Make your mobile app the natural selection.

Watch a two-year-old swipe her way through a preschool app and you might think, “She’s born with it.” The ability to tap, pinch, and tilt to see the next sticker dance across the screen or hear the next cow moo in approval seems like it comes naturally, but it’s more likely she learned by watching others — her mom using the online scheduler to book an appointment on her phone, or dad searching for the latest sports scores. But none of that matters to an engaged toddler. 

For her, the phone represents the quickest way to escape the boredom of waiting in a crowded doctor’s office, sitting in an uncomfortable grocery cart, or enduring a never-ending car ride. For her, the app has a job: to keep her occupied until it’s time for the next activity. If the app does its job, she happily continues playing. If the screen freezes up, or the game is too complicated, she either throws the phone on the floor and kicks off a tantrum, or simply chooses another game.

Like the preschool app, the mobile apps we use every day have a purpose. They simplify our lives and make a particular task easier to complete, whether it’s transferring money between bank accounts, or finding the perfect refrigerator. And when those apps don’t perform, worse for a brand than throwing a tantrum, consumers simply delete the app and find a better one. 

 

“When we buy a product, we essentially ‘hire’ it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we ‘fire’ it and look for an alternative.” 

Harvard Business Review

And that’s exactly how consumers feel about apps. According to eMarketer, almost 34 percent of app users drop off after just one day, which shows just how important it is that apps do the jobs users expect. 

That’s why brands like Swisscom are taking the time to better understand what their customers need, and then delivering. By tuning into their customers’ intrinsic preference to shake their smartphone rather than tap the screen to complete tasks, Swisscom saw conversions soar by more than 150 percent. 

Shake or tap. Opt in or not. Consumers change their minds from one moment to another about how they want to interact with your brand, which makes creating the perfect mobile app experience difficult to achieve. In fact, according to the Adobe 2018 Mobile Study, 85 percent of marketers state they still have much work to do in order to reach digital mobile maturity and provide those kinds of experiences.

But through the right combination of strategy, data, artificial intelligence, and automation, you can better understand what your customers expect, entice them to engage with your mobile app, and deliver personalized, delightful experiences to help make their lives just a little bit easier.


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Experiences that come naturally.

The most engaging experiences are those your customers can’t live without. Experiences tailor-made to fit their unique personalities and attitudes as much as their changing behaviors and surroundings. These are the experiences that keep customers coming back to your brand long after they’ve abandoned other apps. 

Marriott makes it easy for customers to interact with their brand throughout the customer journey. Using their mobile app, customers can consider different types of travel, research and book hotels, manage reservations before the trip, order room service during their stay, and communicate with the concierge while checking out — all personalized based on how they interact with the website or app, or where they are in the hotel. The effort they’ve put into their mobile app is paying off — it has brought in more than $1.7 billion over the last year, noted Marriott’s Kollin Killian and David Menda during an Adobe Summit 2017 session.

Karen Jennings headshot

“Our core mission in designing the app was that we really needed to meet all the different needs of the traveler — not just in a hotel space, but in every single essence of the word travel.” 

David Menda

Director of Mobile Marketing, Marriott

 

Marriott, Swisscom, and a growing number of brands are investing in personalized mobile experiences because they know the important role mobile devices play in the lives of their customers. It’s the one device they carry with them from morning to night. 

84% faster - 47% faster - 19% boost

50% of consumers check their mobile phone first thing in the morning, while 70% check just before going to bed.

Source: Deloitte

 

84% faster - 47% faster - 19% boost

Smartphone online visits have increased 89% since 2015, while desktop and tablet visits have dropped.

Source: Adobe

To take advantage of that captured attention, companies spend an average of $9.4 million each year on mobile app development, according to an Adobe study. And with more investment comes more pressure to deliver value to your business and customers. That’s why it’s important to get the mobile experience right — designing an integrated mobile strategy and delivering value and efficiency that isn’t available on any other channel. 


 

The perfect mobile moment.

1. IT’S EASY — AND FAST. 

Even though people are spending more time on their mobile devices, they expect to complete tasks more quickly and in fewer steps. By cutting down on the number of unnecessary actions needed to complete a task, brands can keep users engaged and more likely to stick around after their first day.  

Example: After a customer completes a search on a hotel’s website, the brand’s app automatically pulls in those search results, making it easier for the customer to book.

2. IT’S PERSONAL — AND DELIGHTFUL. 

The perfect mobile moment provides personalized, contextually relevant content to users at exactly the right time. Not only can you use beacons or location information to deliver relevant content or offers at a particular time, but you can also learn about consumer habits over time, building better audience segments, and strengthening the entire customer journey.

Example: A guest who has walked by the resort spa several times receives a special offer for spa services the next time they approaches the area, prompting them to treat themselves to a massage that evening. 

3. IT’S UNIQUELY MOBILE.

The best experiences provide value beyond a customer’s expectations in a way that only mobile can. This means going beyond developing an app that simply performs the same function as your mobile site to one that a customer can’t live without.

Example: Hotel guests can bypass check-in and use a mobile key to enter their room or request a shaving or dental kit within the app.

