There’s a lot of competitive traffic in the mobile marketing space, and today Urban Airship is unveiling several new features that it hopes will help it rise above the pack.
While the company is known for its push notifications and inbox messaging, it is now introducing In-App Messaging Campaigns. Marketers will be able to publish messages to app home pages as part of a campaign.
The messages can deep-link within the app, provide tags to help marketers segment users into groups, and be linked to landing pages created from templates.
An app publisher or marketer, for instance, might want to send a message inviting a new user to check out shopping features in the app, with a link to a landing page for more details. Or he might encourage the user to opt-in for push notifications, with a discount code for a future purchase as a reward.
A related new feature is Lifecycle Lists, Urban Airship’s name for the ability to automate messaging or other mobile marketing. A List can automatically send out emails when triggered to do so by an app un-install, for instance, or it can deliver an in-app message to encourage purchases — but only after the new user has gotten a chance to settle in.
To better control the flood of user data, Urban Airship is also releasing what it calls the Mobile Data Bridge.
This takes mobile data supplied from Urban Airship’s platform — messaging interactions, app installs, location data, and the like — and marries it with mobile and non-mobile data from other sources, like customer relationship management, point-of-sale, and back-office enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
Such merging allows customer profiles to be built within the Urban Airship platform with more than mobile data. Before, director of product marketing Bill Schneider told me, “We were able to collect data from these different platforms,” but the new capability allows CRM, ERP, and other non-Urban Airship data to be integrated into the platform’s profiles.
The mobile marketer can, for instance, offer a welcome message to the smartphone of a frequent customer as she enters a physical store. The message could invite her to use some of those loyalty points she’s been building up.
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That identification is possible because the profile has CRM data from the store integrated into the mobile profile and triggered by store’s geofencing.
Similarly, product-tracking data in the ERP could be used to trigger a mobile message to that user’s app, when a product she abandoned in a shopping cart has dropped in price.
If a marketer wants to create a customer segmentation in, say, the CRM — generating different levels of “loyal customers,” for instance — he can do so and then export that segmentation to the Urban Airship platform through a new Audience Uploader. The results of mobile marketing campaigns can then return data to the CRM.
And the company is now offering built-in support for interactive notifications on Apple’s Watch.
“We think the Watch is going to be a great notification system,” Schneider told us.
The platform’s location triggers are enabled through an alliance with proximity engagement platform Gimbal. This will allow automated notifications to be sent to smartphones, smartwatches, and other mobile devices, when triggered by beacons or geofencing.
Collectively, the company said these new features — currently in beta and launching later this month when Urban Airship also releases its new SDK — help address a mobile marketer’s needs for targeted communication with mobile users across online and offline environments, which now include the Apple Watch.
Director of communications Corey Gault told me that, in a crowded competitive space that includes large marketing platforms like Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud and pure plays like AppBoy and Kahuna, Urban Airship’s differentiator is that it offers “a turnkey solution.”
He said that the In-App Messaging Campaigns, for example, offer “in-app messages, interactive notification buttons, landing page authoring, deep linking, dynamic segment tag collection, and native social-sharing capabilities built in, [making it easy] for a marketer to build a campaign in minutes, not hours or even days.”