Today’s advanced technology enables us to have an entire world at our fingertips.  A constant companion for most people, our mobile phones are always by our side, and we’re increasingly reliant on them as we go about our busy days.

For mobile app businesses, this can be a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, that’s more potential users for your app.  On the other hand, an increasingly crowded app market means more competition for users’ time and attention.  

Who are your real mobile app competitors? 

Spoiler: it’s not who you think.  As a mobile app marketer or developer, it’s easy to look around at apps in your vertical to identify your competitors.  For example, if you’re an on-demand transportation company (like Uber), you’d naturally look at other on-demand transportation companies (like Lyft).

But it’s time to think differently about competition and your strategy around it.  If you’re only looking vertically, you’re missing your other competitors sitting a mere 1mm next to you on your customer’s mobile screen.

In our Uber/Lyft example, you have to look beyond car-sharing apps for competitors.  There are also alternatives, like bike- or scooter-sharing apps.  Even beyond that, one could argue that dining apps could be a competitor.  Perhaps, at that moment, a restaurant app can convince your customer to try a nearby dining spot instead of taking a car home.  

Your real competitors are across categories.  They’re any other app that gives your customer another way to spend their valuable free time.

For mobile games, your competition isn’t strictly other mobile games.  Instead, it’s TikTok or social media or other apps that people use for entertainment.

The battle for customers’ time and attention

With so many things on our phones competing for our focus, emails go unopened, and push notifications remain unread.

And, as customers stop engaging with messages from you, they fall into the habit of ignoring them, which translates to ignoring your app and, ultimately, your business.  All this eventually leads to the unfortunate uninstall – if they even bother to give you that signal.  And, once customers uninstall, they’ll never come back.  

Hyper-personalized messaging and user experiences

As humans, we have the ability to choose, and every choice we make changes the context in which businesses have to engage us.  

The modern rules of engagement mean that businesses have to be agile, adjusting to the constantly changing environment we live in to capture people’s attention.

So, how can you engage customers and drive repeat usage?  

The answer is to apply these elements to hyper-personalizing your app’s messaging and experience:

  1. Understand customers and their behavior.  
  2. Provide constant value.
  3. Connect everything to context.
  4. Hyper coordinate your App experience and your marketing campaigns with real-time user signals and behavior.

Mobile app businesses that learn how to do this reap the rewards.  Our recent Data Science Reports show returns of 5x for mobile gaming apps and 7x for subscription apps when app studios apply advanced personalization techniques to their user experience.

By knowing your user — what they like or don’t like or which notifications or messages they engage with or ignore, and what users do everywhere in your app experience, you can customize each person’s app journey for better engagement, retention, and monetization.

Going beyond multichannel strategies

In our always-connected mobile world, it’s not enough to use different messaging channels.  Re-engagement depends on context, value, and personalization to build relationships.  Otherwise, customers will eventually tune you out.

Are you afraid of overloading your audience with too many messages?  If your answer is yes, you may not be delivering the right messages at the right time.  If that’s the case, you risk failing to provide content your customers are interested in and lose the chance to communicate your value to customers.

Increasing the 1mm distance between you and your competitors

Once a customer has downloaded your app on their phone, it becomes your responsibility to earn your spot on their mobile screen and your share of their spare time by engaging and cultivating a meaningful relationship with them.  Otherwise, with irrelevant, impersonal, and out-of-context messaging, your app and business, like many others, may fall to the wayside.

For your business to compete, grow, and succeed, you need to refocus your engagement strategy on a customer-centric approach, delivering constant value, and providing personalized experiences that make your product the natural choice as people make decisions on where and how to spend their time in their hectic lives.

To learn more about what Leanplum can do for your team, check out these resources:

For app-first companies, Leanplum is the only solution that helps personalize and optimize all customer touchpoints, both inside and outside the app. Leanplum combines multi-channel Lifecycle Marketing with the ability to A/B test the Product Experience for complete, end-to-end personalization of the mobile journey. Break down organizational silos and eliminate point solutions to enable rapid growth.