Mastering Mobile: 3 Strategies for Capturing Customer Attention

Harriet McNaughton EMEA Marketing Manager Airship

Every brand faces the challenge of capturing and retaining customer attention. Understanding how to effectively engage users within the crucial first 30 days after app download is key. In our recent webinar, Jennie Lewis, Sr. Manager of Customer Insights at Airship, explored key strategies for optimizing mobile app engagement and driving business impact.

Mobile: A Lifecycle & Lifestyle

Mobile is more than just a channel. It’s an integral part of how we live — our relationships, homes, health, money, shopping, information, news, vacations, and much much more. With the bulk of internet traffic (and now online sales) originating from smartphones and most of consumers’ mobile time spent on apps, it’s evident there’s a new preferred destination for experience today.

Yet, the challenge remains: average Day 30 activation rates have barely budged in years, and most consumers (57%) decide whether to delete an app in one or two uses. Lewis zeroes in on the Activation phase of the mobile app lifecycle, which spans the first 30 days after download, and highlights its significance in shaping user behavior and driving long-term customer engagement.

By implementing 3 key strategies, brands can enhance app activation rates and improve key business metrics, such as purchase conversion. Let’s explore.

1. Identify Your Customers
Lewis emphasized the value of identifying users early in the lifecycle. Airship research indicates that identified users have 4X higher activation rates and are more likely to convert than anonymous users. By leveraging customer profiles and historical data, brands can personalize experiences and foster deeper connections with their audience.

2. Get Opt-In Permissions
Obtaining opt-in permissions for push notifications is crucial for driving app engagement and retention. Lewis stressed the importance of using soft prompts or native app screens to explain the benefits of opting in before presenting users with operating system prompts. Brands that effectively communicate the value proposition of push notifications and optimize how they ask users for opt-ins can achieve higher opt-in rates and ultimately increase purchase frequency.

3. Gather Preferences
Understanding user preferences is essential for delivering personalized experiences that resonate with customers. Lewis discussed various methods for collecting preferences, including preference centers, interest-based surveys and contextual data. By progressively gathering and leveraging preferences, brands can enhance targeting accuracy and drive higher conversion rates.

Opt-In Insights from Sustainability B-Corp, Olio 

Jennie Lewis chatted with Honey Hodgson, Engagement Marketing Lead at Olio, a certified B Corporation focused on creating a circular economy within communities. They discussed the importance of activating customers within the first 30 days of app download and strategies for encouraging opt-ins to push notifications. They also shared insights from their favorite brands, such as Duolingo, and discussed aspirations for the future of Olio, including optimizing communication preferences and testing new features. 

Olio recently implemented an opt-in campaign that had a 51% conversion rate. Amid concerns of potential decline following the Android 13 rollout, their aim was to drive opt-ins from users who had previously opted out and users who had not yet made an opt-in selection. After deploying an A/B test with Airship and seeing record conversion rates, they achieved a 24% increase in opt-in rates YoY and were able to guide future campaign approaches. 

Overall, Lewis and Hodgson emphasized the importance of personalized communication and ongoing engagement in driving long-term retention and success in mobile. 

Capture Customer Attention with Airship  

Mastering mobile app experiences requires a strategic approach to Life After Download™, and that begins with improving user progress through the activation stage of the lifecycle. Apps that outperform their category in activation focus on user identification, opt-in permissions and preference gathering. By implementing these strategies and committing to continuous experimentation and optimization, you can effectively capture long-term value and lasting customer relationships.

Watch our on-demand webinar, Capture Customer Attention: 3 Strategies in 30 Days, to gain valuable insights and delve deeper into each strategy.

To see how your app compares to your category on critical activation benchmarks, please download our Activation Benchmarks Report.

Get in touch to learn how Airship can help you acquire, activate and engage app customers.