile payments is the latest industry to embrace this technology. Hailo has a new ‘Pay with Hailo’ service that is fully equipped to use iBeacon technology. This feature uses iBeacon which can automatically recognize taxis with the option to connect and pay for a journey automatically as soon as you step foot inside a vehicle. And in the the new year PayPal will be deploying PayPal Beacon to connect to a customer’s PayPal app when they enter a store. With one vibration or sound on your phone, you’ll know you’re checked in and when you’re ready to make a purchase, all you have to do is say you’re paying with PayPal and the transaction is automatically completed: no cash, cards, taps, or signatures required – all hands free.

The Power of Mobile App Push Notifications

Marketing today is all about capturing the consumer at the right time and in the right context. One way to achieve this is through push notifications on mobile devices. A push notification is the most direct way to engage with your app users. What’s more, of those who download a brand’s mobile app, 68% opt-in to receiving push notifications from that app. With push notifications you can keep users informed with timely and relevant content, whether you app is running in the background or inactive. Notifications can display a message, play a distinctive sound, or update a badge on your app icon.

McDonalds-push-notification So why are push notifications so powerful?

Well for a start the consumer is mobile. The global smartphone audience has surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012. Push notifications provide a direct-to-pocket channel and are within arms-reach of the consumer. Although this may seem like a passport to reaching your consumer it is important to capture their attention also. Similar to email, push notifications consider the user before delivering push. Messaging can therefore become more relevant by including previous location information, in app behaviors, stated preferences and purchase history. For instance, you’re walking past Starbucks at 8.00 am on a Monday morning and you’re a long time loyal customer at this location, chances are you would love a coupon for a Tall Latte. Push notifications when used sparingly and correctly can be good for your brand and can allow you to connect with your mobile audience in a helpful but influential way.

1) Push can drive unplanned purchases

Push not only promises to build customer loyalty, but it can also motivate impulse or unplanned spending. In a study on shopping behavior it was found that shopping apps are considered most useful and more likely to impact shopping behavior. Email and online product reviews were also included; the common denominator being their ability to influence the consumers shopping behavior and satisfy their shopper needs.

2) Push can influence the consumer on their journey

Push can be part of a holistic customer journey, for instance giving customers the information that they need from various devices from their smartphone when they are on the move (researching a product) to their tablet when they are at home (getting out their credit cards to make a payment). Whilst push notifications are concentrated on mobile phones and tablets they are quickly expanding to reach all kinds of new internet devices. In fact, the world will have more connected devices than people – 75 billion devices connected to the “Internet of things” by 2020.

3) Push can drive customer retention

Push can promise to help with customer retention. For most app marketers minimizing churn is a major pain point. Retention for push-enabled users is significantly higher than for those who disable push notifications with a nearly 3 times higher retention rate compared to those who disable push. To keep users coming back into the app months down the road, it becomes extremely important to send timely, actionable push notifications. Even just one month after first downloading the app, the difference in retention is staggering. The cost to acquire an app user is $1.79 which is based on a quality user, defined as a user that will open the app at least three times. If you are willing to invest such an amount in capturing your user in the first place, with the cost per acquisition potentially lower then your lifetime value, you should be willing to invest more into retaining the user.

Top Ten Irish Apps in 2014

top-irish-appsIrish Apps have come a long way. Four years ago the top ten favourite Irish Apps as announced by joe.ie in 2011, included a Carlow Weather App. According to the reviews of the App “We’ve never seen a weather app with such a distinctive focus on one particular area, especially Carlow.”

The TV3 App came in at number seven in 2011, sadly it is no longer in the top ten. The App came with a price tag and to no surprise it changed it’s pricing to free in order to adapt to App market expectations. At the time there was little belief that RTE would develop the RTE player app, however, an RTE player app was in fact introduced and has gained momentum coming in at number 6 below in the Top Ten Irish Apps, along with RTE news now at number five.

Interestingly the Journal.ie which was also a free App came in at number three. Four years later the App ranks as number two in the list. The Journal was referred to as the best Irish news App and was patted on the back for being absolutely free to the consumer. It is nice to see it has grown in popularity.

Below are the Top Ten Irish Apps in 2014:

1. DoneDeal
DoneDeal is Ireland’s largest buying and selling website. The app allows you to browse sections including cars, houses, clothing and electronic equipment and find the bargain that you are looking for from the palm of your hand. Features include filtering ads by location, section and price, sharing adverts on social media and saving favourites for late.

2. TheJournal.ie
The Journal.ie App provides users with up-to-date-minute breaking news, all day, and every day. Some of the Features include poll voting, commentary on stories and searching for topics or specific articles. As already mentioned above the Journal is growing from strength to strength.

3. AIB Mobile
The AIB Mobile Banking App allows you to access a wide range of convenient features from your mobile device. They recently launched a new smartphone app, Me2U that allows person-to-person (phone-to-phone) payments. The idea is to make sending money to people as easy as texting.

