3 Mobile Marketing Pitfalls (and How To Avoid Them)

Safeguard your mobile outreach with send-time optimization, message rate limiting and exception events

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Mobile marketing can do amazing things. Help you better understand your customers and the many, varied ways they engage with your brand. Let you reach those customers effectively in intimate, personalized ways. Make it possible to seamlessly build rich, durable relationships with an audience of people across the world in ways that were once impossible to imagine.

But while mobile marketing can be a great asset to your brand, these kind of results aren’t just going to happen on their own. It takes a lot of thought to work out a marketing strategy that fits your brand, and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to stumble as you ramp up your mobile marketing efforts.

To help you flag possible trouble spots, we’ve identified three tricky mobile marketing pitfalls that can befall marketers as they work to engage customers. Take a look!

Pitfall #1: Overwhelming your app with a too-successful push notification campaign

The problem

Sure, it sounds like a great problem to have, but only on the surface. You send a push notification highlighting a big sale or some other high-interest announcement intended to drive customers to your app, and you succeed wildly—so wildly, in fact, that the sheer number of people visiting your app at the same time crashes the servers supporting it. That translates to lots of annoyed customers and a lot of sale items that go unpurchased.

The solution: Message rate limiting

You need message rate limiting. This tool allows you to cap how many people can receive a particular message in a single minute. Think of it like a speed limit for your outreach: if you’re sending a message to 10 million people and the servers supporting your app can’t handle more than 5 million simultaneous sessions, message rate limiting makes it possible to throttle the number of people receiving your message to no more than 50,000 per minute. That limits the total number of people who get that message during any given hour to 3 million. By spacing out the delivery of the message, message rate limiting makes it possible to reach all recipients without crashing your servers, allowing that promotional push to serve its intended purpose.

Pitfall #2: Getting lost in the shuffle, message-wise

The problem

When you send a customer a message, you’re always fighting for their attention. Not only do you have to contend with the messages they’re receiving from other brands, there’s also all the other distractions—digital and otherwise—that fill modern life. When a brand hits upon a delivery time for their messages that sees strong engagement or conversions, it’s tempting to stick with it. After all, customers are just people and people are usually creatures of habit who tend toward the status quo whenever possible.

But what happens when your audience grows and changes or its members’ engagement schedule shifts? You run the risk of sending messages that they won’t see for hours, if at all—messages that get buried at the bottom of their notification centers.

The solution: Send-time optimization

Sending a campaign at a particular time is like blasting a message to your whole audience: it can be a good idea in certain circumstances, but generally you’re going to be better off targeting your outreach more closely to the individual recipients. If you make use of send-time optimization (AKA delivery time personalization), it’s possible to reach every customer at the time they’re most likely to engage with your outreach. This kind of personalization draws on customer engagement data to determine when customers are most likely to open your messages and adjusts over time as new information comes in, allowing your messaging delivery timing to change in concert with your audience’s schedules and habits.

Pitfall #3: Sending outdated triggered messages

The problem

One of the best ways to ensure that your customers receive timely outreach that’s relevant and valuable to them is to take advantage of triggered messaging. With triggered messages, when a customer carries out a specific action within the app (such as abandoning a shopping cart), they’re automatically sent a personalized message nudging them toward a desired action (such as completing the purchase). It’s powerful, responsive, and can have a big impact on customer behavior.

But if you’re not careful, triggered messages can backfire. In the case of an abandoned shopping cart, some customers will come back to complete the purchase of their own accord, complicating things. If you trigger the message immediately after they abandon the cart, you run the risk of coming across as pushy or demanding to customers—especially the ones who haven’t REALLY abandoned the cart and were planning to come back all along.

Another option is to implement a time delay (30 minutes or an hour, usually) for the triggered message, so it doesn’t get sent until a set time after the cart is abandoned. But that creates the possibility that you’ll be sending a message urging the customer to make a purchase that they’ve already made in the time between when the cart was abandoned and when the message was sent. That can give off the impression that your brand doesn’t know what it’s doing, or make recipients worry that their purchase didn’t actually go through.

The solution: Exception events

To address this issue, you’re going to need to take advantage of exception events, which allow marketers to prevent situations like this. Basically, when a triggered campaign with a time delay is activated by a customer action, your mobile marketing automation platform automatically checks to see if the circumstance that triggered the campaign is still relevant before sending the message. If it isn’t, the message is canceled, removing the risk that customers receive an outdated triggered message; if it is, the message is sent as originally intended.

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