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Outlook of Mobile Marketing into 2021

Jan 26 2021

mobile marketing

What is mobile marketing?

First, a quick definition: Mobile marketing is the art of marketing your business to appeal to mobile device users. When done right, mobile marketing provides customers or potential customers using smart-phones with personalized, time- and location-sensitive information so that they can get what they need exactly when they need it, even if they're on the go.

As you can see from the graph below, more users are spending larger amounts of time engaged with mobile devices than ever before. We can expect this trend to continue even further in the future.
mobile vs desktop
Source: Comscore

How does mobile marketing work?

Mobile marketing consists of ads that appear on mobile smart-phones, tablets, or other mobile devices. Mobile marketing ad formats, customization, and styles can vary, as many social media platforms, websites, and mobile apps offer their own unique and tailored mobile ad options.

Types of mobile marketing strategies

When it comes to mobile marketing, this means keeping devices in mind and utilizing SMS/MMS marketing and mobile apps. Mobile marketing is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to building out any short-term or long-term marketing plan. From email, to pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media marketing, there is a mobile marketing channel to reach every part of your audience where they are most comfortable. For mobile marketing to be effective, you need to curate a cohesive experience that customers expect—and that can be a real challenge as you work to acquire, engage, and retain users across a variety of platforms.

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The channels of mobile marketing

More than a third of all traffic reaching the average retail website is via a mobile device and so it’s easy to see why many companies are now attempting to create an even more accessible platform for customers on the go. With an average of 35,000 new apps introduced on Android devices alone each month, however, marketing your latest app to reach the optimal amount of people and the right target audience can easily become a challenging and often daunting task.

Taking advantage of more than one marketing channel can increase the probability of the successful promotion of your new mobile application.


If your brand doesn’t have a mobile app you may be thinking that reaching customers on their most personal device is out of reach. However, SMS constitutes a concise, personal and effective way for marketers to engage with customers on their phones—no app required.
While SMS provides a mobile option for companies without an app, it does require nuanced messaging and frequency to avoid overstepping boundaries.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are messages that come from your mobile app and appear on a user’s lock screen. When swiped through, the user is directed to a specific screen in your app.

This is an excellent way to engage (and re-engage) mobile and tablet users. Similar to SMS, push has the ability to be an intimate channel. Messaging should be concise and handled with more caution to encourage engagement.

Unlike with channels like email, there isn’t a warm-up process that is required; users who are opted in to receive your push notifications will receive them. However, note that there is one big difference between devices running on the two major operating systems, iOS and Android.

On iOS, users must choose to opt in to push messaging, whereas, on Android, users are automatically opted in and must choose to opt out. We will discuss further considerations related to this in future posts in this blog series.

In-App Messaging

As the name implies, users will see these messages when inside the app. They commonly take the form of a full-page interstitial or banner and are often programmed to appear once the user session begins.

In-app messages can be scheduled to appear just once or multiple times depending on how urgent or important you feel the message is for the end user. You can also schedule expiration dates so that users who launch the app on a Monday won’t see a message about last weekend’s flash sale.

In-app is arguably the most seamless of all the mobile channels since it doesn’t have a specific opt-in/opt-out process and constructing basic in-app visuals won’t be a stretch for those used to building emails in Iterable. Given that in-app is also less intrusive than SMS or push, it is a prime channel for nurturing long-term engagement.

In addition to promotions, in-app messaging can be great for other use cases, such as onboarding during a user’s first session, drawing attention to new app features, or converting a freemium user into a premium subscription, as seen in the example from Lose It! below.

Mobile Inbox

Mobile inbox is functionally similar to in-app messaging except with the added benefit that users can access the message repeatedly. This channel also brings a subdued impact on the user experience. To access messages, users typically have to find the in-app inbox or, for some apps, a newsfeed tab.

The mobile inbox is a great opportunity to experiment with messaging. Unlike email, you can set an expiration period for your messages. In the process, you are collecting data on what messages work well and which ones either need content alterations or should be sent through a different channel.

Since the messages are often less accessible, mobile inbox is often reserved for longer-term messages about app updates or news. In doing so, the user has ample opportunities to access and understand the information.

What are the main ways of mobile marketing in terms of ASO?

Choose the app name carefully

The iOS app name can be up to 255 characters long, while the Android store has a minimum of 8 characters for the app name, and App Store only has one chance to change the app name, so it is important to choose a good app name. The most important thing is that nowadays smartphone users, the main downloaders, will only focus on the first 25 characters, so this part of the name title is very important. Do a thorough research on your competitors' target keywords and try to include them in the app title as well. Avoid using any special characters in the app name and make sure that the app name you choose is not too similar to the name of an existing app, as that will only bring more competition.

Describe your app properly

People decide whether to download a mobile app by viewing the description. This, in turn, highlights the importance of app store descriptions: they must be high quality and impress people. In the description, emphasize how the app will benefit the user and meet a specific need, rather than simply listing the app's features in a hurry. Here's a concept: words like "free" and "new" shouldn't be used in app descriptions. However when used in the right context, these words can be extremely compelling taglines. Android developers should use the 500 words to give a suitable and detailed description when possible (the description of an iOS app must be much shorter). Remember that people browsing the app store on their smart devices will only go through the first five lines of the app description (and then have to click "more"); so developers need to be able to grab the user's attention right from the start.

