Mike Gadd
Mike Gadd 27 July 2022

Three Ways to Engage Users Outside Your Mobile App

Picture the scene. Your business spends tens — or even hundreds — of thousands of pounds developing a branded mobile app. Your customers open it, find it useful, and even enjoy using it. You have their attention, their interest, and an opportunity to capture their data. Great job. But what happens next?

They close it.

As soon as apps are shut, businesses lose visibility of their customers. All that valuable data, insight and engagement goes away. And you’re left waiting for them to one day reopen the app and re-engage.

This is a huge problem for app publishers, mobile gaming companies and any app-based business. How do you encourage users to re-open and re-engage with your app? Better still, how can you reach and engage those customers even when your app is closed? Here are three ways to get started.

1. Push Notifications ( …While They Last)

Traditionally, the answer to out-of-app engagement has been to try and stimulate app-opens through regular communication. Push notifications have been the #1 way to achieve this, with brands and businesses sharing discounts, nudges, and other reminders for people to jump back in and engage with their apps.

Unfortunately, where once push notifications were the golden child of mobile engagement, their use has since been pushed to the limit. According to recent research, over 50% of app users find push notifications to be “an annoying distraction”. The overuse of push notifications has also encouraged a growing number of respondents to disable mobile notifications entirely.

As such, while push notifications remain a key channel for engaging users outside your app, the opportunities are declining.

2. Monetisation Browser Extensions

Thankfully the push back against push notifications doesn’t need to be the end of engagement for app publishers. Several mobile innovations are providing a new source of engagement outside of apps, helping keep businesses, games, and brands visible to customers — long after an app is closed.

Key among these is the creation of branded mobile browser extensions, developed to offer discounts, reward points and provide engagement opportunities around the web. These browser extensions have become increasingly popular with consumers, with brands like O2 launching extensions that offer customers rewards while they shop.

In the case of O2, users can shop at thousands of  retailers and create funds to be donated to sustainable projects and secure savings for themselves, driving engagement and keeping O2’s app front and centre in people’s minds.

Businesses can build their own extensions using easy to install Software Development Kits (SDKs). As just one example, the Kindred for Business SDK works with over 50,000 retailers globally, to deliver offers and coupons to customers as they shop online.

The result for app developers, marketers and publishers is a new incremental revenue stream – as Kindred share the commission from the retailers with the app publisher – greater loyalty, and continuous engagement outside of their app.

3. Custom Mobile Keyboards

Just like mobile browser extensions, customised mobile keyboards are becoming an increasingly popular way for app publishers to engage customers beyond the walls of their apps.

Over 80% of the world’s population use a smartphone keyboard every single day, yet its potential as a tool for businesses to engage their customers has remained largely untapped.

By developing a custom branded keyboard — swapped out for the default iOS or Android keyboard — businesses can keep their brands in front of consumers at all times. Becoming visible on this most necessary of smartphone features, helps ensure that businesses, apps or games are consistently front and centre of their user’s minds, even when they are not directly engaging with their app.

Much like browser extensions, custom keyboard technology can be seamelessly integrated into existing apps, afterwhich they can be easily activated by users, providing an innovative and exciting way for brands to reward their customers.

Deals and discounts can be made visible to customers as they shop online, allowing them to immediately recognise where they can make savings — helping to further promote awareness, support loyalty, and provide additional revenue to brands.

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