Mobile messaging, especially tied to proximity, has become a very popular and effective means of engaging with consumers. The proliferation of smartphones and how users are embracing mobile commerce (see recent studies that support this) has created the perfect storm for marketers. You can now message your customers through various strategies, but given the ephemeral nature of push notifications, your customers could easily miss important messages. Strategies that employ more persistent messaging such as email and SMS have shown varying degrees of success, but those utilizing “message centers” have been the most effective by far. In this post, we’ll discuss the effectiveness of using in-app message centers and how ShopAdvisor has utilized this strategy to double mobile messaging open rates.

Mobile Messaging Strategies

In a previous post, we discussed best practices for mobile messaging, which included referencing store locations, targeting user affinities, and associating content with media influencers. But sending relevant messages only matters if your users actually see them. Furthermore, simply seeing the message flash on their screen isn’t necessarily enough to get them to engage.

When a user receives a push alert, they could be doing anything – driving, pushing through a crowd in the subway station, or simply engaging in a conversation with another human being. In many of these situations, it’s highly unlikely, regardless of how compelling your message is, that the user will engage right then and there. It’s even more unlikely that the user will scroll back through their list of iOS or Android notifications to find your message at a later time. Given this combination of distractions with the ephemeral nature of push notifications, you need to have a persistent way to store messages on the user’s device, as well as a method for reminding the user that there is information waiting for them.

A user’s device can store persistent messages in several easily accessible places, including email, SMS (text messages), or social channels, such as direct messages in Twitter or notifications in Facebook. However, regardless of how ubiquitous these options may be, none of them provides the marketer with the isolation and customization of an in-app message center.

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