Mobile Applications

Locking In Lifetime Value Users: It's All About Behavior

At the end of 2013, Deloitte estimated that more than 2 billion smartphones and 300 million tablets were in use globally. Added to the mix are over 2 million mobile apps across Google Play and the App Store. An audience this large provides massive opportunity, but how can app developers ensure they are discovering, acquiring, and retaining high quality users? A gaping challenge, developers who find ways to connect with users beyond the dimensions of their screens are best equipped to navigate today’s mobile app world.

People interact with mobile devices very differently than they interact with other digital technologies. Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager at the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said it best, "Mobile is a behavior, not a technology. It's about accessing content wherever you are… It's really the use that is mobile, not the device." Furthermore, mobile interaction becomes more complex when apps are saturating the landscape.

Mobile app developers must dig deep into how and why users are interacting with an app, not just a device, to lock in lifetime value users. Here are 5 mobile marketing strategies to capitalize on:

  1. Leverage Mobile-Specific Features –Developers of mobile applications have a unique advantage in acquiring and retaining lifetime users. The ability to leverage inherently mobile features like click-to-call, camera, and location or navigation assistance can help users find recurring value in an app. Other important features that app developers can take advantage of are the ability to personalize and customize a user’s individual experience and the ability to easily share content socially.
  2. In-App Purchase Behavior – Based on previous purchases, what can developers up-sell or cross-sell to enhance user experience? If users haven’t made an in-app purchase in a desired timeframe, developers can consider changing their app’s monetization strategy to drive engagement, as well as consider cross-sell advertising opportunities.
  3. Responsive Design – On the surface, responsive design is a technology, but this powerful technology can actually influence user behavior. By tracking data such as device, time of day, user preferences, previously viewed pages, or other relevant app metrics, developers can cater to those specific behaviors. Developers can use responsive technology to improve and enhance the desired user behavior for their app.
  4. Location-Based Targeting – Location-based targeting is not to be confused with geofencing. While both tactics involve location targeting, geofencing is more of a “blast approach” of an ad based on zip codes or general areas. Location-based advertising is specific and based on individual users’ locations. Developers can deliver relevant ads based on a user’s location, frequently visited places, or check-in locations. Location-based information enhances the customer experience and is a great way to build credibility and loyalty within a targeted audience. 
  5. Behavior & Intent Targeting –Behavioral targeting has been largely untapped. Building user profiles gives the ability to create contextually relevant ads. This data is highly appealing to an advertiser. Being able to pinpoint segments that are higher LTV allows for performance optimization and more willingness to invest in that user’s acquisition. Leveraging information, such as registration data, demographic data, or any other information that users volunteer or opt-in to can be used to drive highly targeted ads.

Mobile is not just a phone, tablet, or a wearable device – it is a behavior. Developers need to approach their mobile strategy not based on the available technology, but the desired outcome. Locking in lifetime users therefore is a pinpointed analysis of user lifestyle—a web of user likes, behaviors, and preferences.  


Jud Bowman, Founder & CEO of Appia


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Jud Bowman

Jud Bowman, Founder & CEO of Appia

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