Four Ways to Use SMS to Increase the Acquisition & Engagement of Mobile Users

Posted by Alex Misevski on January 5, 2017

Smartphone usage is exploding, and doesn’t show signs of slowing down. By 2019, it’s estimated that the number of smartphone users worldwide will be close to 3 billion. And, with data showing that 90 percent of users’ mobile time is spent in apps, integrating SMS capabilities in applications is pivotal in brands growing their mobile user base.

SMS can assist mobile app developers in enhancing app promotion, acquiring new users, and increasing user engagement. SMS is a robust technology that is popular, ubiquitous, and cost-effective to use. Furthermore, SMS marketing has a 98 percent open rate, with 83 percent of texts opened within the first three minutes of receipt. Therefore, using SMS for business is a viable strategy for successful promotion, acquisition, and engagement of mobile users.

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Here are four ways to optimize SMS usage for your brand.

1.  Mobile app promotion and distribution

App stores are normally crowded with millions of applications. For example, Apple’s app store is stuffed with over two million apps.  As such, competition in these app stores is usually stiff. More so, app distribution and user acquisition are the biggest headaches for developers.

Directing a potential user to an app store to find and download your application is like asking a customer to head to a supermarket and select your specific brand from the shelf. After opening the app store, the user will encounter several alternatives, which can convince him or her to install a competitor’s app on his or her smartphone. This is difficult to predict.

With SMS marketing, developers can aptly by-pass the competition in the app stores and instantly reach their potential users with direct download links devoid of any distractions and confusions. This way, conversion rates increase because the links are easily accessible in the user’s smartphones, and there is no ambiguity relating to the application to be downloaded. In addition, the results can be easily gauged using URL click tracking.

An example of enhancing app distribution using the SMS-based approach is to create a “text me” or “download app” web widget, in which users can enter their phone numbers, and then get a text message containing a direct link to install the application.

Furthermore, social invites, with incentives for the inviter and/or the invitee, can cost-effectively enable app developers to acquire new mobile users and boost growth. It is a highly effective strategy that encourages current users to distribute messages with the app’s downlink link to their contacts.

2.  User mobile verification

Mobile app developers should ensure their apps are secure and inaccessible to unauthorized third-parties. Scam and fraudulent activities usually deteriorate users’ experience and satisfaction, and can earn you lots of negative reviews in the app stores.

In fact, a recent report revealed that more than 500 million personal details of customers were stolen in 2015, and mainly through mobile phones. Thus, carrying out proper user mobile verification should be prioritized by every mobile app developer.

An effective way of verifying the legitimacy of users involves using SMS-based two-factor authentication. This technique can add the much-needed extra security layer by sending a random code via SMS, which the user will enter, together with a name and password, before gaining access to the mobile application. In using this authentication technique, mobile app developers can effectively verify users, eliminate fraudulent users, and generate highly relevant lists for focused user engagement. Consequently, customer experience, convenience, and fulfilment will be enhanced.

3.  Two-way communication

To enhance SMS engagement, mobile app developers can create a comfortable, native interface that allows two-way communication between two parties. Virtual numbers can be assigned to both parties, allowing private communication to take place without incurring international fees. Not only does two-way SMS communication facilitate interactive and engaging communications, but it saves time and costs along the way. Furthermore, since the communication is real time, it leads to enhanced deliverability and faster response times.

Two-way text messaging also allows you to interact with your app users and collect feedback from them. When you receive the opinions of app users and respond to their issues, they will feel heard while you gain useful information. Consequently, you can improve your app over time, resulting in the acquisition of more users.

4.  Notifications and alerts

Mobile apps usually employ regular content updates, email messages, and push notifications to maintain communication with users and build loyalty. However, although these techniques are recommended, they tend to be unreliable and cannot compete with SMS engagement.

Ensuring users are informed is important for the success of mobile applications. And, with data showing that more than 60 percent of users are disabling push notifications and other alerts, SMS has proven to be a viable alternative. SMS engagement is a highly effective fallback strategy for apps when notifications and alerts are unavailable because of lack of data connection or disabled push notifications.

Additionally, with data showing that over 95 percent of users abandon mobile apps within 90 days of the initial install, user retention is a major headache for developers. Because of its clear advantages over the other messaging methods, SMS marketing leads to maximum user experience and increased retention post-install.

Leveraging SMS for Business

SMS for businesses is key to driving increased acquisition and engagement of mobile app users. Mobile app developers can effectively leverage SMS messaging for app promotion and distribution, user authentication, two-way communication, and sending notifications and alerts to users.

Zang can assist you in including SMS into your mobile application development strategy so that you can drive downloads, conversions, engagement, and ultimately, higher returns. Get started today!

image compliments of Pixabay

Topics: CX, UX, SMS

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