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Release the minimum viable product, iterate often, and respond to user feedback. These are all pretty standard beliefs for the development teams of the world. Unfortunately, the user isn’t always interested in upgrading. Maybe they haven’t noticed the small upgrade overlay on the app store icon or perhaps they don’t know the value of your latest version.

Table of Content

Today I’ll walk you through two complementary in-app messaging campaigns that will help increase the likelihood your users will upgrade to the newest version of your application.

As a refresher, the Localytics in-app messaging platform allows you to send rich, customized messages, specifically crafted for individual audience segments directly based on your analytics data. Because it is based on your user segments and in-app triggers, you are able to refine the experience to best suit the right audience rather than a broad-stroke, non-targeted, campaign.

Campaign 1 – Standard Upgrade Notice

Our first campaign will be similar to what you’ve seen throughout apps far and wide; it will target anyone who launches an older version of the application. From the marketing tab, create a new campaign named “Broad Advertisement”. After naming the campaign you have two options on what your campaign will look like, you can upload your layout and message or you can easily build a creative right in the Localytics interface. This creative should have some descriptive text calling out the benefits of the next version (e.g. “Fixed that annoying bug that causes app to crash” or “Now with more bacon!”) and a call-to-action, prompting users to click through to upgrade to the latest version. Through the Localytics Creative Builder, you can ensure that the typography and color fit within your specific style guidelines.

The goal of this campaign is to target all users of the previous version of the app. For this campaign, we’ll filter our users where the dimension “application version” isn’t the current application version. We want to target all users who are even remotely active; any user who’s had at least one session in the past month will be our qualifying action. This combination of filtering and qualifying behavior ensures we’re only targeting users who are even slightly active on any older version of the app.

With our creative done and recipients identified, we’ll identify an aggressive event trigger. When selecting an event trigger, pick an event that you’re sure will be fired early into a user’s session. Picking an event that is almost guaranteed to happen for every user ensures that most users will receive the campaign.

Schedule this campaign to run for 90 days.

Campaign 2 – Targeted Notification

Our second campaign is more granularly targeted. We want to target only users who are engaging with features that have improvements in the newer version of the application. For purposes of our example, the V1 of our app has sharing functionality. V1 allows users to share to Facebook. In the V2 release, our app enhances sharing to include Twitter, SMS, and email in addition to Facebook.

From the marketing tab, create a new campaign named “Targeted Upgrade – Sharers”. Develop your creative, using either the creative builder or uploading your own. Your descriptive text should be specific. In our sharing example something like “In V2 you can share even more ways, we’ve added Twitter, SMS and email sharing”; the call to action should, as in campaign 1, prompt users to click through to upgrade.

The goal of this specific campaign is to target just users of V1 who are utilizing the sharing feature, which is enhanced in V2. As in campaign 1, we’ll fitler our users where the dimension “application version” isn’t the current application version and target users who are remotely active.

Unlike campaign 1, we don’t want a trigger that will fire early in a users session. We want to hit the users at just the right place and just the right time. As we are targeting just users who are utilizing the sharing feature, we’ll want to trigger the creative appearance on the “sharing summary” event.

Schedule this campaign to run for 90 days.

Hopefully every release of your app adds valuable features for your users, and you can follow this pattern to drive upgrades by targeting frequent users of upgraded features.

Wrap up

After activating both of these campaigns, your users will start receiving the upgrade notifications. To help you further understand the impact these campaigns have, navigate to the app versions by day report in your Localytics dashboard. In that report, add a comment on the day you’ve activated these campaigns; going forward you’ll always have that indicator as a reminder. Running these campaigns for a few weeks should reduce the number of users you have on older versions of your application.

In June this year, Apple announced iOS 15, the latest version of their software. Due to launch this fall, iOS 15 continues Apple’s journey to providing users with more transparency and control over their data. In recent years marketers have seen this steady shift towards user-centric updates, however, this announcement may be one of the most significant yet. These changes, due to launch sometime this month, couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for marketers as they shift their focus to personalized experiences. However, Apple’s latest announcement will force marketers to find new ways of engaging with existing customers or finding new ones.

