How Important Is App Personalization?

Every mobile app measures its performance based on designated conversion events. Dating apps aim to amass profiles and paid subscribers. E-commerce apps exist to capture account information and make sales. Travel apps help mobile users book transportation, lodging, and other trip details. Gaming apps motivate customers to make in-app purchases. While the specific goals vary, the principle remains the same across the board.

But this does not mean any type of app will find success offering a one-size-fits-all user experience. After all, people take different routes to installing and engaging with apps. There’s no universal user journey. And while it’s important to understand your target audience, it’s dangerous to assume users will conform to the same behavior just because they share a common interest in your app.

How important is app personalization? Well, it can mean the difference between truly engaging app users to install and convert and failing to do so. Consider its implications at two different stages.

Personalized App Marketing Campaigns

True, over half (57 percent) of media users’ time takes place in mobile apps—a promising statistic for app developers and marketers. But over half of users (51 percent) don’t download any apps over the course of a month. And when mobile users do install new apps, it tends to be just one or two in a month. This means competition is fiercer than ever for earning coveted installs on people’s smartphones and tablets.

It’s safe to assume most mobile users already encounter many ads as they go about their business. That’s why a personalized approach to marketing targets lookalike audiences with dynamic advertisements catered to them. Targeting lookalike audiences ensures marketers are not hemorrhaging ad spend on “shots in the dark,” but instead targeting people who exhibit characteristics similar to active app users. Remember, the install is just the first step; it’s how users engage over time that really matters for your bottom line.

Furthermore, these ads can be programmatically assembled in real-time based on user data like demographic information, screen size, and operating system. Ads start as a template, but gender, geographical location, age and lifestyle variables determine the final look and feel. Likewise, your approach to Android app advertising will look slightly different from the ads you serve to an iPhone user.

Long story short: Audiences will see their own preferences reflected back to them, making these personalized ads stand out from the pack. This helps users understand how the app relates to their needs rather than just anyone with a mobile device.

In-App Personalization

In-app personalization hinges on reacting in real-time to user behavior and data. The idea is that your app can provide users with what they want and need at an opportune time, boosting the chances they’ll keep engaging. As Inc. writes, “A classic example is sending push notifications like coupons or other helpful information to consumers when they’re exploring something they can buy from their device.”

According to some sources, push notifications can increase app retention by 20 percent. But sending haphazard push notifications can backfire in the form of customer confusion and frustration. Irrelevant messages only add friction to users’ overall mobile experience rather than enhancing it. By contrast, savvy in-app personalization factors in context like user location and in-app behavior to deliver targeted messaging. As a result, users experience prompts that correspond with their individual journey.

It’s worth asking yourself how important app personalization is in our current marketplace. With so much competition abound, marketers really can’t afford to serve generic ads or offer one broad user experience. Increasingly, people expect their app usage to reflect themselves.

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