Nick Pataky, Group Product Manager, Leanplum

App Promotion Summit, June 24, 2020

Watch the on-demand webinar here

In the past few months, COVID-19 has turned the world on its head. So—what does that mean for CRM marketers across the globe? Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to build a consistent messaging experience across all channels.

Today, we call upon the strategies of many of Leanplum’s customers to drive ROI using modern multi-channel engagement tactics. With fewer resources and slashed marketing budgets, we’re finding out how these strategies have changed to reflect the new reality of COVID-19.

According to an audience poll we conducted during our APS session, about 40% of respondents have modified their engagement strategy as a result of COVID-19. This statistic is in line with what we have seen with most of our customers at Leanplum.

Looking at the effect of the pandemic on different app categories, the Ericsson Mobility Report found that while many categories experienced some growth during the pandemic, the following categories experienced the most growth:

  • COVID-19 apps
  • Remote working apps
  • E-learning apps
  • Social shared experience apps
  • Wellness apps

At the same time, it’s important to note that companies now have fewer resources than before. Over 40% of businesses have downsized marketing budgets across the board, while the workload has stayed the same or even increased. For many Leanplum customers, there was an overnight need to reassess the value their businesses are driving for their customers. That is why it is critical to continually test that content against the core KPIs to drive ROI.

Prioritizing on ROI

When discussing the customer journey, a picture-perfect flow chart usually comes to mind. First, your app will acquire a new user and push them through the onboarding process. Then, the customer will engage with the app, convert to a paying customer, and perhaps bring in additional new users.

Optimal User Journey

However, due to free trials and other enticing offers your business might be offering right now, the more realistic user journey during COVID-19 bypasses the important engagement step.

This uninstall/churn cycle is due to many users downloading free trials and then uninstalling or deleting their accounts once the free trial expires. To avoid the churn and get high app engagement, you must first start by understanding the user. Consider the following questions:

  • Who are your users?
  • Why are they here?
  • What part of the customer journey are they on?
  • Are they ready to make a decision?
  • What type of knowledge do they already have?

When viewing through a marketing lens, marketers usually focus on targeting, engaging, and personalizing campaigns. If you want to prioritize ROI, you must have the right tools and data in place to be able to target, trigger, and cohort users into user definitions and user groups that exist at different points in the lifecycle.

Understanding your users — User definitions

Before launching any campaign, you must ensure alignment on user definitions among marketing, product, and engineering teams. These definitions will help you create messaging campaigns that drive users to conversion.

Here are some sample definitions of various user states:

  • Acquired user: User who completed <milestone x>
  • Onboarded user: User who completed <milestone x>
  • Activated user: User who completed <milestone x>
  • Retained user: User who completed <x events> in the last <y time>
  • Paying user: User who converted to a paying user

Creating these definitions and aligning across your organization is the first step to building out a strategy. All of your internal teams (UA, CRM, product, etc.) must align on what it means to have a user who has been “onboarded” or “activated.” If these definitions vary from team to team, someone will inevitably optimize for the wrong thing.

Go beyond the “standard” funnel to understand your user base. Are your onboarded users quick adopters or slow learners? Are your retained customers power users or hesitant users? Document these various user states that are unique to your organization to set yourself up for success. These definitions will help align internal teams and are the foundation for creating an impactful engagement strategy.

Creating a seamless user experience

Creating a seamless experience for your users can become overwhelming in a world with limited time and resources. That is why it is essential to get a firm understanding of which strategy matters most. Whether your business is working through an e-commerce user journey, a subscription user journey, or an ad-supported digital content user journey, what are the different campaigns that drive the most value and help push users to the next step? How do we prioritize the mobile and email campaigns that drive the most ROI?

Most campaigns boil down to this: the farther down the conversion funnel, the higher the ROI. If we can measure and understand the metrics, we can stay focused when resources might be strapped. That is where optimization and experimentation come into play. What is the difference between experimentation and optimization? We’re so glad you asked.

Optimization is when you make small changes to improve what you already know works. You might test or tweak tiny aspects on something you already know works well (i.e., adding the user’s first name to messaging). The result of this is usually smaller, more incremental positive outcomes, and is overall simpler to execute than experimentation.

Experimentation is when you try entirely new things to see what moves the needle. This includes trying out big concepts (i.e., a new onboarding experience). It requires you to take a step back and look at your engagement strategy as a whole while creating new hypotheses. The results of experimentation can be positive or negative.

Building a top-notch marketing strategy

So many different people and internal teams touch your product. To create alignment within your organization, having a solid marketing strategy is critical. Everyone needs to be on the same page if you want to work towards growth and rapid expansion. Leanplum lets you understand the real impact of your campaigns before and after you hit send.

To summarize, building a top-notch engagement strategy involves:

  • Defining your user base and aligning teams internally
  • Gaining a common understanding of the user journey
  • Testing and optimizing to prioritize and re-prioritize on ROI

For more information on this topic, check out our recent on-demand webinar.