4. Daft.ie
The Daft.ie App allow you to search Ireland’s largest property website. Some of the features include; searching where you can search through 100,000 properties across Ireland, Finding where you can get directions to a property based on your current locations, saving and synching where you can save properties that are of interest and use a nearby search feature where it will show properties near to you.

5. RTÉ News Now
The RTE News Now App offers all the latest national and international headlines, top stories, latest sports results and much more. You can personalise your news feeds and browse offline and save stories to read later.

6. RTÉ Player
The RTE Player App allows you to watch and catch up on a wide selection of programmes broadcast on RTE Television. Some of the features include social sharing buttons, saving programmes as favourites and picking up where you left off.

7. Bank of Ireland Mobile Banking
The Bank of Ireland Mobile Banking App is designed to help you perform your banking ‘on the go’ and in a way that is convenient for you. The App has added a new feature ‘Mobile Top Up’ where users have the ability to top up their own/family/friends prepay mobile phones with credit.

8. Adverts.ie
The Adverts.ie App allows you to grab a bargain across every type of category imaginable. Sellers can receive instant notifications about ads, buy credits using PayPal and respond to offers on an ad. Similarly buyers can receive notifications on ads they are watching, access their wish list and pay quickly ad securely using the Buy Now buttons on Shops’ ads.

9. Dublin Bus
The Dublin Bus App is something that we at XtremePush or the general public in Dublin city could not live without. The utility of the App is that it stops you being too early for that bus or too late, and allows you to arrive at the right time. The App provides real time information for all 5,000 bus stops and shelters in the Dublin Bus network. You can follow the bus in real time on a map and save your favourite bus stops.

10. Aldi Ireland
The Aldi Ireland App lets you receive the latest offers and locate your local Aldi store. Menu features include Special Buys, shopping lists and store locator.

Consumer Wearables, Beats by Dre and Google Glasses

Consumer wearables are hot this season and are expected to become a “must have” for consumers over the next several years. The “wearable technology” group encompasses several types, including fitness monitors, activity trackers and smart clothing. Wearables can include smart watches, fitness bands, glasses along with smart bras, smart t-shirts, wearable cameras and more recently but still in the development faze rings and bracelets. The purpose of wearables is for users to take real-world actions by providing relevant, contextual information precisely at the point of decision making. You will find consumers wearing them on their sleeves walking down the street and models on the runway, with the exception of Google Glasses, which lets face it wearers of them probably won’t be getting their own spread in Vogue anytime soon…. Meanwhile Beats headphones which deliver exceptional sound quality to its users is another consumer wearable whose entire existence has been based on being a fashion and status symbol. Celebrities wear them, and people want them. Apple also want them and is rumored to buy beats for the value of $3.2 billion dollars, some have speculated that Apple is simply buying Beats to replenish its “cool factor”. Speaking of cool celebrity rapper Dre himself has a stake in Beats with his own collection Beats by Dre himself with an estimated worth not shy of $1 billion.

Beats by dreOne of the latest and not so fashionable consumer wearables as mentioned above is Google Glasses. Kenneth Cole is a brand collaborating with Google Glasses to promote a new product range, it has recently rolled out a Google Glass app to promote its new cologne. The campaign encourages consumers to photograph themselves performing one good deed a day for 21 days,the goal being to be seen as early adopters and innovators. Other wearables include the Smart Bra that tells you if you are eating too much, the T-shirt that tracks your heartbeat and the Wearable Camera that can quietly and automatically take photographs from the wearer’s neck and lapel. Fitness devices make up the vast majority of the wearable technology market at the moment, with an estimated worth somewhere between $1bn and $3bn today. And worldwide spending on consumer wearable technology will hit $1.4 billion by the end of 2014, and By 2018, the market is expected to hit $19 billion.

Among wearable tech owners, Fitness Bands were the most popular devices (61%), followed by Smart Watches (45%) and Mobile Health devices (17%).

So what is it that motivates consumers to purchase wearables in the first place? One interesting motivation underlying Smart Watch owners decision to purchase their device was to supplement their everyday Smart Phone addiction. To the consumer more than 75% of them believe wearables will positively impact their wellness.

SmartwatchRetailers can benefit most from smart watches and glasses, as they present new opportunities for customer engagement. One more recent development is the focus on wearable tech that is functional but aesthetically pleasing. Although wearable technology still needs to gain a lot of traction before it can really take off, Retailers and brands already embracing it include Barneys New York and Kenneth Cole (as mentioned above). Barneys New York and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), are collaborating which will result in the development of a “Smart Bracelet” powered by Intel. The “Smart Bracelet” will be sold exclusively at Barneys, making the retailer one of the first luxury store chains to carry this type of item, a mix between tech device and fashion accessory, very cool indeed. Ultimately when choosing wearable tech, consumers look for special features to fit their needs and match their styles.

Barneys Intel opening ceremonySo what’s next for consumer wearables? Has anyone had first hand experience with any of the consumer wearable devices? Google Glasses, has anyone lost a pair…? we know Dre will be able to buy Google Glasses for a small town if this deal with Apple goes through. We would love to hear your thoughts.