Why it’s time for marketing budgets to align with market share

Mobile is the only media channel that is growing, but looking at most brands’ marketing budgets, you wouldn’t guess. Mobile is big and getting bigger, but many brands aren’t capitalizing on the opportunity mobile presents.

You can produce a great app – but that’s not enough when your competitors are also generating quality content. On top of getting your app noticed, retaining your audience is a challenge. The secret to keeping your users active and excited is mobile engagement.

The best opportunity on mobile lies in engagement

For consumer brands, strategic app messaging – both push notifications and in-app messages – is especially important. Unlike a retail brand, your mobile objectives likely have a stronger focus on brand awareness than commerce. To stay relevant to your audience, it’s critical that you continually find new ways to engage and offer value.

Getting messaging right takes practice. You need to be creative and fit your branding, but also personal and consumer-focused. Your messages must be timely and relevant to the user.

Brands can do better

At Carnival, we get consumer brands. In fact, some of the world’s biggest brands use our technology to creatively engage their mobile audience – including 2013’s Mobile Marketer of the Year, Mondelez International.

With 90% of branded apps having less than 10,000 users, and 80-90% of apps being downloaded and eventually deleted, we know brands can do better.

Below is a guide of 11 messaging tactics you should be using, but may be missing. Follow us to engage strategically, and you just might find 1% of your marketing budget influencing 25% of your revenue.

Engagement, 11 ways

1. Onboarding campaigns

The first week of your user’s app life is the most important. Familiarize users with your app through onboarding notifications during the first 3-7 days. Highlight app features and point out basic how-tos. Loyal app users will be those who understand all that your experience has to offer – so spend time to create good onboarding messages and avoid early churn.

Sherman-Williams does a great job of using in-app messages to explain how to use its ColorSnap app. Clear multi-step directions ensure that its users will never have trouble matching a paint color again.


2. App-based reminders

Entice users back into your app with message calls-to-action. Marketers use CTAs across all other digital channels, so mobile should be no different. After all, if you want your audience to do something, tell them to do it! Message users when it’s time to make a move in a game, a limited-time offer is ending, or a product is still in their cart.

Words With Friends by Zynga and Candy Crush Saga by King are classic examples of entertainment apps that use reminders to keep players active. Words With Friends prompts players to make a move when it’s their turn, and Candy Crush alerts when new lives are available.


3. Reactivation campaigns

Unfortunately, regular users sometimes slip into dormancy. Breaks from usage happen, but now is when your “couples counseling” skills need to hit overdrive or deletion is inevitable. Use retargeting messages to excite and remind how your app drives value for the user, and if possible, incentivize users to take action. Or, if your app is campaign-focused, use messages to retarget users after your app has been refreshed.

Coca-Cola, for example, partnered with Buffalo Wild Wings to launch the Big Kick Challenge app during the NCAA football season. After football season ended, the brands refreshed the app for March Madness – calling it Big Shot Challenge. Coca-Cola used in-app messages to retarget the Big Kick audience and introduce them to the new challenge.

To learn more about Coca-Cola and BWW’s messaging strategy and results, download our case study.

Download Coca-Cola Case Study

4. Event-based content

Big events and holidays provide the perfect opportunity to engage users with messaging. Stay relevant with content that fits with things happening in your users’ lives. Consumer brands excel in eliciting a holiday emotion to promote a product. Messages that lean on real-life tie ins will not only increase eyeballs, but show your users that you’re not blinding marketing.

Oreo is the all time champion of leveraging real-time events (even unexpected ones) to drive product awareness. As the 2013 Super Bowl geared up, Oreo generated pre-game excitement by announcing a limited-edition football shaped Oreo cookie in its OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk app.


5. Localized marketing

One size usually doesn’t fit all. Your audience wants to feel like you’ve tailored content to them, and location-specific messages help achieve this. Advanced mobile messaging platforms, such as the Carnival Mobile Marketing Suite, allow you to target specific communities at a given time (geotargeting) or alert users when they enter a specific area (geofencing).

Nabisco employed geotargeting to drive massive engagement from its 1D VIP mobile audience. On the mornings before One Direction concerts, the brand sent messages to fans in the local city to amp excitement. Nabisco’s highly creative messages (see #11) were timely and locally-relevant, resulting in 55% engagement in some cities.

To learn more about Nabisco’s localized messaging and results, download our case study.

Download Nabisco Case Study

6. Time-sensitive messaging

We can’t say it enough – relevancy is everything. Hit users’ phone fronts at the right time, and you’re more likely to prompt an app open. Get to know your audience and send them notifications that align with their daily activities. Or, deliver messages that coincide with your other marketing initiatives.

The Oreo marketing team masters timely messaging to reach customers from multiple touch points at the same time. Oreo doubled down on its Super Bowl television investment by coordinating OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk messages with its TV ads.


Read on about Oreo’s Super Bowl app messaging; download our case study.

Download Oreo Case Study

7. Drive to social

Let your mobile audience promote your app for you. Pre-seed in-app messages that users will want to share, and make it easy for users to share app activity with their friends on networks like Facebook and Twitter.

The Nike+ Running app is a model for brands looking to make social sharing fluid. After completing runs, the app triggers an in-app message with users’ brag-worthy stats ready to share.


8. Video

Engagement success is reliant on variety. Sending boring messages over and over again is the fastest way to get your app deleted.

Alternate standard messages with rich media – like videos. Video is consumed on phones more than any other medium, so consider giving your audience something fun to watch that entertains or provides utility (for example, a training video) to boost engagement.

The Stride Gumulon app included a video to teaches users how to play. The fun tone of the video reinforces the Stride brand, and did we mention Gumulon is a chewing-controlled mobile game?


9. Poll

Provide your audience with a chance to have their opinion heard with polls. Survey your audience to get users thinking about your project, spark a debate, or even solicit brand feedback. Polls are quick and easy to respond to, so a great way to drive users into your app.

CNN and Time Magazine used well-timed polls to generate feedback from delegates during the 2012 Presidential Debate. Within three minutes of speakers leaving the podium, CNN and Time captured insider-opinions and could confidently deliver real-time news.

Download our case study to learn more about CNN’s app messaging and ground-breaking results.

Download CNN Case Study

10. Scratch-and-win coupon

Everyone loves a deal. Go beyond your standard coupon giveaway with a game-like message –  the scratch-and-win coupon, available through the Carnival platform. Designed like a scratch ticket, these messages can excite your audience with chance to win in and out-of-game prizes. Sending a coupon to your customers is good, but combining that discount with a lottery-like game is better.

AMPM used Carnival to launch a fun and rewarding scratch-and-win activation. Each day, AMPM Scratch Power app users were notified of one chance to play the game, with an opportunity to win prizes (redeemable in-store). The promotion rewarded customers for their loyalty and gave them multiple reasons to visit AMPM stores.


11. Fake phone call

Elevate your marketing with unexpected message formats. Rich messages like Carnival’s fake phone call allow you to “call” your app audience to drive excitement and app opens.

What’s more exciting than a call from your favorite band member? For One Direction fans, very little. Nabisco used Carnival’s simulated phone call messaging tactic to send the 1D VIP app audience calls from One Direction. Users “accepted” the call and were delighted by a pre-recorded message from the guys dialing up excitement for the upcoming concert and announcing a chance to win free tickets.


Mobile offers unparalleled opportunities to engage. Through creative messaging techniques and strategic timing, consumer brands can drive brand awareness and foster customer loyalty.

Have questions or interested in learning more about any of these tactics? Contact us! We’d love to hear from you. 

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