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ABC News Digital exec: Push still valuable in reaching app audience

The webinar, ?Beyond Push: Using in-app campaigns to reach the brand's entire app audience," focused on how brands and retailers can use in-app campaigns to reach their entire app audience. 

?Not everyone is going to opt in to push, so you want to think about a lot of different tactics,? said Peter Roybal, head of mobile products for ABC News Digital, New York. ?Most of us have a wide variety of apps on our phone. 

?We?re busy,? he said. 

Personal nature
The webinar was one in a series produced by Mobile Marketer to inform and educate retailers, brands, agencies, publishers and marketers on mobile advertising, marketing and media. 

Speakers also included two senor executives with Urban Airship of Portland, OR ? Stephanie Capretto, digital strategist, and Bill Schneider, director of product marketing.

Pushing for engagement on election night.

Given mobile?s personal nature, marketing on a mobile application needs to emphasize targeted engagement rather than advertising, with app messaging techniques playing a central role in the outreach.

The discussion looked into the strengths and weaknesses of two main approaches: push messaging and in-app messaging.

During last fall?s United States midterm elections, ABC News? decision to send 10 million push alerts to users of its mobile application who had signed up for election night alerts paid off in increased engagement with the brand at the risk of alienating consumers.

The network?s goal was to deliver alerts that were relevant to each person instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, Mr. Roybal explained. Users were able to choose what they were interested in hearing about on election night, from ?send me everything? to ?key highlights?. 

The flood of push alerts ? which saw some users sent 50 push alerts on election night ? succeeded because ABC?s approach was a thoughtful marriage of all of the data available and the needs of its users, Mr. Roybal said. 

Engagement rates with standard push notifications have stayed steady over time, suggesting push still has value as a way to help brands reach an audience on a mobile application. 

Its strength is its power to prompt immediate interaction and 
drive users back to an app. Its weaknesses are its limitations on customized push messaging and potential to become irritating and alienate customers. Moreover, push notifications are seen by only about half of the audience.

Meantime, in-app messaging is gaining acceptance due to its ability to create a richer app experience by providing the user with personalized messages that can lead to conversions. 

Both approaches work best as part of a larger marketing strategy.
?Now that we have more tactics to play with and throw into the mix, it?s going to give marketers more engaging options to continue conversation with their app users,? Ms. Capretto said.

Clear choice
For brands, the choice is clear when it comes to using mobile engagement solutions. 

Rejecting the one-size-fits-all approach to election coverage.

?It?s a must-have,? Mr. Schneider said. ?Just because if you?re not engaging with the audience, they?re typically going to defect, because they are unaware of all the great things that are in the app. 

?They?re not going to go engage in the app.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York