An introduction to mobile marketing automation: context marks the spot

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Mobile apps continue to be a strategically important format for businesses, allowing them to have a direct relationship with their customers. But, to ensure high app engagement, you should build apps and features that delight and keep users coming back. Enter push notifications, which when delivered at high moments of impact – such as a morning commute – can drive users to take a specific action – like visit a new coffee chain along the way. And, receptiveness only increases when alerts are personalized using location context, such as the recency or frequency of a user’s visit to your venue. Simply put, push notifications delivered at the right place and time are a sure-fire way to capture customer interest.

Consider leading interactive entertainment platform TouchTunes. By leveraging Foursquare’s powerful location SDK, Pilgrim, to deliver geo-aware alerts to users when they were near a TouchTunes jukebox, the company saw a 44 percent increase to digital jukebox credit purchases.

Achieving this impact requires not only the right SDK, but the ability to deliver context at scale. Mobile marketing automation (MMA) provides the critical link between specificity and scale, allowing companies to extend their reach without sacrificing engagement.

Let’s dig in: here’s what you need to know about improving mobile impact, delivering content at scale, and creating context-aware interactions.

The Power of Mobile

With 80 percent of users checking their smartphone notifications within 15 minutes of waking, mobile is a valuable channel for brands looking to reach their customers in a targeted way. As a Business 2 Community report notes, SMS-based strategies generate open rates above 90 percent and customers typically reply within 90 seconds.

The key to driving engagement is superior content. In fact, recent research found that high-quality mobile marketing content was viewed 74 percent more favorably than low-quality counterparts, resulting in 20 percent higher engagement rates, and 30 percent higher memorability.

To drive this kind of customer engagement through mobile, you need:

  • On-demand, location-based content. Content grabs attention based on proximity, and drives action when combined with context. Imagine a dynamically-placed ad for pumpkin spiced lattes along your usual route only during the right season and when you’re almost at the coffee shop.
  • Notifications “pushed” through apps or sent via SMS. Now imagine if the previous example included location-aware push notifications. As part of the coffee shop’s loyalty program, the combination of customer preferences and contextual priorities could boost overall sales.
  • The ability to deploy this process at scale: Managing the process of promoting pumpkin spice lattes at scale – for hundreds or thousands of users – becomes prohibitively complex without automated tools capable of collecting, analyzing and leveraging consumer data.

Handling user events with our SDK is typically accomplished using one of three methods:

  • Server-side event handling. Select location events can be sent to local servers, which in turn can be used to generate mobile responses. This approach is both time consuming and power intensive.
  • Webhooks. Sometimes called “reverse APIs,” webhooks provide real-time server side event processing to deliver contextual notifications. Pilgrim offers the ability to call a webhook anytime a user arrives at an event. Developers must properly configure, deploy, and regularly debug webhooks.
  • Mobile marketing automation. Third-party MMA tools are used to manage events and content at scale — and allow developers to integrate these operations without building new solutions from scratch.

MMA Basics

According to research from McKinsey & Company, “accumulated impressions” are critical in triggering the impulse to buy. This suggests a dual-track process for effective marketing: predictable mobile impressions that accumulate over time based on customer history and demographics — and “in-the-moment” impressions based on real-time data.

MMA tools enables you to scale-up these predictable impressions by storing information about your contacts, segmenting contact lists into criteria-based groups, and assigning message distribution for each list. Automation also reduces errors and increases reach, allowing your team to focus on creating impactful, insightful content.

MMA solutions add another layer of functionality to manage and distribute content based on real-time events. These could include push notifications when users arrive at specific locations, coupons delivered to high-value customer in-store, or behavioral and demographic data-gathering.

Cause and Effect

Push notifications should trigger measurable effects such as greater engagement with your app or increased point-of-sale transactions.

But effects require causes. The easiest to track is “how” are customers using their devices. But MMAs also let you track another key variable: “where.”

As an AdWeek report noted, 79 percent of users 18-to-44-years-old have their smartphones with them 22 hours per day. This means that wherever customers go, their phones and tablets go with them. Capturing location data in real-time lets you identify patterns in the places they go including time of day, day of the week, and amount of time spent in each location.

MMAs make it possible to deliver personal — not pushy — push notifications by letting you zero-in on the right time and place to reach out. Great offers are no good after customers leave the store. Impersonal “buy now” messages won’t drive engagement. Data about where consumers are and how they interact with the world around them provides the context you need to create reliable cause and effect.

Combining Forces

When it comes to location-based mobile marketing, context is everything. The ability to accurately detect visits enables developers to build a comprehensive history of their users’ real world movements. As a result, it’s easier to identify patterns of behavior and create content that reflects specific user preferences.

This ability to laser-focus your targeting is a key benefit of using the Pilgrim SDK. This tool gives you access to up-to-date global data for more than 105 million places that includes repeat location detection — such as home and work — combined with single-dashboard analytics and low battery consumption. By leveraging Pilgrim’s background and foreground awareness functionality, developers can easily build geo-aware features to deliver contextually-aware app experiences.

But Pilgrim truly shines when it’s integrated with an MMA — enabling you to create location-driven, context-aware content at scale and deliver it on demand. Foursquare partners with a number of popular and preferred MMA companies such as BrazeAirship, and Iterable to name a few.

The Power of Where

MMA platforms deliver better and more meaningful engagement than less targeted promotions. The short form, quick-hitting nature of push notifications makes them ideal for accumulating impressions and increasing the potential for successful lead conversion.

MMA tools will help you streamline the targeting process, enabling you to scale-up impact without losing the interest of your prospects. Pilgrim SDK integration adds critical context, enabling you to connect with users where and when they’re most likely to open your notification, click on your link, or take advantage of your offer.

Context marks the spot. Get where you’re going with Pilgrim.

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