Three ways context helps cut through the mobile “noise”

18 January 2019

Mobile usage has greatly evolved over the past years. Today, we use mobiles for much more than communications, and it has become challenging to engage users. In these settings, context can positively impact mobile strategy and success. Here are three ways context can help you make a smarter mobile strategy.

Mobile phones have become more than communication tools. We use them to manage our schedules and finances, monitor our connected homes, order meals or groceries, shop for holiday gifts, navigate new places and conduct business, even at a global scale. It’s no wonder that Americans spend an average of 70+ hours a week on our phones. With more than 6 million mobile applications available for download from app stores, users can find one to facilitate almost any task imaginable.

However, this wave of mobile saturation has created an almost deafening level of industry noise, which makes engagement with users a huge challenge. Companies of all types and sizes are targeting mobile users with notifications and ads in an effort to capture their attention. The average mobile user has as many as 100 apps on a single device, and the message overload from these apps often causes users to turn off notifications and disable important features that open channels for engagement.

Beyond that, marketplace saturation gives users nearly unlimited options. If your app doesn’t meet or exceed expectations, it quickly gets deleted or ignored, so the onus is on the application to prove its value within a very short window. In just 30 days, apps typically lose 90 percent of daily active users. And Connecthings research shows that the majority of applications are missing the mark by not incorporating a critical element – user context.

Why Context Matters

Over the last decade, the mobile industry has refined the ability to use location data for segmenting customers and creating targeted campaigns, but just acknowledging the location of users is no longer enough. Considering factors such as time of day, user behavior, weather and historical patterns then mapping this data to application usage gives companies an unprecedented edge in the mobile marketplace.

Man waiting for train looking at his smartphone

Here are three important ways context can positively impact mobile strategy and success:

1.    Smarter engagement strategies

Uniting data about application usage with location intelligence provides meaningful insights to drive application development decisions. It can be powerful to understand where users are when they are using an app – not just in terms of a pin drop on a map, but in the context of the users’ surroundings and behavior. This can further help in targeting messages and creating opportunities for engagement. For instance, if a large percentage of users actively engage with an app when they are at home in the evening, marketers can apply this knowledge to launch targeted campaigns to re-engage inactive users. The same strategy can target users at new times and for new purposes. This insight can also reveal patterns for inactive users, which can be translated into opportunities to re-engage them.

2.    More refined market segmentation

It’s no secret that market segmentation is key to delivering the right message, but context can further refine the strategy. Demographics provide limited visibility into the activities and interests of users. However, understanding user behavior in the context of location can provide deep insights into the mobile audience. A grocery store app can leverage analytics to identify users who often shop at night, then launch a campaign to target them for home delivery. A mobile gaming app may realize that many users are taking public transportation for their daily commutes. They could then create a campaign that offers in-app deals or short adventures to earn rewards and deliver messages about these opportunities when users in this segment start their morning commutes.

3.    Increased relevance for improved user value

Connecthings research shows that mobile users want “smarter” applications that understand their preferences, and will deliver information and notifications that are practical and relevant to them in the moment. It is a bonus when applications can go one step further and anticipate user needs and wants based on their location and behavioral patterns, and proactively offer solutions. The only way to achieve this is by incorporating user context.

By delivering messages at the right time and place, mobile applications increase relevance to users, improving the likelihood of engagement. Consider a retail application that delivers an ad to a user within close proximity. If it is delivered at 10 a.m. while the user is in business meetings, the notification will not translate to foot traffic and chances are high that they will ignore the notification completely. However, if this brand incorporated context into its mobile strategy, it would recognize based on behavior that this user is at work during the typical time frame but passes the store every evening during her morning commute. It could then adjust the campaign to instead deliver its message before the user leaves work, dramatically improving chances for engagement

Cutting through the “noise” of saturation

As user demand for smarter applications grows, it will be critical for mobile applications to incorporate context into their mobile strategies. Those who adopt this methodology early will see dramatic gains in engagement, popularity and even revenue, and will cut through the “noise” of mobile oversaturation.

Learn more about mobile usage and user concerns with our 2019 Mobile Usage Trends Report!

Was published originally on Martech Series

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