Score on screenshots

Experts in the field of mobile app development agree that screenshots and icons (more on this in a moment) are two of the most important tools for the visual promotion of an app; the App Store allows developers to upload 5 screenshots and the Android App Store can put 5. Regardless of the platform, the two most important screenshots of the app need to be selected as the "main screenshots" (these will appear in the search results). The other screenshots need to focus on letting the user know why they should spend time and money on the app (if it's a paid app), why they should download it and take up space on their smartphone, and also highlight the in-app navigation. Contrary to what many novice app developers believe, screenshots do not need to be arranged chronologically, but only to visually interpret the app.

Choose the right category for the app

If something goes wrong, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for your target audience to find your app. Browse through the list of app categories in the store and choose the most appropriate one. If you also have to choose a sub-category, choose one that is: A) accurate; and B) doesn't have much competition. Never arbitrarily place an app in the wrong category just to avoid competition - it may incur a penalty and users will find out.

Optimize app icons

Without exception, the icon is exactly the first point of contact for the average user to interact with the app. The icon should be designed in such a way that potential users have a clear idea of what the app is about even before they view the name and description of the app. Many developers of mainstream applications prefer to add a border to the application icon to ensure that it looks good against any background. Use a single prominent theme in your icons to stay creative while maintaining consistency in icon use across platforms. For example, assuming you have iOS, Android, and windows versions of your app, the icons should be consistent across the versions users see in the different stores. Use the same icons on web and social media channels to gradually build the brand of the app. Socially excellent app icons can increase downloads by 30%.

Choose the right keywords

Unlike the Android App Store where keywords only exist in the title and description of the app, the App Store has a dedicated area for developers to enter multiple keywords or tags (up to 100 characters). Don't waste space between keywords, as they are not visible to the average user. Use Arabic numerals when writing numbers (i.e. use "5" instead of "five"). App Store researchers also emphasize that shorter keywords increase the exposure of an app more than carefully crafted long-tail words.

Be compatible with as many devices as possible

This point is obvious. Of two mobile apps with the same level of optimization, the one with more compatible devices will obviously have a higher number of downloads. Most of the best performing iOS apps have the latest versions for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and even Apple Watch users. Android apps, on the other hand, should be tested more often to be compatible with as many devices as possible, a task made somewhat difficult by the sheer number of providers. Multi-language support should also be offered if you plan to launch the app into the global market. This can also increase the number of downloads.

Pay attention to reviews and ratings

A survey led by some of the leading online software and mobile app companies found that almost 50% of downloads in the App Store are based on word-of-mouth (the corresponding ratio for Android is 42%). More explicitly, many people will download mobile apps based on recommendations from friends, family or acquaintances. Continuously track ratings and reviews of users who abandoned use early on. Encourage users to share feedback within the app. People will be hesitant to download a mobile app with a low rating; if the app's reviews are less than stellar, try to find out what problems users are facing and fix them.

Outlook the mobile marketing trends into 2021

User-Generated Content

User-generated, or UGC, continues to be a highly impactful form of marketing. UGC is content related to your brand – text, images, audio, and video – that users voluntarily create and post online. Unlike influencer marketing, in which users are sought out and paid by marketers, user-generated content engenders a higher degree of trust based on real-life, unpaid experience and opinions.

User-generated content can be a double-edged sword. If UGC is positive, it can generate priceless word of mouth that drives sales and trust in your brand and products. However, negative content can do just the opposite, ruining your customers’ perception of your brand and damaging trust.


Social Commerce & Shoppable Ads

In the past, shoppers would discover products and brands while browsing social platforms, then navigate to the brand’s website to make a purchase. But toggling between platforms can disrupt the user experience brands strive to create, resulting in customer frustration and lower conversion rates.

Social commerce uses social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to promote and sell products and services. Shoppable ads enable your brand to tag products within an image posted on social media or Google, giving the customer the ability to hover over the ad for more information.


Mobile Commerce Growth

the scale of mobile commerce, or m-commerce, has grown exponentially. The pervasive use of mobile phones and tablets has paved the way for m-commerce to take a larger piece of the internet marketing pie. Mobile sales are expected to increase by 22.3% to a staggering $3.56 trillion in 2021.

With consumers getting increasingly comfortable shopping online, optimizing your website for mobile is crucial. The impact of COVID-19 has further pushed consumers away from shopping malls and toward online shopping sources. To capitalize on this mobile trend, make sure to remove all barriers to shopping online for your customers.


Rapid 5G Adoption

5G is the newest technology standard for broadband cellular networks. 5G enables marketers to provide engaging data-heavy experiences that were previously unavailable due to bandwidth and speed limitations.

As consumers upgrade their devices to take advantage of carriers’ 5G technology, marketers must be ready to exploit its capabilities to the fullest. 5G offers increased bandwidth to enable high-definition VR experiences and 4k streaming video, along with high-speed data delivery. The race is on for brands to harness the power and opportunities that 5G will create – before your competitors do.

Next level of mobile marketing strategy in 2021

Certain issues can prevent marketers from using AI-based mobile marketing tools to harvest and exploit consumer data. On the macro level, some marketers may be constrained by some moral implications of privacy and transparency issues related to AI-powered data mining.

On the micro level, there are various fears among individual marketers. Some may have been drawn to the field for the more creative aspects of the work, while others may be afraid of the technology’s learning curve.

However, marketers can take advantage of a suite of tools that are now available to assist in spinning raw information in databases into propensity variables to target KPIs. Acquiring such capabilities is a worthwhile investment in a marketing career.

ASO Topic Mobile Growth, App Store Optimization,


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