How to get started with mobile app personalization
Personalization has been a hot marketing trend for years now, and it’s certainly not just limited to websites or email campaigns. You can personalize mobile apps as well, providing customers with a unique experience while they’re on the go.
Whether you’re an executive or business owner who wants to personalize your mobile app or a marketer who needs a refresher on it, personalization is an important element to fold into your business — especially as customers increasingly expect it.
In this article, we’ll break down how mobile app personalization works, why it’s a great addition to your marketing strategy, and how you can personalize your app. Specifically, you’ll learn:
- What app personalization is
- The benefits of mobile app personalization
- How to personalize your app
- How to get started with mobile app personalization
What is app personalization?
App personalization is the process of using customer data to shape an app’s user experience (UX). With app personalization, you design an app for a specific user instead of giving all users the same generic experience. The goal is to improve the overall user experience and make an A-plus impression with your audience — with the ultimate objective of boosting customer retention and revenue.
But app personalization is only possible if you have the right customer data. Demographics, location information, interests, and other data points will help you serve up personalized messaging to each customer and create a unique in-app experience. That could come in the form of push notifications, personalized in-app recommendations, special offers, and more.
Keep in mind that app personalization isn’t the same as customization or segmentation. Personalization is all about a business providing a unique experience to an individual customer. Customization, on the other hand, is when the customer creates a unique experience for themselves without the need for the company to provide it to them. Segmentation can definitely help with personalization, but it still categorizes customers into broader categories instead of creating individual experiences.
The benefits of mobile app personalization
Personalization might sound daunting, but it’s the right move for your business. Mobile app personalization provides benefits ranging from improved customer loyalty to conversions.
Let’s dive into the reasons why more businesses are investing in personalization for apps.
1. Improves user retention and engagement
Personalization gives users a reason to continue using your app after they download it. Since you’re giving them exactly what they want, they have a reason to keep returning to your app, which is great for retention.
App personalization also improves engagement. Users are more likely to engage with content that’s specifically recommended for their history and interests, so this is a must for boosting in-app engagement.
2. Provides a better overall experience
Forbes found that 88% of marketers say they invest in personalization to improve the customer experience. And they’re onto something — personalization improves the customer experience in your app and overall. If you play your cards right, app personalization allows you to create an omnichannel experience where your app and website work in tandem to improve the customer experience.
With personalization, customers no longer have to search for the content they want. Now, it’s served to them directly through notifications. This saves time, gives customers what they want, and improves customer satisfaction.
3. Increases customer loyalty
When you overhaul the customer experience, you’ll enjoy greater brand loyalty. If app personalization serves your customers, it will keep them around longer — and maybe even inspire them to recommend your brand to others.
Plus, users who get the most value out of your app personalization are more likely to leave a positive review on an app store. That’s the perfect ingredient for retention as well as new user acquisition.
4. Gives you better awareness of your customers
To personalize properly, you need a large amount of customer data. This information will give you insight into your customers’ biggest pain points and needs, which you can use to hyper-personalize your app content.
With more customer data on your side, you’ll have a better understanding of:
- The people who use your app
- When they’re using it
- What customers want from you
You can use these data points to not only personalize your app but also make sounder business decisions based on the needs of your actual customers.
5. Creates more in-app conversions
By serving up a personalized offer, discount, or recommendation, you’re increasing the odds of a conversion. Since you generated the offer based on customer data, it’s much more appealing — and users are more likely to take you up on it.
Higher levels of engagement lead to higher conversion rates, which means you’ll see more revenue for your efforts too. In fact, 89% of marketers say that website and app personalization increased their revenue.
6. Helps an app stand out
The Apple App Store alone has nearly 2 million apps available. There are so many apps out there, and there’s a chance that other brands offer exactly what you do. You need to convince users to go with your app instead of another one.
App personalization is a key differentiator. Personalized content will help your app stand out and give users a reason to keep coming back. If you’re engaged in ruthless competition with another app, personalization can give you the edge you need.
How to personalize your app
You likely understand the value of personalization — but when it’s time to implement it, business leaders are sometimes left scratching their heads. Every app is different, but these five steps will allow you to get started with mobile app personalization.
1. Figure out what data you want and collect it
The first step to creating a personalized app is to establish what kind of customer data you’ll collect. That might include:
- Purchase history
You need to determine the data you will use to personalize the customer experience. For example, maybe you want to use purchase history data to push exclusive offers to shoppers based on what they’ve bought in the past. Once you’ve established how you’re going to personalize, you can begin collecting the relevant data or leveraging the data you already have.
The goal of mobile app personalization is to improve the overall user experience and make an A-plus impression with your audience — with the ultimate objective of boosting customer retention and revenue.
2. Be mindful of privacy
You need to tread carefully when you personalize an app. Personalization is a tightrope act of creating a unique customer experience without making things too creepy.
Customers are willing to exchange their data for a personalized experience, but even so, you shouldn’t make them uncomfortable. For example, if you push SMS notifications when a shopper walks past your storefront, they might find that too intrusive.
3. Personalize in the app
You can do in-app personalization through product recommendations, unique offers, and messaging directed at the user. Using a customer’s name is a good start, but you can go further with contextual targeting to serve messages based on time of day, location, device type, and more.
4. Alerts and push notifications
Push notifications are a great way to re-engage users, avoid cart abandonment, and generally improve brand awareness. You can alert shoppers about a restock of their favorite item, tell them about a flash sale on a product they recently viewed, or send a unique deal that’s just for them.
Just make sure your push notifications are relevant to the user’s needs and that you don’t send them too often. Notifications can quickly become annoying, and too high of a frequency will cause shoppers to turn off their notifications. Remember, balance is best.
5. Experiment and optimize
Mobile app personalization isn’t easy. It takes time to perfect, which means you need to test different strategies constantly to create an effective experience.
Use A/B testing to see what types of messaging work best with your customers. You can continuously optimize personalization through user feedback and trial and error.
Make sure the personalization adapts to how users are actually using the app. It shouldn’t be over-tuned to give tons of recommendations after a single tap.
Getting started with mobile app personalization
Personalization might sound like more work, but it generates impressive returns that businesses just can’t ignore. Personalized apps improve user retention and lead to more conversions. In a market where you need every advantage you can get, app personalization is a must-have.
When you’re ready to get started, begin by identifying the data you want to collect from your customers. Keep privacy in mind, offer in-app personalization, lean into push notifications, and optimize your personalization settings over time. When it’s time to find a solution, Adobe can help.
If you’re ready to take the next step, Adobe Target is a personalization solution that delivers the right experiences to every single customer at scale. Using a combination of A/B and multivariate testing, it works as a powerful optimization engine across screens and channels.
Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform can help collect, normalize, and unify known and unknown individual and company data into robust customer and account profiles — that automatically update in real time.