Product Release

Braze Winter 2021 Product Launch: Creating Opportunities In Unpredictable Times

Laura Naparstek By Laura Naparstek Jan 26, 2021

2020 was a humbling, chaotic, transformative, and clarifying year. We couldn’t have known what was in store for the world at the beginning of last year, but time and again brands showed resilience and agility in responding to unpredictable times—from brick-and-mortar retailers embracing new ecommerce and fulfillment strategies to streaming brands doubling down on content to better serve their audiences at home. And while 2021 may bring a return to some kind of normal, we still begin the year grappling with unpredictability in the customer engagement space. The question becomes: How should marketers prepare?

Customer engagement has become the primary means for brands to drive higher customer lifetime value (LTV) and lower customer acquisition costs, making it possible for marketers to support long-term, capital-efficient business growth in 2021 and beyond. That’s why Braze has been hard at work bolstering marketers’ ability to control what’s controllable in customer engagement. Our Winter 2021 Product Launch gives marketers both new ways to measure and communicate their overall impact and granular control of message triggers and tooling across the full range of messaging channels. Amidst today’s unpredictability, one thing has never changed: Marketers must work effectively to listen to and understand customers’ needs, then act on those needs in ways that are timely and relevant.

Ready to embrace change and overcome tomorrow’s challenges? Read on to learn how the latest Braze features can help make that possible. (And if you’re short on time, get yourself and your team up to speed quickly with our Winter 2021 Product Brief.)

Measure Your Impact With Comprehensive Campaign Insights Across Channels

Now that we’re well into the new year, marketers are heads-down building out rich digital experiences for their customers. And as marketing teams scale these campaigns, they need precise ways to measure the impact of their efforts, communicate results across teams, and support ongoing campaign optimization and iteration.

  • Showcase the value of customer engagement with global control groups. Measure the high-level impact of all your different campaigns and Canvases using our new global control groups. This feature allows marketers to define and exclude a subset of users from receiving messages, making it possible to more fully understand the impact of lifecycle campaigns and other customer engagement programs. With global control groups, you can automatically randomize and exclude control group members from active campaigns/Canvases, see estimates for the number of affected users (and add tag-based exceptions to allow critical communications through), and easily measure the overall success of your programs based on chosen metrics (e.g. session starts) via global control reports built into the Braze dashboard. With global control groups, it’s easy to gain data-driven answers to questions like “How did our lifecycle marketing program move the needle on conversions last month?”

“The global control groups feature has advanced our understanding of the impact of our customer engagement strategies,” said Matheus Meira, Head of Performance Marketing at Dafiti, the largest fashion and lifestyle ecommerce platform in Latin America. “Our team has been able to test more often instead of worrying about complex and manual setups and data mining processes, which has led to more personalized and engaging cross-channel campaigns. We’re looking forward to using the Braze platform and these new features to build stronger direct relationships with our customers and achieve stronger campaign results.”

Deliver Personalized, Interactive Messaging Experiences

Brands today need the ability to send valuable, personalized messages at scale. In turn that requires marketers to leverage technologies capable of maximizing their use of customer context to responsively tailor customer experiences. That’s why we continue to add fresh functionality to existing features and channels to give marketers the tools they need to fine-tune their messaging strategies.

  • Make your messaging more responsive with Action-Based Content Card dismissals. Content Cards are persistent, customizable messages in a brand’s app or website that deliver a highly targeted stream of content to customers without interrupting their experience. They’re often used to highlight important information, promotions, or tips in a central content feed—think “in-app notification center.” With the addition of our new action-based dismissals, marketers can now exercise greater control over how and when Content Cards are removed from users’ feeds: For instance, maybe a user doesn’t need a promotion anymore because they made a suggested purchase, or an onboarding reminder is no longer necessary once a user completes a certain task. By automatically removing Content Cards from users’ feeds once they’ve taken a desired action, marketers can create a more relevant, responsive customer experience.
  • Customize users’ mobile experience with our In-app message updates. Braze is upgrading our in-app message composition experience with a suite of new tools built to give markers more control of their users’ mobile experience. Creating custom in-app messages is easier than ever with an enhanced HTML editor, which includes a new way to upload assets and to preview messages for web or mobile before they’re sent. Plus, custom button tracking gives marketers the ability to collect customer info through in-app surveys and support more targeted messaging down the line.
  • Support eye-catching notifications with Android Inline Image Push. Another familiar messaging channel is getting a boost—push notifications! Push gives customers the information they need with a quick glance at their home screens. Make your Android push notifications richer with this new inline image style, which is unique to Braze and inspired by our many video streaming customers. This new design showcases a larger visual within each push notification, so customers don’t have to manually expand your notifications just to see an image.

Extend The Power of Your SMS Campaigns

2020 was a big year for Braze SMS. We developed an intuitive new SMS composer that empowers marketers to launch campaigns without technical resources. Last year we also launched MMS (or Multimedia Messaging Service), giving brands the ability to embed visuals in their SMS campaigns. We built Braze SMS to work seamlessly with other channels, and made all SMS features accessible to marketers within a single dashboard. Now, we’re giving marketers even more opportunities to expand their use of SMS.

  • Make your text messages interactive with SMS custom keywords. We’re introducing enhancements to our native inbound keyword interactions that allow marketers to create two-way SMS messaging campaigns. Just last quarter we also launched native support for inbound keyword interactions to simplify consent management and reporting. Now, we’re taking those keywords to the next level with custom keyword support. This feature allows marketers to create their own custom keywords and responses for personalized and targeted campaigns.
 As users respond with these Custom Keywords, their responses will be captured for analytics at the campaign and app group level, and marketers can now trigger appropriate responses/campaigns, supporting richer, more interactive experiences in this key channel.

Final Thoughts

No one ever knows what the future will bring—and that home truth feels even truer now than it has in the past. But marketers who prioritize flexibility and ensuring they have the technologies they need to meet tomorrow’s challenges, whatever they may end up being, are well-positioned to leverage customer engagement to meet their users needs today, tomorrow, and in all the days to come.

Find more inspiration for creating fine-tuned messaging experiences and measuring the impact in the Braze Measurement Guide. From tracking high-value actions to honing in on the benchmarks that matter most to your customers and your business, learn how to uplevel your measurement practices based on what data is available in your customer engagement platform.

Laura Naparstek

Laura Naparstek

Laura Naparstek is a Senior Marketing Manager for Global Strategic Accounts based in NYC. Before Braze, Laura spent six years on the research team at Forrester working with business leaders to develop digital customer engagement strategies. When she’s not busy helping brands across industries get the most out of Braze, she’s watching music videos or skiing.

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