Brendan O’Kane is CEO of OtherLevels
Imagine this scenario: you’re launching an email campaign to promote a new product. You’ve crafted your messages and sent them to several audience segments likely to be interested.
The result: 40% of customers who got the email buy your product. Great!
But what about the 60% who didn’t? You’re not leaving it at that! You send a follow-up email. And, if necessary, another. And another.
Through decades of experimentation, brands have mastered the art of retargeting through catalogs, direct mail, telemarketing, web banner advertising, search engine marketing and email. Retargeting boils down to well-informed persistence: Customers who don’t convert receive follow-up messages testing new offers, different copy or colors or multiple calls to action to ensure that no opportunity for a conversion is missed.
Remember the AOL “trial offers” – first on 3.5-inch floppy disks, then on CDs – that jammed mailboxes across the country back in the 1990s and early 2000s? During the decade between AOL’s 1992 IPO and 2002, those disks cost the company a cool $300 million, according to former CEO Steve Case.
But they helped turn the fledgling Internet provider – whose membership boomed from 200,000 to 25 million during the same period – into an online media powerhouse. When a sent disk didn’t result in a new sign-up, AOL sent another. If that didn’t work, it sent yet another, always measuring every possible outcome (didn’t subscribe, subscribed or passed along to someone who did) and gaining new converts with each round.
As with many other marketing research techniques perfected during the analog age, digital and mobile technologies are making something old new again.
Today, marketers using push notifications, SMS and MMS, mobile email and in-app alerts and promotions are increasingly relying on retargeting techniques to help establish a presence in the mobile space and drive sales. That’s a good call, too, as mobile data subscriptions are expected to reach 9.3 billion over the next five years.
Mobile: Retargeting for the 21st century
How would retargeting work if you were, for example, a forward-thinking mobile game developer launching an in-app campaign to drive sales of your latest hit platformer by offering a 15 percent discount?
First you’d look at metrics such as number of messages opened, time since last open, and opens resulting in goals such as registrations, purchases or social shares. Next, you’d use that information to design messages that will prompt your customers to buy the game. You would run a series of A/B split tests — deploying two versions of one message to see which most effective in driving conversions.
In your case, 40 percent of customers who got message A clicked on the in-app offer, while 20 percent of those redeemed the offer. Message B, however, got a 30 percent open rate and 30 percent redemption, making it the clear winner when it comes to selling a new title within the game app.
Then, in order to maximize ROI, you would send follow-up messages featuring different copy to those segments that didn’t click the offer and to those that did click the offer but didn’t buy the game, just as you would with desktop email or other media. You might try a more enticing offer or a more urgent call to action. For the purposes of this example, let’s say 13 percent of retargeted messages lead to further conversions.
Driving Conversions over the finish line
You wouldn’t need to stop there, however. You could, conceivably, keep retargeting non-converters, using what you learn about them from previous rounds of messages to make the next even more likely to elicit a conversion. You might even send follow-up messages to those who did convert to keep them engaged and increase potential ROI even more.
When it comes to retargeting, think of it like making it to the proverbial finish line: it’s the last-mile sprint that gives marketers one more chance to engage, re-engage and convert. Covering every point along the analytics path – action analytics followed by A/B testing followed by retargeting – is critical to driving engagement and conversions on mobile for today’s brands.
Taken as a whole, mobile analytics provides the intelligence needed to help marketers get the absolute most out of each and every message they send – and make it across the finish line every time.
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