 

Brands that take advantage of the many mobile moments consumers experience each day are rewarded with more app downloads and use, higher conversion rates, improved customer loyalty, reduced costs, and faster time to value. Yet few brands can keep customers engaged long enough to see these benefits. 

Many lack cross-channel data that can help them target specific customer segments. Others use multiple SDKs, APIs, and vendors across multiple platforms and devices, resulting in broken experiences and abandoned apps. Finally, brands that don’t use automation to personalize mobile app experiences at scale will never see engagement rise to the levels of their mobile-centric competitors.


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Apps that feel intuitive.

People have an innate need to feel valued and understood. That’s why customers keep coming back to brands that provide them with the most relevant experiences. And while sending a personalized message to one customer is easy, delivering that kind of personalization to thousands of customers with different wants and needs requires a different approach. With AI-powered personalization, you can deliver best-fit experiences to every customer wherever they are. Here’s how:

Develop your mobile strategy. 

Mobile should be at the core of every brand’s marketing strategy and should be front and center when designing each customer experience, from smartphone to tablet and beyond. Yet 90 percent of marketers say they’ve only had a well-defined mobile strategy for less than five years, if at all, reports the Adobe 2018 Mobile Study.

For brands like Sprint, mobile strategy is baked into every customer experience. For example, based on audience profile information and past visitor behavior to websites, customers receive targeted offers in their mobile app. So if a customer browses the site for information on the Family Plan, the brand uses automated personalization to dynamically display a banner in the customer’s mobile app, offering free shipping for opening a new line of service. 

When developing your mobile strategy, keep these tips in mind:

Create objectives and a customer-focused strategy that align with business goals. 

Make mobile initiatives a shared effort between IT and marketing.

Develop a process for updating experiences based on quickly-changing customer needs.

Coordinate mobile experiences with content appearing in other channels for a more connected journey.

 

Advanced companies invest in mobile strategy more than those who are less mature in mobile. 

Source: Gartner

 

Power the journey with data. 

Marketing and IT professionals agree that analytics is the most important element they’ll need to improve mobile experiences in the next three years. At London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, data powers every step of the customer journey — from booking and parking to takeoff and landing. Bringing together different types of customer data from multiple sources, including flight reservations, airport WiFi logins, restaurant, and shop purchases, Heathrow gets to know what customers want so they can deliver more personalized experiences throughout the entire customer journey — from automatic parking garage access to mobile boarding alerts to in-app loyalty program vouchers. 

Karen Jennings headshot

“People come to Heathrow because they’re traveling or meeting a visitor — but we want to keep up communication with them during all of the in-between times as well. This way, we can determine what information people want and then deliver it at each step in their customer journey.” 

Simon Chatfield

Head of eBusiness and CRM, Heathrow Airport Limited

 

Refine every experience. 

Increase customer satisfaction and ROI by getting the most effective experiences to the right people, every time. Through experience testing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, you can segment audiences and personalize elements like in-app notifications, checkout processes, user onboarding, home screens, and entry forms for higher conversions and retention.

Brands like Swisscom are automating mobile experiences at scale by shifting traffic to best-performing experiences and using personalized recommendations in their smartphone apps. Based on customer interactions, the telecommunications provider uses machine learning to rank the self-service tiles on their mobile app’s help page. Although the tile names and content remain the same, simply changing the order to match customer behavior increased clicks by 2.94 percent.

Karen Jennings headshot

“Personalization is an important part of developing a fantastic customer experience, but it can be time consuming. By automating recommendations using artificial intelligence, we can provide even more personalized experiences while spending our time building new tests and experiences.” 

Nicolas Mériel

Senior Digital Strategist, Swisscom

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Moments that mirror life.

Like the two-year-old and her preschool app, your customers expect you to help them along their way, not get in their way. That’s why making it easier for customers to complete their tasks is the most important job your mobile apps can perform. By making each mobile moment a natural part of your customers’ lives, they’ll be so busy getting things done, they’ll wonder how they ever lived without you. 


Adobe can help.

Find out how Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Experience Cloud can help you make your mobile apps an essential part of life for every customer.


 

Resources

A Mobile-First World,” Adobe Digital Insights, 2018.

Adobe Experience Business Awards, 2017 Excellence in Business Impact: Swisscom,” Adobe, 2017.

Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David S. Duncan, “Know Your Customers’ ‘Jobs to be done,’Harvard Business Review, September 2016.

CRO on steroids: How to identify and convert high-value customers,” Adobe Summit 2017.

David Menda, Kollin Killian, “Marriott's mobile app: Driving revenue and loyalty through personalization,” Adobe Summit 2017. 

Global Mobile Consumer Trends,” Deloitte, 2017.

Heathrow reimagines the airport experience,” Adobe customer story for Heathrow Airport, August 2016.

Jamie Brighton, “Why Automation Delivers Better Customer Experiences,” Adobe blog, July 3, 2018.

Mobile App Engagement Benchmarks Worldwide: Average 60-Day Retention Rates, April 2017,” eMarketer, April 2017. Data provided by Tapjoy.

The Next Mobile Decade,” Adobe, February 2018.

Personalization through artificial intelligence,” Adobe customer story for Swisscom, March 2018.


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