Increase User Engagement With Your App through In-App Messaging

Jenna Rodrigues
May 19, 2021

You got people to download your app… great! But don’t pop that champagne bottle yet. 25% of users abandon an app after just one use. Ouch. (Apps have feelings too!)

So, how can you make sure all the time and effort you invested into building the app hasn’t gone down the drain? In-app messaging is one of the most effective tactics to engage with users and get them to stick around.

What Is In-App Messaging and Why Is It Important?

Also called app interstitials or native app content, in-app messaging displays content within the app interface. You can include images, text, and hyperlinks in these messages, which users can only see when they have your app open. In-app messaging comes in many shapes and forms, such as chats to provide customer support, posts to offer helpful information, “toast” notifications, and mobile carousels to showcase new features.

The Benefits of In-App Messaging

You may wonder if it’s worth adding in-app messaging to your marketing mix. Here’s why it’s a highly effective channel:

Extensive reach: In-app messages can achieve read rates of as high as 44%. Since users don’t have to opt-in to receive in-app messaging, your content can reach most, if not all, of them.

Seamless user experience: In-app messages deliver a highly contextualized experience that not only is nonintrusive but also adds value to the customer experience.

Easy to publish: A marketing team can quickly push out in-app messages in text or rich HTML to promote timely content and promotions without making any code update.

Personalized messages: You can deliver highly targeted messages and promotions by leveraging data on how users interact with your brand to increase engagement.

Effective calls to action: Your personalized messages can direct users to specific areas in the app or respond to a promotion to drive conversions.

In-App Messaging vs. Push Notifications: What Is the Difference?

In-app messaging sounds a whole lot like push notifications — do you need both? The short answer is yes because they serve different purposes.

Push notifications are displayed on the home screen or lock screen of a mobile device and, therefore, can be seen by users who don’t have your app open. As such, it’s effective for reengaging lapsed users and driving them back to your app.

In-app messages are seen by users only when they’re using your app. They allow you to leverage customer data and deliver highly targeted and context-sensitive content at a time where your app already hopefully has most of the user’s attention, more importantly, their intention (to do something with your app purposefully). Moreover, in-app messages can accommodate longer copy and more engaging and rich media than push notifications.

Working hand-in-hand, in-app messaging and push notifications can achieve an average engagement rate of 26%. You should apply the right tactic at the right time based on your objective and target audience.

Our Best Tips and Tricks For In-App Messaging Success

You have decided to add in-app messaging to your marketing arsenal. Now what? Here are some best practices to help you get the biggest bang for your buck:

Define Your Metrics

Define objectives that can be measured by in-app metrics for each message. You should also get clear on how these measurements, such as engagement or retention, are tracked. Identify metrics that are in line with your overall multi-channel strategy so you can effectively measure audience behaviors to deliver a seamless user experience.

Drive Timely Action

Sending the right message at the right time can boost your conversion rates. Use in-app messaging to share timely and relevant announcements, such as flash sales and new feature releases. You can also tie in-app messages with users’ real-time interactions with your brand through sending a cart abandonment message or a special promotion based on browsing history.

Choose the Placement

Select a placement that best suits your objectives. A full-page message gives you more real estate to engage the audience with rich media. A message placed in the center of the screen is ideal for displaying essential information. A bottom banner allows you to deliver content without being intrusive, while a top banner can mimic the effect of a push notification to grab attention.

Personalize Your Messages

Tap into the power of personalization by implementing a segmentation strategy to send the most relevant content or offers to app users. For example, you can create audience segments based on users’ demographic information, preferences, device types, most-used features, or other custom events. You can also combine in-app messaging with push notifications and email marketing to increase cross-channel engagement.

Leverage Automation Technologies

Marketing automation can support the execution of a personalization strategy at scale. For example, when users take a specific action, they’ll be added to an appropriate segment to receive the most relevant in-app messages. You can also sync the app with your customer database, so users’ interactions with your brand on other touchpoints will automatically trigger the appropriate in-app messages to deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience.

Optimize For the Platform

iOS and Android are different not only in their codes. You should also consider the different user preferences when designing the in-app messaging experience. For example, iOS users tend to prefer in-app messages, while Android users lean toward push notifications. Also, since iOS users need to opt-in to receive push notifications, you should use in-app messages to invite them to sign up after they have used the app a few times.

How To Apply In-App Messaging

It’s time for the rubber to meet the road. How exactly can you leverage in-app messages? Here are some use cases to show what they can do for you.

Onboard New Users

Create an in-app message that gives new users a tour of the key features of your app to help increase adoption and engagement. For example, you can use a carousel that shows a sequence of screens to illustrate how your app works and/or use messages to guide users to complete a series of tasks that will set them up for success.

Convert From Free Trial

Getting users to convert from a free trial to a paid plan is key to generating revenue from an app. You can use in-app messages to show the features that users are missing by not upgrading to the paid subscription. You can also add urgency by offering a limited-time discount and sharing social proof (e.g., testimonials and ratings) from other users to drive conversion.

Retain Current Users

There’s no way to sugarcoat it — retaining mobile users is hard. 68% of people who download a mobile app launch it 10 times or fewer. In-app messages allow you to provide tips that help users get the most value from your app so they’ll stick around. Besides highlighting new features, you can also proactively share content that addresses commonly asked questions to preempt frustrations that could cause users to abandon the app.

Engage More Users with In-App Messaging

In-app messaging opens up many opportunities to engage with your audience. Yet, you need to have everything dialed in to get the right message to the right audience segments at the right time. An audience and revenue strategy should be an integral part of your development process to ensure that you’re delivering an app experience that converts.

Our team of experts live and breathe mobile app marketing and development, and we’re ready to help! Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you maximize the ROI of your mobile app.

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