– by Slaven Radic, CEO of Tapstream
It’s predicted that by 2017, there will be 4.4 billion app users worldwide and 200 billion app downloads. This growth has hardly gone unnoticed, and today, most companies, regardless of the industry, have a mobile strategy to respond to the growing importance of mobile with consumers and businesses.
With the explosion of mobile app usage, a whole suite of services have come to fruition to serve the needs of the mobile industry. We specifically saw a lot of growth in the mobile analytics sector as traditional web solutions still lacked mobile capabilities.
Mobile analytics: then and now
Today, we have so many mobile analytics solutions that Forrester doesn’t even rank them. Since the various solutions all present slightly different offerings, they are not easily comparable. Despite there being endless offerings, Forrester found that only 46 percent of eBusiness professionals have implemented any mobile analytics into their mobile apps.
What makes mobile analytics more challenging than the web is the fragmentation and isolation of the mobile app ecosystems. It is very difficult to follow a user between the mobile web and different mobile apps due to security sandboxes erected by Google and Apple around the apps. While this protects a user’s privacy, it also exacts a real usability cost. Users have to deal with multiple logins, disjointed workflows and siloed data, and rely on third-party apps to solve those problems.
The mobile marketing challenge starts with basic attribution: where the user who installed the app came from (i.e., from advertising, the mobile web or another app). This challenge was answered by several attribution companies and mobile advertisers were finally able to shed light on which marketing campaigns and promotions were effective at driving installs.
Attribution companies didn’t stop there. They evolved into full-fledged analytics dashboards to further optimize user acquisition and understand average revenue per user and user lifetime value from each marketing channel.
But it turns out that was just the start. As the mobile industry grew, there were more and more apps vying for people’s attention. The inevitable happened: app abandonment rates started increasing, while user engagement from new installs fell. In 2010, 26 percent of apps were only opened once and never opened a second time.
In 2014, attribution technology has become table stakes, a commodity in the ever-evolving mobile marketing industry. Attribution and analytics are no longer enough. It’s time for mobile marketers to put all this data to use and to drive user acquisition and retention. To help this, analytics companies are getting better at integrating with each other to help marketers at every step.
Start with user acquisition
Make sure to collect as much downstream data on user value as you can. This will become more important as you work on keeping those users engaged later on. Leverage your attribution partner to also reduce your app abandonment rates on new users. Products like deferred deep links and Onboarding Links can be integrated into marketing campaigns to help with new user engagement.
Develop a re-engagement plan
Marketing efforts shouldn’t stop at acquisition. Users eventually disengage from apps – after all, more apps land in the App Store and Google Play Store every week. So mobile marketers need to have a plan in place to re-engage users. Fortunately, mobile marketers should know the exact value of each disengaged user. This makes re-engagement or re-acquisition not only possible but also profitable. Target your valuable disengaged users with notification offers or by using deep links for re-engagement campaigns. For example, Threadflip was able to increase their revenue per user by 40 percent through a re-engagement campaign. The campaign was run on URX and utilized deep links to drive users back into the app.
Mobile apps present some unique and increasingly difficult challenges to marketers. As more apps land on your customers’ phones, it’s harder than ever to retain those users. Analytics alone will not get you there, but by using the data you already have you can acquire more users and keep the ones you already have.
Slaven Radic is a CEO and co-founder of Tapstream, a marketing platform for mobile apps. He has a long history in software design and marketing, both as a technical and a business co-founder. His previous startup was acquired by one of the biggest EU software publishers.