Wish We’d Thought of That: Mobile Marketing That Impresses Marketers

The best mobile marketing campaigns, as nominated by pros

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When you’re really enthusiastic (read: nerdy) about being a marketer, it’s almost impossible to take promotions, campaigns, and messaging at face value. The reason? At every touchpoint that brands engage with us, we can figure out what’s happening behind the scenes.

From the CTAs we’re observing to the timing of campaigns, every interaction that we have with a brand is an opportunity for us to learn. What’s especially valuable (and welcome) is when marketing campaigns catch us off guard and appeal to us emotionally or get us to convert. We can let go of our marketing hats and see the world from the perspective of our fellow consumers. In terms of developing inspiration for our next marketing campaigns, what could be better?

We’ve asked three mobile marketers to nominate their all-time favorite campaigns. Here are the examples they shared, along with the lessons that mobile marketers can take away.

Quartz’s conversational app messaging strategy

Nominated by: John Koetsier, mobile economist and former VP of research at VentureBeat

When you’re trying to keep app users, radio silence is the last thing that you want. Out of fear, some marketers will double-down on writing aggressive CTAs and bombarding people with messages. But sometimes, these tactics can generate an extreme polar opposite effect: as an annual report from Edelman points out, consumer trust in marketing is in a state of flux. According to a study from 4A, only 4% of consumers believe that marketers behave with integrity.

In a digital ecosystem where companies are vying for their audience’s attention, Quartz is taking an understated approach. People who use the app get the exact value proposition that Quartz promises: a media experience that relies on natural user browsing patterns to deliver information. For instance, upon loading the app, users will see popular headlines delivered through a text message-like interface.

“Especially when you enable push notifications, the experience feels natural and conversational,” says Koetsier. “It’s easy to pop in and out of the app experience.”

With a low-key app promotion strategy that is on-brand with its media experience, Quartz puts consumers in charge at all touchpoints. The marketing strategy feels more like a conversation and less like a promotion.

Quartz App

A push notification from the Quartz app

“It plays on the current fad of messaging, bots, and artificial intelligence,” says Koestier. “This makes the app timely, interesting, and unique, which are critical factors in an oversaturated app ecosystem. Understatement is not common in marketing, which made the message memorable.”

The takeaway from this campaign? Be conversational and natural. Take the selling out of your user retention strategy. Create messaging that’s compelling enough to pique your audience’s interests to research and learn more.

HotelTonight’s to-the-point deep-linking strategy

Nominated by: Jonathan Levey, digital marketing manager at Flexjet

One of the biggest challenges that app marketers face is that their audiences’ attention or patience can run out after a few clicks, taps, and swipes. If you’re looking to drive engagement within your app, you have a few moments to capture your user base’s attention and deliver them to the content promised.

That’s why strategic deep linking within your app is so important. Rather than sending users through irrelevant app experiences, give them the exact information that they need to make a decision, in the moment.

According to Levey, HotelTonight, a mobile app for last-minute hotel bookings, exemplifies this idea when driving traffic from Google Search results pages.

“For example, someone searching hotels on the Vegas strip will see an advertisement for HotelTonight’s app,” says Levey. “When a user clicks the ad, they are directed to the App Store. After downloading and installing the app, the user will be taken directly to listings for Las Vegas hotels. Meanwhile, existing users of the app would jump to HotelTonight’s search results listings page immediately.

HotelTonight deep linking

Deferred deep linking at work

Rather than sending potential users through the twists and turns that are typical when launching an app for the first time, HotelTonight directs audiences to the information that they need, in the exact moment that they need a hotel. The strategy, known to marketers as deferred deep linking, resulted in an 18% increase in install-to-booking rates and a 16% decrease in cost per install, according to a recent writeup for the Mobile Marketing Association.

The takeaway for fellow marketers: Eliminate all barriers that stand in your users’ paths to conversion. Bring them closer to their conversion goals by eliminating superfluous steps in between.

Bandsintown’s emotion-driven push notification timing

Nominated by: Nicholas Rubright, founder and CEO of Dozmia

Think back to the last time that you attended a concert that you love—after the event, how did you feel? Most likely, you experienced a healthy mix of happiness, excitement, and a fulfillment. The timing is probably ideal for you to share feedback (and start thinking about your next concert to attend!).

Smart marketers, in tune with how their customers are thinking and feeling, will focus on these moments to conduct outreach. It’s why Bandsintown, an app for selling concert tickets, sends push notifications with helpful messages when app users are most likely to be in a good mood.

“A few months ago, I bought a ticket to see my favorite band, A Day to Remember, through Bandsintown,” explains Rubright. “After the show, Bandsintown sent a notification reading, ‘How was the A Day to Remember show?’ When I opened it, they asked me to review the show, then proceeded to recommend new events in my area from similar artists.”

Bandsintown App

Recommended concerts in the Bandsintown app

Rubright uses the word “perfect” to describe Bandsintown’s follow-up. “Immediately after seeing A Day to Remember, I was still full of excitement, and couldn’t wait to go to my next concert,” says Rubright. “They caught me in an extremely positive emotional state, and it worked in their favor. I bought another concert ticket for the following weekend through them.”

Put yourself in your users’ shoes to anticipate what they’re thinking and feeling, and use timing to work in your favor.

Final thoughts

The beauty of these three marketing strategies is that they eliminate friction and appeal to potential users on a human level. In a digital ecosystem that’s driven by noise, some of the most stand-out marketers are the ones who are focusing on providing answers to questions and sharing helpful information. Create marketing campaigns that improve the lives of your users—just like your product.

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