A short message solution to reviving apps

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Oh, hi there, apps.
Oh, hi there, apps.

With the influx of OTT messaging services like WhatsApp, GroupMe, and iMessaging it might seem like SMS is nearing the end of its lifecycle. But for the marketing community, SMS could be the key to unlocking success by prompting downloads from websites and encouraging users to spend more time engaging with applications. Although the majority of time and resources are spent driving downloads, marketers must also think about the integrated effort that goes into driving loyalty for their apps.

While it's imperative for marketers to allocate resources toward customer acquisition, every brand knows that it's more cost effective to manage and maintain relationships with existing customers. But the road can be challenging for marketers who choose to nurture those relationships through apps. Industry data shows a staggering 80 to 90% of downloaded apps are eventually deleted, and less than 5% of the respondents who download an app are actively using it 20 days after purchase. This rapid attrition rate demonstrates the importance of creating lasting customer engagements rather than simply targeting downloads.

To remedy this fragmentation, marketers are turning to SMS as a strategy to not only drive downloads, but to inspire ongoing interaction and engagement with users. SMS works as a call-to-action for customers, encouraging them to make a publisher's app part of their regular routine, post-download.

While there are many channels open to app marketers ranging from push notifications and display banners to mobile video and 2D barcodes, research shows 59% of people respond to SMS messages within the first hour of receiving them; 41% respond within the first ten minutes. SMS is also extremely ubiquitous. Text messaging is universal and widely regarded as the native language of mobile that allows marketers to get closer to their customer, more than any other communication channel invented.

From an implementation standpoint, SMS complements other marketing mechanisms, including push notifications, where an app notifies the user of new messages or events—even when the app is closed on the device. It can also be used to reach all mobile devices globally and even reconnect with users who have already deleted an app.

A recent white paper released by tyntec and authored by mobile analyst, Peggy Ann Salz, discusses how SMS can drive positive results in a variety of app marketing scenarios referred to in the paper as “the 3 R's”:

  • Relationship: SMS can be used to build a closer relationship between app marketers and their customers by sending regular, personalized updates with relevant information about the app.
  • Recommendation: Additional app sales can be driven by embedding ‘invite a friend' functionality powered by SMS, thus allowing users to share an app they love with friends and peers.
  • Reactivation: Because SMS allows marketers to communicate with users who have deleted their app, text messaging can be employed to attempt to reengage.

Using SMS to engage with app users can help marketers reinvigorate usage among existing customers and reactivate users who have previously deleted their app—all the while, driving revenue and breathing new life into the app. For app marketers looking to improve performance, text messaging can be the key to supercharging any app marketing strategy.

Thorsten Trapp is cofounder and CTO of tyntec.

DMNotes is DMN's around-the-clock blog. Yes, a blog in 2016.

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