Making The Most Of Mobile Messaging With Action Analytics

Mobile’s “always on” connectedness and highly personal nature makes it a perfect channel for retailers to boost engagement with their customers. That’s why growing numbers of retailers are using it to widen the reach of their marketing campaigns. 

A recent survey by BDO found that 60% of US retailers plan to hold their strategic mobile investments steady this year, while 38% plan to increase those investments. Yet while mobile campaigns have risen, measurement of those campaigns’ effectiveness — i.e., whether marketing messages are driving desired conversions or not – has lagged behind.

As Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Tery Howard put it during the recent Retail RAMP conference: “If you can’t measure it, there’s little relevance for it.”


She’s right. A marketing message, regardless of the channel used to deliver it, has to be relevant and add value in order to be effective. Granted, Howard was participating in a panel discussion about mobile points-of-sale, but her statement truly gets to the heart of why it is so critical to measure mobile marketing campaigns. That’s how you make messages as relevant as possible, and relevance retains customers. If your messages are irrelevant or annoying, your customers are likely to ignore them or even delete your mobile app.

Just look at the reader comments on this news item about Facebook’s testing of push notifications that prod users of its iOS app to update their status, whether or not they’re in the mood to do so.

Clearly, consumers have little patience for messaging that doesn’t really add value to their lives. However, retailers don’t need to rely on guesswork when trying to craft messaging that speaks to individual shoppers.

The tools retailers need to drive customer engagement and ROI — including tried-and-true methods such as A/B split testing and retargeting – are already here, because we’re entering what I refer to as “The Age of Mobile Measurement” in a recently-published whitepaper called The Mobile Messaging Opportunity.

Action Analytics: The Key To Engaging And Retaining Customers

The fact that it costs a lot more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones is now an accepted business truism. Marketers in many verticals say their customer acquisition costs have soared.

So we know that engagement and retention is the name of the game for retailers seeking top returns from their mobile messaging efforts. As mobile devices’ capabilities have evolved, so have the many different messaging types that marketers can use to reach their customers. They include:

Short Messaging Service (SMS)

Push notifications

Mobile email

In-app content

However, choosing content and a type of message for a retail campaign is only the first step. If retailers want to get the most out of every message they send, they really do need an action analytics plan that can help them identify specific message elements (such as wording, tone, and length) that drive the most conversions. The full mobile messaging analytics sequence includes:

Action Analytics In Practice

This measurement method collects deep granular data (e.g. messages sent vs. opened, time since last open, and opens resulting in goals such as registrations, purchases or social shares) that links specific message copy to particular shopper behaviors and outcomes. This information helps paint a detailed picture of shoppers’ preferences by revealing exactly how they’re interacting with messages down to individual actions such as taps and swipes. 

A/B split testing: Using data gathered through action analytics, retailers can identify the particular audience segments they’re trying to reach and send multiple versions of a single message to see which drives more conversions. The winning message will present an ever clearer image of what shoppers want, allowing retailers to make each successive message even more relevant.

Retargeting: After an A/B test, a retailer can use the results to further retool the message and send it to customers who did not open the first message or who did open it but did not convert. Unresponsive or non-converting shoppers can be retargeted again and again, so retailers can make sure they’ve left no stone unturned in their quest for maximum sales.

Whether the goal is to drive mobile or in-store sales, retailers using these techniques can produce messaging that resonates with their customers and keeps them coming back.

Mobile Measurement: A Customer Engagement And ROI Powerhouse

Consumers’ love affair with their mobile devices can be so intense that they experience panicky symptoms of nomophobia — “no-mobile phobia” — when separated from their portable screens. Some may find it hard to believe or understand but it’s this level of mobile ascendancy among consumers that all but guarantees marketers will keep following them into the virtual space where they spend so much of their time.

According to eMarketer, the time consumers spent playing games, posting on social media and browsing the Web on mobile devices doubled to an average of 84 minutes in a two-year period. That’s not all. The market research company also reports that the world’s marketers spent $8.4 billion on mobile campaigns in 2012, a sum forecast to reach a yearly $37 billion by 2017.

Those are impressive future numbers. However, it’s already a mobile world. Deep granular data that creates a detailed snapshot of each shopper’s wants and needs can help retailers drive mobile engagement and ROI not just know, but far into the future.

Brendan O’ Kane is CEO of OtherLevels. He has more than 20 years of experience in the mobile ecosystem. He managed global accounts such as the Cable and Wireless group for Oracle Corporation, before growing Oracle’s Asia/Pacific services offering to a $150 million business. He subsequently led a U.S. mobile messaging business in Asia/Pacific prior to its acquisition in 2001. In the past decade he has been an active investor and director in mobile and online properties.

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