While there’s been a big focus on the impact of these updates on email marketing, iOS 15 will also have a huge impact on mobile app marketers and how they engage with their users.

What’s changing?

App-store

The changes brought about by iOS 15 will seriously up the game for app store listings and will unlock new ways for you to engage with and acquire potential users.

Product page optimization

The introduction of this latest feature will enable you to better understand what works when it comes to your product pages, and more importantly, what doesn’t. Product page optimization will unlock new capabilities, giving you the chance to A/B test your pages by changing screenshots, icons, or features to see which performs better (up to three variations). The benefits of this could be huge for you, especially as this gives you greater ability to target specific geographic locations, improving your ability to better understand the differences in your users’ behaviors.

Product page customization

Perhaps one of the most exciting features of the announcement, Custom Product Pages will allow you to create up to 35 versions of their product page on the app store. You will now have complete control over each page and can change the text, images, and videos as well as being able to drive audiences to unique URLs.

Considering the growing importance of personalization to users, this feature is a game-changer for you as it unlocks new possibilities to personalize pages for specific audience segments, thus has the potential to significantly increase downloads and drive conversions.

With both features comes the ability to track an apps performance in App Analytics, giving you granular insight into how the page variations are performing and how you can better optimize them to suit your target audience.

App notifications

Every smartphone user receives notifications on a daily basis, whether that be a message from a family member, a new follower on their social platform, or a promotional offer from their favorite store. While notifications are useful, they can also be distracting, as users fail to ignore the temptation of opening the notification instantly.

In addition to user privacy, user’s digital health is also a key part of iOS 15, meaning there have been some changes to the way notifications are delivered and displayed.

Focus mode

Focus Mode is a new feature in iOS 15 that allows users to choose how, when, and how many notifications they want to receive. Focus mode aims to reduce distraction and will use on-device machine learning to determine users’ activities, including working, sleeping, exercising, or driving. Users will also be able to create custom focus modes, selecting which apps or people can break through this invisible barrier.

While iOS 15 will not default to Focus mode, this is a huge change. If a user switches to Focus mode, all non-urgent notifications and messages will be collected and sent in what Apple are calling a ‘notification summary’.

Notification summary

With notification summary, notifications delivered from certain people or apps will appear in a list style format, which will be determined by Apple’s machine learning algorithm, as opposed to chronologically. These notifications will only be delivered at certain times of the day rather than instantly.

As an app marketer, this algorithm will be key as it prioritizes media and relevancy to the user, including app usage and behavior patterns. In an ideal world, a user won’t add your app to the ‘do not disturb’ list, however, if they do, you need to make sure the message you’re delivering via push notification is relevant to them to increase your chances of appearing at the top of the summary.

App privacy report

Placing greater emphasis on data privacy, the app privacy report allows Apple users to see exactly how, when, and how often apps are leveraging their permissions. This opt-in feature gives users a much fuller and clearer picture into how their data is being used, including camera, microphone, photo, contacts, etc.

For transparent marketers, this feature isn’t something to fear, in fact, it might even help you build trust with your users. However, if you’re not clearly communicating how and why you’re using a user’s permissions, this feature will unveil your bad practices and potentially damage your relationship with your users.

How do I prepare for these changes?  

For all mobile app marketers, retaining visibility and increasing relevancy is key. As the landscape becomes increasingly user-focused, you will need to be more sophisticated than ever.

A mobile app marketing and analytics software, such as Upland Localytics, can help you overcome the obstacles caused by iOS 15. Our software enables app marketers to create personalized app experiences that drive engagement, loyalty, and conversion.

Our mobile app analytics gives you a deeper understanding of your users so you can deliver the experiences they value. This understanding drives personalized experiences by utilizing the profile, behavioral, and historical data to deliver the next best action.

As the way delivery and display of notifications changes, you can expect in-app messaging to play a vital role in app-user communication. With Upland Localytics you can engage with your users across a variety of channels, including app and web-push, in-app messages, and app inbox, increasing your ability to engage with users while they are using your app.

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