By Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings
In today’s mobile application-crazed society, consumers expect “smart” applications that understand their behavior, anticipate their needs and offer relevant solutions. By moving beyond point-in-time pin drop location services to augment the application with user data in context, mobile marketers can provide a more valuable, contextual user experience that will drive engagement and loyalty.
As mobile phones and networks become more sophisticated, people continue to embrace the application craze. With our fast-paced lives, mobile applications help us remain connected to people, companies and brands. But a simple download doesn’t guarantee an app stays top-of-mind. Brands have learned that not using push notifications can result in someone losing interest or forgetting to use the app, while sending too many notifications and messages that are not germane to the user at specific moments in time can create notification fatigue. The so-called “blind apps,” do not recognize the user in a real-time context, and sending frequent, irrelevant information will land the app in the virtual trash.
For years, companies have been using location data in apps to deliver targeted notifications and ads to customers, but that point-in-time pin drop location is no longer enough. Users want “smart” applications that understand their behavior, anticipate their needs, offer appropriate and useful solutions, and make daily tasks, like commuting, easier – without even having the app open. Mobile application marketers must look beyond the pin drop in a user’s journey and augment the app to create contextually smart notifications and a richer user experience.
Augmenting location with data about user behavior patterns enables a brand to create more timely, customized user engagement. Consider the case of a gaming app that delivers notifications about updated features or in-game purchases. Imagine if this application could recognize that an individual enjoys playing mobile games during their daily commute. Instead of offering that daily update about an in-game sale on coins during a 3 p.m. business meeting, this popular gaming app would sense when a user is commuting and offer to launch their most recent game right where they left off, and then share information about the sale.
This is the tip of the iceberg. Augmented location will drive mobile marketing of the future in three ways: by identifying the right time for user engagement, transforming mobile marketing into problem solving, and moving to a human-centric approach.
Identifying the right time for user engagement
Roughly 90 percent of people keep the location services function on their smartphones switched to “on,” according to research by the Pew Research Center. With location data obtained through the app, it is easier to propose what is necessary or desired according to the moment in time and user’s context. This would include where they live and work, how they commute and for how long each day, when they’re shopping, traveling, attending a show or concert, or playing sports. If a user isn’t moving in a particular location and this habit recurs daily, one can predict what comes next: a 30-minute commute during which the user will use their phone heavily. That wait time and commute provide ample availability and ideal moments to update the user with information and services related to their itinerary and/or to direct them to using their device. If they are going to a meeting away from the office, a dining app might suggest restaurants close by or transport options, since it’s different from the user’s typical route. Application experiences fueled by real-time data about location and behavior provide invaluable context for user engagement.
Tranforming Mobile Marketing Into Problem Solving
Downloads are not enough to measure an application’s success since the appeal of the latest app loses its luster if the user doesn’t see real value. In a recent survey, Statista found that 21 percent of apps downloaded by mobile app users worldwide were only accessed once during the first six months of ownership. Augmented location using data can help to improve those access and usage numbers by making the app more functional. For example, a ride-sharing app might offer its company’s services if there is a problem with the commuter’s usual subway line, and with a discount for the first ride. Or perhaps it is raining one day during a user’s commute and a nearby coffee shop invites the user to wait for the train inside with a coffee or food specials. These real-time notifications based on the user’s time, location and context, are a great benefit for the user, who doesn’t need to look for information to make the right decision.
Moving to a Human-centric Approach
When it comes to user engagement, quality wins over quantity. Users are more likely to engage when personalized, appropriate content is delivered in the right moment. Augmented location provides the context needed to define new user segments and create targeted notifications with more pertinent detail. Segments might be users who arrive to a specific business area of the city, commute every day for more than 45 minutes, or have dinner in the city at least three days per week. Each group of users has specific needs, and marketers who tailor messages and content to meet these needs will transform the brand’s mobile app into an essential resource.
Consider that dining app. By leveraging augmented location, the app could sense that the frequent city diner is home and skip its notification delivery for the day. A coffee shop app might recognize that a user is commuting in from a different train line and offer directions to the nearest location. Both examples transform context-based marketing into “smart” mobile marketing that considers the user first, thereby dramatically increasing opportunities to drive engagement and brand loyalty.
The human-centric mobile app experience ensures a competitive advantage for marketers because the brand becomes a partner to the user. While less sophisticated applications continue to deliver extraneous, annoying push notifications that force users to delete and ignore, mobile marketing teams that embrace the smart application approach use augmented location and build user-centric strategies based-on contextual data will see increasing success. Using this innovative approach will allow successful marketers to find exactly the right moment to engage with users, keep the application relevant and personalize communication for a richer user experience. Augmented location can push segment marketing to a new level.
This post originally appeared on August 28 in MarTechAdvisor