Mobile marketing is a huge undertaking, and it’s only getting bigger. Every technological development introduces a new step to the marketing process — and usually, adds a new tool to your marketing stack.
To cut through the confusion, we’ve assembled a list of tools that will make your life as a mobile marketer easier. From acquisition tracking to increasing customer lifetime value, we’ve got you covered.
What it is: mParticle is a customer data platform (CDP) for mobile apps. The product pulls data from various sources, such as mobile apps and external data warehouses. mParticle then allows users to access that raw data with different tools, or to funnel it into marketing automation platforms. The data can then be used for marketing activities like messaging or A/B testing.
Why it matters: Compared to traditional analytics platforms, mParticle gives clients more control over their data. The software enables users to sync data from websites and cloud apps in addition to mobile apps, which is valuable for products that have non-app offerings. Clients can also enrich their user data by matching customers across devices and filling in demographic information with third-party sources.
What it is: Segment is a data platform that enables users to funnel data from various sources into different marketing platforms. The product boasts an optimized data capturing process, resulting in better battery usage and performance for the end user. It also makes it easier for mobile teams to analyze their data through SQL without bearing the full technical burden of managing their own database.
Why it matters: Like mParticle, Segment is useful for companies with a lot of data and several different marketing platforms to use it in. Being able to unify all of your customer data and operate directly on it through SQL provides more flexibility than your standard analytics platform that’s more focused on streamlining results to make data actionable. For mobile teams, Segment also allows users to move integrations server-side, resulting in a smaller app size.
3. App Annie
What it is: App Annie is a business intelligence tool for mobile apps. It provides detailed insight into apps listed on the major app stores, such as historical ranking, keywords, and user demographics. The company offers a free analytics solution, which in turn helps power the proprietary data used in its business intelligence offering.
Why it matters: Business intelligence is an effective tool for keeping up with the competition and learning from the best. For example, by tracking what keywords customers use to discover similar apps, mobile teams can tweak their ASO strategies to target more relevant keywords. Competitors’ download and revenue estimates can also be used for high-level strategic decisions.
What it is: Appnext is an AdTech platform for mobile app acquisition. The company displays app recommendations within a variety of mobile publishers. App developers and device manufacturers can use Appnext to monetize their content, while ad buyers can acquire new app users through these targeted channels.
Why it matters: For buy-side customers, Appnext offers paid placement on a wide variety of mobile publishers. These publishers include both other apps and mobile web content. It is a self-serve platform, so advertisers can scale campaigns with their budgets. It’s also possible to pick individual publishers to partner with, tracking campaign performance across each publisher.
What it is: Appcues is a mobile marketing platform that focuses on the user onboarding experience. It offers features like customized welcome messages, tips-of-the-day for new users, and A/B testing on the whole onboarding process. The product’s personalization tools allow for a more customized onboarding experience for each user.
Why it matters: User onboarding is one of the keys to retention. Growth is important too, but your acquisition spend will be lost if it doesn’t drive long-term, engaged users. If new users get lost during the onboarding process and don’t discover the value of your app, there’s a good chance that they’ll fall dormant. Tools like Appcues help mobile teams engage people from the get-go.
What it is: Kiip offers a unique twist on mobile advertising. Instead of selling generic ad inventory, the company works with mobile app publishers to identify specific “happy” moments within the app, such as completing a level in a game. Ads are displayed during these moments, usually offering a reward for the advertiser’s product.
Why it matters: For mobile app and web publishers looking to grow their audience, Kiip can potentially offer a better ROI than traditional advertising. The ads are delivered at key in-app moments rather than being relegated to a corner of the screen that’s easily ignored by users. At the same time, advertisers will have to work with Kiip to identify ads that will mesh with inventory sellers. In addition to monetizing, Kiip ads are intended to increase retention for sell-side publishers, the ads must be relevant and valuable.
What it is: On the surface, PlaceIQ is a location-tracking product for mobile apps, but their offering goes beyond geofencing. The software offers analytics based on opted-in location signals from mobile devices, combined with public data aggregated from censuses, surveys, and other reports. Further details are available here.
Why it matters: PlaceIQ data doesn’t require mobile publishers to have a physical store. Any app that uses data from the physical world in some way (for example, a restaurant listing app) can use PlaceIQ to learn more about its audience’s movement habits. In a way, this data is like ad attribution for the physical world — companies can see whether a push notification campaign triggered any real-world visits to a particular location, and they can see roughly where foot traffic enters from and exits to.
What it is: AppsFlyer is one of the leading mobile ad attribution platforms. The company proudly explains that it doesn’t have any conflicts of interest in the ad ecosystem — they don’t buy or sell ads, and they only use their data internally. It’s difficult to accurately track user behavior across mediums, such as when a person hops from mobile web to a mobile app to make a purchase. This product helps mobile teams connect the dots between customer touchpoints to determine where purchases, installs, and other key events are coming from.
Why it matters: AppsFlyer is a valuable tool for optimizing your mobile ad spend. Mobile growth teams invest heavily in ads to drive various KPIs, but it can be inefficient to spread your resources too thin. With an accurate attribution tool, advertisers can double down on winning campaigns while cutting back on ads that aren’t earning the right results.
9. Branch Metrics
What it is: Branch Metrics provides deep links for all of your marketing communications. The platform allows users to create branded links (i.e. a custom shortened URL rather than a generic one, like t.co for Twitter or fb.me for Facebook). Branch also offers analytics for its links, allowing clients to track clicks and measure the effectiveness of deep linking.
Why it matters: Deep linking is a must for out-of-app communications. Imagine receiving a marketing email that promoted a discount on specific products at your favorite clothing brand, but the link took you to the store’s home page. Without deep linking, this is exactly the effect that push notifications have. Mobile teams can use deep links to direct users to the right screens within the app, increasing engagement and conversions.
What it is: Leanplum is an integrated mobile marketing platform. The service combines everything that mobile teams need to improve user retention, including Messaging, Automation, App Editing, Personalization, A/B Testing, and Analytics. This means that you can lure users back to your app with push notifications, and then optimize the in-app experience. The software powers all of its features with the same body of analytics and user segments, so mobile teams can avoid data silos.
Why it matters: When it comes to retention-driven marketing, integration is the best way to go. It’s difficult to optimize your messaging campaigns or the in-app experience in isolation — a superficial positive metric like high open rates could conceal an important negative metric, like app uninstalls. With a holistic view of your app’s users, you can safely implement new features and A/B test your content, knowing that the analytics dashboard will catch all statistically significant changes (even the negative ones).
Mobile marketing is a complex process, and there’s no single tool that can do it all. Luckily, the most popular platforms offer integrations to allow clients to share data across the marketing stack. For example, Leanplum’s partners include Branch Metrics and AppsFlyer, so a client of all three could benefit from deep linking, ad attribution, and post-acquisition marketing.