Digital Marketing Insights from eBay, Under Armour and SmartNews: Recapping the “Mobile Meat-Up” event

Last month, we brought several leaders together to discuss digital engagement at The Mobile Growth House’s “Mobile Meat-Up” during SXSW 2018 where thought leaders from eBay, Under Armour and Smart News shared their perspectives with our very own Alyssa Meritt.

Here’s a recap of our favorite highlights, themes and more.

Interested in hearing other industry leaders share their thoughts? Stay on the lookout for one of our Digital Engagement Forums coming this year around the world.

Meeting App Users In the Moment

“This past year I think in terms of big wins for the business is really seeing how our consumers reacted to us launching the shopping app, and the incremental benefit was large. We’ve found that people who download the app are our most loyal users and brand fans. So when you compare this audience to the shopping behavior of those on our mobile website we found that our app user conversion rates were higher, they spend more and they spend more often. I really think its the tools that you can use within apps to get them to engage and re-engage and come back and the retention that you can leverage through push notifications and app messaging, you know, retargeting capabilities.” – Angela Hawkins, Mobile Marketing Lead at Under Armour

“On the eBay side of the house, if you still like the auction and the immediacy of auctions, push is very important there. Because if you’re watching an item and it’s about to expire, we’re gonna trigger something at like twenty minutes before to let you know ‘Hey come back, that item you’re watching is about to expire.’ If you’re bidding on something, and someone outbids you, we push messages to you to let you know ‘Jump back into the eBay app, your item, you’ve been out bid’ to make sure you still can be a player and potentially win that item. And then you can  increase your bid right there on the fly.” – James Meeks, Head of Mobile at eBay

Why App Onboarding is Important — and How to Make It Successful

“Consumers expect you to show something that they either like or are interested in and so in order to figure out what they are interested in, you have to ask them questions. For the Under Armour shopping app, we have an onboarding that we put every single user through, its a series of five different questions — it’s like a handshake — ‘thank you for coming to our app, let’s get to know you.’ Tell us what you’re interested in, are you a runner, are you a cyclist, are you into yoga? Do you shop for men or women? What of the Under Armour athletes inspire you so we have a list of our professional athletes like Tom Brady and Jordan Spieth. New users go through this onboarding and then it gives us a way to reach back out to them.”  – Angela Hawkins, Mobile Marketing Lead at Under Armour

“Brands need that preference center to truly understand that behavior, because you don’t want to send someone a push and an email with the exact same content. If I know you’re an engaged push notifications user then maybe I don’t send you as many emails but then at the same time, maybe there are better times for me to engage with you via email, that I know you wouldn’t normally respond to a push. I think you have a strategy where they all talk to each other across multiple text points so you can know this customer does this at this time, so I’m gonna send them this type of message.”  – James Meeks, Head of Mobile at eBay

Machine Learning Makes Delivering Relevant Content Smarter and Easier

“We try to break the news about ten to fifteen minutes before most of the major news apps through a combination of machine learning and human operation. We want to leverage machine learning and start surfacing content around your interests based on what news content you view in the app. But it will never replace the essential news from both sides and the top ten headlines are still gonna be challenging your assumption.” – Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, Head of U.S. Marketing at SmartNews

Trigger Messaging for Smarter Engagement

“The first thing that comes is behavioral triggers. I think that those do very well, so based on the behavior that a user has within the app, you’re basically triggering messages that relate to that. One of the most successful triggers that we have for the Under Armour app is the abandon cart trigger — as soon as someone leaves three days later they’ll get a push notification that says, ‘You still have this amazing gear in your cart.’ And the sales skyrocket. I think when people are on mobile, its a convenience, which is great — but that also means that they’re probably doing a lot of other things at the same time. So reminding them to come back and shop is a big moment.”  – Angela Hawkins, Mobile Marketing Lead at Under Armour

“Behavioral triggers are absolutely helpful – you have to have those embedded in your experience to truly understand what your customers are doing. I think you also want to build a preference center, so customers can choose the type of messages or types of ways you can engage with them. At eBay, we’ve set up our app so you can opt into push notifications, but there’s a number of levers, which you can pull within push too — so if you’re not interested in selling, we’re not gonna encourage you to start selling if you don’t want to. We’re also connected across our digital properties: if we’re pushing you a message and we also have your SMS, your phone number, and we also have your email, if we reengaged you on one channel, we don’t want to spend money elsewhere knowing that we already got you via that first channel. You have to be smart and understand that your systems need to talk to each other.”  – James Meeks, Head of Mobile at eBay

Creating an Omnichannel Experience with Orchestration

“I think what you, you have to find a good mix of it and you can collect the data, it’s how you put it back in the customer’s face, which is really important there. So I’d be subtle about the decisions I’ve made and the types of, ways in which I’d message a customer, based on what I know about them.” – James Meeks, Head of Mobile at eBay

“I think that, that creating of a customer profile, what you choose to actually message on versus what you choose to have a wider view of the customer’s, such as multiple touch points across different preps, apps or properties is interesting and also what they prefer from their channel perspective. I think that we’re moving towards more of this omnichannel world.” – Angela Hawkins, Mobile Marketing Lead at Under Armour

Always Be Testing to Continually, Learn, Refine and Improve

“At Under Armour we say always be testing. We spend about 80% of our budget and our time on things that we know work, and that work well, and the other 20% of our budget and our time we spend on testing new things and I think KPI’s play a big factor to that. So, if your key performance indicator is revenue then that needs to be decided on a monthly basis. Our entire marketing team has access to our data. So, on a monthly basis we’re always meeting and interpreting the data and interpreting the success and performance of previous campaigns and making decisions and optimizing based on that.”  – Angela Hawkins, Mobile Marketing Lead at Under Armour

“Don’t interpret data in vacuum with just the marketing team, or one person on the team. Make sure you share the data with other teams, like product. In our case, we share it with content — we try to have at least one 30 minute stand up every week to discuss data and different customer touchpoints.” – Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, Head of U.S. Marketing at SmartNews

“I definitely think you should test different strategies when it comes to messaging. A lot of times companies just go out the door with things and they stick with it. Test it, learn from it, see what the data says and really understand what the behaviors are of the customers after they’ve engaged with you. You have to look at more than just revenue. A lot of times people think “Well, if I send this message, how do I attribute it to revenue?” It’s not just revenue, you got to look at your opt out rates, people who uninstall the app, etc. It’s a full like all encompassing picture. The data’s truly going to tell the story.” – James Meeks, Head of Mobile at eBay