4 Strategies to Unlock Value From Your Mobile User & Customer Data

By John Koetsier January 1, 2017

Many mobile-minded marketers are now looking to their mobile analytics as a tool to drive extraordinary business growth. On the PC side of digital, where many marketers get their start, marketers have long used their mobile analytics to sharpen marketing targets and deliver custom marketing efforts that highlight what consumers will want next. Across many industries, marketers have leveraged granular user insights and have seen firsthand how data-driven marketing can accelerate brand growth.

Historically, data is harder to collect on mobile apps. Tracking cookies, the workhorses of the PC web, is very problematic on mobile, especially with Apple devices and apps.

But the data problems have diminished. If you are looking for ways to unlock value from your mobile analytics, consider starting with these four tips:

Focus on first-party data first

First-party data is information collected by you about your site visitors and app users. These user signals reveal insights about specific brand relationships. Third-party data is information you buy.

It’s rarely about your brand specifically; rather it tends to be more general. First-party data is harder to collect than just writing a check. But it’s free, and if you employ good data security practices, only you get to unlock those insights. Free, unique and highly-relevant data is a hard combination to beat.

It’s easy to see why first-party is best. Imagine you are the mobile marketing lead for a French champagne that costs $125. You could buy access to a third-party, data-based audience of “champagne buyers.” This could be rich people or people who entertain a lot. Or, you could analyze your buyers and learn what makes them passionate about your brand. Which approach do you think would yield better sales results?

Model your prospecting efforts on your best customers

Any business has a mix of site/mobile app users and customers. At one end of the spectrum are those who visit your site or download your app, have a look around and leave. At the other end are your best customers, the people who buy again and again. Which user type would you want to persuade?

We worked with a travel brand that changed its user data targeting specs from a broad target modeled on a general user group – all the people who visited their site – to one that focused on people who purchased five or more hotel stays per year. The brand delivered a set of “heavy buyer” device advertising IDs to its media partners and asked them to find and target people who behaved like its heaviest buyers. While this tighter targeting spec meant higher media costs, revenue grew significantly because it connected with more qualified customers.

Proactively drive users to take the next step in the buying process

Focus your attention on converting more of your new installers and visitors into first purchasers. Most brands have a massive drop off between the number of people who visit their sites or download their apps, and those who visit and buy.

Use cohort analysis and other marketing analytics to segment your users into different stages of the buying funnel, and devise specific marketing efforts for each group. Then, define a segment of users who have only launched the app once and give them reasons to come back. Target them specifically with an announcement that you are now showing a new fall collection, for example, or give them 20% off if they buy today. Across clients, we’ve seen new user programs more than double the percentage of new users who eventually make a purchase.

Other user groups also warrant outreach: Use retargeting ads to get cart abandoners to return and buy. Retargeting ads show you the last item you considered, and often provide extra incentives. They can double, triple and even quadruple purchase rates.

These are just two examples. Analyze where you lose groups of people in your conversion funnel and develop targeted campaigns to inspire them.

Love your golden geese

Driving incremental purchases from regular buyers costs a tiny fraction of what it takes to persuade first-time buyers. Segment your best buyers and invest in emails, push messages and ads that reflect their interests.

For example, I often buy clothing from an app that completely gets my fashion preferences. It uses my past purchases and buying patterns to anticipate what will interest me, and times messages to my “moments of weakness.” It knows when I need – and don’t need – discounts. Every season, it barrages me with microtargeted ads. I click and grow its business, all while enriching my data file.

PC web marketers have done all of this for years. Mobile marketing professionals can now replicate these approaches using their first-party data. As more brands look to mobile apps for growth, marketing with first-party insights can mean the difference between making your number and missing by a mile.

Thanks to Forbes Communications Council for publishing this first.

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