What does your full mobile app customer journey look like? What happens from the very first time potential customers interact with your brand to the time they become initial users and then highly loyal users of your app?
It’s highly critical for any app marketers - including performance marketers - to know precisely what average mobile customer journeys look like before investing heavily in any one or several marketing strategies. Without this critical knowledge of the customers’ experience, all app marketing initiatives are likely to end in disappointment.
The classic user journey map in marketing is the funnel. The idea being is that someone asks very high level questions at the beginning of their user journey, and that your job as a marketer is to address these initial pain points and then educate them on why your previously unknown product is right for them.
The only problem is that this kind of linear thinking is that it just doesn’t pan out in the real world - especially as mobile devices give people access to more information than ever before. Today’s consumers don’t need you as a brand to educate them on their problems and potential solutions.
The modern user experience is all about action. How can you, as a brand, enable consumers to feel empowered and to have all the information they need to make the best decision for them?
For example, consider Google’s study of the modern car-buying experience. They found that consumers, on average, were asking pointed, critical questions very early on in their purchase decision, and then branching out from there. Even early in the process, individuals are asking queries that historically were considered by marketers to be bottom-funnel positions.
This same process occurs in the mobile app world as well. Rarely will someone take a straightforward path from discovery to download to use. The odds are good that they will be consulting a wide variety of sources of information before making the ultimate decision to get and use your app.
So how do you determine what your most common user acquisition journeys actually look like? This is where good analytics and tagging comes into play.
As soon as your app is available to the public, be diligent about tracking everything (without harming user privacy, of course). Start collecting data early, so that you can begin to get an understanding of the key steps someone takes before electing to become a user of your app.
Finding it difficult to note and track all of the pre-download steps? If so, consider using a multi-touch attribution platform or partner, to help you better understand all of the various steps happening before the initial download.
As part of this mapping process, don’t forget about retention. Over one in five people who download your app will only use it once before deleting it. Learn about where people drop off, so that you can prevent churn before it ever happens.
Mobile app marketing is a little bit like a seesaw. At what point have you applied enough pressure to rise to new heights? During your mobile app customer journey mapping process, be sure to note the precise point when the odds become favorable that someone is likely to be a loyal user of your app for a long time.
For example, let’s say you’re a coffee chain looking to acquire more app downloads. Multi-touch attribution modeling may highlight the fact that the most valuable app users first heard about your app from a banner ad within a mobile game. Armed with this data, you can be sure to run a targeted in-app ad campaign to run specifically within mobile gaming environments.
This logic works on the retention side as well. For instance, this same coffee chain might discover that its most valuable app users become hooked after buying their second cup of coffee through the app. Armed with this data, you may want to use push notifications strategically to get recent installs to this crucial point - and to partner with a demand-side platform capable of delivering on key metrics and not just installs.
Ultimately, mobile app marketing today comes down to being savvy and data driven. The best mobile marketers and advertisers understand the unique nuances of the modern customer journey, and make sure to use available information to target the right channels with the right messaging at the right time.
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About the Author:
Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, supporting the content goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices.