In-App Messaging: Two Truths and a Lie

It’s the classic icebreaker: of three statements, two are true and one is a lie. We’ll just tell you the lie up front.

You know about push notifications that light up your device with alerts. In-app messaging is another tool in your messaging arsenal; a nuanced way to reach active users, tell brand stories through rich content and gather app user responses through interactive buttons.

Despite these benefits, in-app messaging is still new to many marketers. Here’s two truths about in-app messaging to get you up to speed, and one lie that we’ll help straighten out.

TRUTH: One Size Does Not Fit All

In-app messaging can take a number of forms: banner style in-app notifications or full-screen rich landing pages served up as temporary overlays on your app’s pages, or as persistent, brand-expirable content within an in-app Message Center. All the features supported by standard push messages including actions, automation and interactive buttons are available through in-app messaging.
Rich content or simple text, high-urgency banners or low urgency now-or-later reading in the Message Center, in-app messaging offer versatility, nuance and flexibility in how you reach your users.

TRUTH: In-App Messaging Engages Active Users and Opt-Outs

In-app messaging expands your reach to all of your app users — those who have opted-in and opted-out of push notifications.

Android users are automatically opted in to push notifications. The average 45% opt-in rate for iOS leaves 55% of iOS users unengaged. That’s where in-app messages (reaching all users except those who have disabled Background App Refresh) and Message Center (reaching 100% of users) come in.

LIE: You Can Only Send One Type of Message at a Time

Nope. An in-app message can be sent in conjunction with a push notification or on its own. Sending a push draws opt-in audiences into the app. In-app messaging can encourage both opt outs and opt ins to take action while they are already engaging with your brand.

In our latest Mobile Engagement Benchmark Survey, we found that message center messages typically receive 8x the direct response rates of push notifications, receiving an average engagement rate of 26%. High-performing apps (those in the 90th percentile) see 44% read rates, so the opportunity for engagement through in-app messages is high. In addition, combining a push notification with a message center message doubles read rates.

Want to Get Started with In-App Messaging?

If your app has Urban Airship SDK 6.0 or later installed, and your mobile app users are on iOS8+ or Android 4.0+, you can use in-app messages today. Download our In-App Messaging Inspiration Guide or check out our technical documentation to get started!