In-app messaging best practices
There are many ways to communicate with your customers, but only one channel is guaranteed to reach them while they are actively engaged – in-app messages. We came up with some use cases and in-app messaging best practices to help you create messages that are a seamless part of the UX for mobile and web applications.
We hope the below examples will spark your imagination and set you off on your own journey of how to best use in-app messages to engage your customers.
Use cases for in-app messaging
- When customers need to take action on their account
Struggling to get customers to update their expired credit card or finish uploading important information to their account? An in-app message can fix that. Create an audience segment for anyone with an expired credit card and trigger an in-app message when they view a purchase page in your app. The most powerful in-app messages drive customers to take action at a time that makes sense in their customer journey. And if you’re unsure about what timing or content will drive results, start with an A/B test.
- Ask for feedback
Receiving 5-star reviews are great, 1-star, not so much. And what’s worse? When that 1-star lives permanently in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Create an in-app message to request feedback and only send 4 and 5 scores to the store for a review. Better yet, create a segment of your super users and only send the in-app message requesting a review to that group.
Pro tip: Don’t ignore those 1-star reviews either. Add an email to your campaign that requests additional feedback from unsatisfied customers.
- Celebrate customer milestones
Moments of celebration are a great way to make your users feel positive about your app. Pick milestones that highlight value for your customers, and send them a celebratory in-app message when they’ve reached it to reward and encourage them towards the next goal/milestone! Some of our favorite milestones include customer anniversaries, birthdays, and course completions.
Pro tip: Use customer data to personalize the message content.
- Time sensitive updates customers shouldn’t miss
Maybe you have an upcoming app outage, or there are legal billing changes that all of your customers in Denmark need to know about. Trigger messages to specific pages within your app to let people know important changes are coming. An email can be ignored, but an in-app message becomes part of the UI. Sending a pop-up they can’t miss will also preempt friction points and reduce inquiries to customer support.
- Encourage upgrades
Many businesses don’t know the right moment to ask customers to consider upgrading to Premium if you, like many, run off of a freemium model. A random cohort test can help you find the answer. Split your customer segment into three branches – each sends the same in-app message encouraging an upgrade, but triggers at different times in the customer journey. Voila, you’ve learned the amount of time after which it’s most effective to ask people to upgrade!
In-app messaging best practices
When it comes to in-app, the possibilities for experimentation are endless. That being said, we brought together some in-app messaging best practices that our Customer Success team has down as non-negotiables when helping customers create their best in-app messages.
1. In-app messaging works best when interwoven with other channels
Marketers using three or more channels in their campaigns see a purchase and engagement rate 250% higher than marketers using a single channel. (source)
A credit company can use in-app messages to alert users when their score has changed. And if they don’t view the in-app within 24 hours, the campaign can trigger an SMS or email.
On the flip side, you can send a push notification with deep links that opens to a specific page on your app with an actionable in-app message. And don’t forget, even if your customers have opted out of everything, you still have in-app to send them opportune reminders.
2. Use an in-app tool with modular SDKs
There are a few different ways to leverage in-app tools to send messages to your customers. You can choose between webhooks to a 3rd party, API calls or SDKs. Installing a message SDK directly into your app is recommended because it allows you to control your messaging in one central place and ensures that your integration is always up to date. Bonus if you use a modular SDK to avoid bloatware and only install what you need. Be mindful of how your app is built and choose an in-app tool that offers the relevant SDK. Some of the most common are iOS, Android, React Native, and Flutter.
3. Be careful of overloading your mobile app with in-app messages
It’s a much smaller screen, so people have to physically dismiss messages (whereas on the web, you can ignore those for a bit). When done well, in-app messaging fits seamlessly and is a value-add part of a users’ product experience. When done poorly, it can seem like a series of annoying pop-ups that slow a user’s momentum in your mobile app. You can use expiration dates to make sure your message is relevant and avoid customers seeing it if they visit days or months after it is sent. Include an “X” option, or even better– a “Remind me later” action to give customers control, choice, and you another opportunity to deliver an in-app message that drives results. Lastly, choose your message type carefully. In-app isn’t just pop-ups, use overlays over modals when you don’t want to interrupt a customer’s experience or try inline to really look seamless with your app.
4. This, like your other channels, is an incredible testing tool
As we spoke about in the above example on testing, the sky’s the limit. You can run an A/B test asking customers to activate their account after 1 day or 1 week, and you’ll soon know the best time to ask them! Alternatively, you can test if customers are more likely to activate if you send them the same message on push, email, and in-app, and see how they act. This test can be accomplished with a multi-split branch in Customer.io’s automated campaigns.
Ultimately, the place where customers are most engaged with your mobile or web app is when they’re in it—so come out and meet them where they are.
Molly Murphy is a Product Marketing Manager at Customer.io. She joins our remote team from Ithaca, New York.