The consumer relationship has been rapidly modified for the last few years with 92% of brands now offering a mobile app. However, just 17% of them are actually sending communications to their audiences. That’s according to new research from Mapp Digital, the independent digital marketing technology. The Digital Customer Engagement Index, finds that brands may be wasting a good opportunity to grow their mobile channels and engage with customers by not utilising notifications. The study is based on a variety of eCommerce brands, within retail, fashion, travel, entertainment and IT & technology.
It highlights email as one of the most frequently used communications tools, with 96% of brands using email marketing and 94% sending at least one email during the duration of the one-month study.
Indeed, over half consider email their most effective marketing channel and 57% said they would increase budget allocation to this channel. Most brands do send a message just shortly after someone subscribes, which includes a dedicated welcome for 51% of brands.
First email responses sent
However, just 43% of brands engaged with user preferences and only 13% actually offered a preference window on their website. With mobile and digital advertising becoming ever more individual, personalisation features are key in keeping customers happy.
In terms of optimisation for mobile, 98% of emails are now fully optimised to work with mobile devices, whilst 78% are partially responsive in design and 22% are fully responsive. Another 93% of mobile website links are optimised. That shows some serious commitment to mobile and is in line with current trends of mobile-first being a leading advertising format.
Mobile optimised and responsive emails
Mapp also took a closer look at apps and found that customers expect an overall positive experience from their branded apps. However, on Android just 24% of branded apps asked to send push notifications.
Android did do slightly better though, with 80% of apps triggering the permission message upon first app activation. That’s a recommended steps, as it’s better to wait for customers to get some value from an app before sending out a notification. However, 85% of apps on iOS sent out their notifications right upon app launch.
When the system triggers push notifications
Messaging frequency is indeed a delicate balancing act, with too many messages resulting in a negative sentiment and too few leading to users feeling forgotten. Only 17% of brands with an Android app sent push notifications or in-app messages during the study. Of those who did, 80% sent one to two over the course of a month. A majority of these brands were retail brands.
So what’s a good message to send out to customers via push notifications on mobile?
86% of brands say that call to action messages are generally positive. Landing pages are also good. However, none of the messages included any special offers.
App messaging content
When a brand gets permission from consumers to engage with their mobile apps, strategy matters. Asking for push notifications at the right time is just as important as sending out messages at the best rates according to your product or services category, whereby retailers do better with more frequent rates. Including offers could yield a higher engagement rate.
Mapp also took a closer look at social media channels and found that Twitter was the most used, followed by Facebook and YouTube. Brands tend to tweet more frequently per week (13.9x) than post on Facebook (6.3x). Pinterest saw some of the highest engagement at 15 times per week.
Brand activity across social channels
There are differences when it comes to seasonality. On Facebook, 45% of businesses post seasonal content, whilst on Twitter that’s 52%. For Instagram just 20% of brands post seasonal images.
When it comes to increasing engagement, mobile and social generally fare the best. 25% of brands offer incentives to buy in-store via mobile ads and 41% on social media, whilst 49% offered online incentives for mobile users and 21% for social media users.
Brands offering incentives online and offline
Rolf Anweiler, Senior Vice President Marketing, Mapp, concludes:
“All data no action summarises the broad approach we’re seeing from the UK’s top eCommerce brands. But broad is no good when it comes to marketing in a digital revolution when customers relationships with brands are changing to an ‘always on’ culture, and you explicitly ask for information about them. Many brands are still more 9 to 5 than 24/7 when it comes to marketing. With the proliferation of channels, devices, and technologies comes a great opportunity for marketers. At the moment, though, most are being bland, formulaic and not quite delivering.”