How ASO Can Help Improve Data-Driven Customer Engagement
This is a guest blog based on the contents of this MoEngage #GROWTH Maestros, drawing on practical examples and actionable insights from AppTweak and MoneyTap (FREO).
The festive season is unequivocally one of the most joyous times of the year, bringing forth the time for much-awaited holiday shopping. For retail markets, this heralds a period of profits and tremendous competition: With new offers, discounts, and products launched during this time, everybody looks forward to a productive quarter. This blog will help you understand:
- How finance apps operate during the festive season
- How ASO works for customer acquisition & retention during the holidays
- The right time to start preparing for the festive season
- The emerging ASO trends to consider ahead of the festive season
Compared to the entire year, banking and finance apps experience a significant surge in installs during the festive period. This stands true even in the post-pandemic world, where the mobile finance segment has grown from strength to strength, adding newer users to the digital fold across geographies.
This is partly due to the increased demand for capital on occasions such as gifting, vacations, and other related activities. Due to the enormous competition, every finance brand particularly prioritizes its reach and engagement at this time. One of the key aspects driving better reach and engagement for finance and banking apps is App Store Optimization.
The Curious Case of Finance Apps and the Festive Season
The last quarter of the year—October to December—is the peak festive season in most parts of the world. This is a time when people get into the holiday mood and are willing to spend more than usual. In a country like India, where major festivals like Navaratri, Diwali, and Christmas are all lined up one after the other, consumers tend to flood the markets and shop for a wide range of offers.
Often, consumers are on the lookout for financial assistance at this time due to a renewed interest in activities like home renovation, furnishing, remittance, shopping for consumer durables, and upgrading essential gadgets. As a result, financial transactions are at their peak during the festive season.
Credit line apps and banking apps used to facilitate money transfers observe increased app installs during the holiday season. However, a drastic change can be seen in consumer behaviors between this year and the last. Before the pandemic, people preferred large financial transactions as they borrowed money for vacations or to finance major purchases, for instance, vehicles. This behavior has changed since the pandemic; consumers now prioritize financial security and well-being.
For banking apps, this would mean coming up with personalized offers and insight-led engagement strategies to better appeal to their existing and prospective customers.
ASO For Customer Acquisition & Retention During the Holidays
Monitor keyword searches and their volumes
Selective queries often surge in popularity during the festive season. Hence, it is essential to know what the audience might look for rather than adopting a stiff and generic approach. Finance apps need to ensure they stay relevant to people regardless of the time or situation. For this, it is essential to monitor keyword volumes.
Adopt visual creatives alongside text
Another strategy is to adopt visual creatives alongside text messages. This requires focusing on the problems that consumers face during the festive season and how your app can solve them. This has proven to improve usage and reach on both the App Store as well as Google Play.
The Android and iOS app stores differ significantly in the ways they operate. But both stores have started integrating marketing tools inside their respective stores which warrant additional care from app marketers. The bottom line is to modify communication according to the holidays and stay relevant.
Use data to stay ahead of the competition
Competition amongst brands and businesses is at its peak during the festive season. Marketers, therefore, need to focus on making their app stand out. Changing the existing strategy from a mid-funnel approach to a top-funnel one can be beneficial.
While targeting new consumers for app installs, it is also vital to target existing users for updates and reinstalls. Monitoring Google Play conversions (impressions generated on marketing channels that are translated into installs) is also necessary, as the spending and targets are high during this season. These conversions can be used for affiliates, different promotions, distribution channels, as well as for specific campaigns.
Execute data-driven engagement campaigns
In the current market, marketers need to work with raw data to segment their customer base consistently. They need to look at a problem through different perspectives for relevant data points to emerge.
Actionable insights can then be drawn from the raw data to better segment and strategize marketing plans. The customers can then be nudged in the right direction to install the app.
Once the data-driven plan is in place, brands should prioritize consistent and relevant messaging across all channels, be it SMS, email, push notifications, or in-app messages. To drive better engagement, brands can adopt localization and introduce vernacular and regional languages in the app. With more users from Tier-II and Tier-III cities transacting digitally and applying for credit online, it becomes all the more important to localize app communication.
Leverage storytelling to better engage customers
App stores are secretive about how they choose apps to feature. While there is no set framework, the basic thing to focus on is getting great reviews and ratings. Apps with a rating of 4.5-5 are considered “good” and worth installing. Anything less is viewed as unreliable and not up to the mark.
Additionally, when marketing an app, it is essential to focus on the storytelling aspect. Marketers should focus on diversifying their offers with the help of relatable storytelling that engages the audience.
Prioritize re-engagement of dormant users
A thorough analysis of customer behavior and patterns across the lifecycle can help marketers identify drop-off points. These drop-off points essentially show where and when the customers became dormant. Understanding these points of dormancy and performing a sentiment analysis can help in developing campaigns that bring these users back.
The Right Time to Start ASO Efforts for the Festive Season
The correct time to implement ASO strategies is roughly a month before the start of the festive season. Comparing and analyzing last year’s app performance plays a major role in deciding strategies for the current year. To effectively optimize an app, it is essential to understand the intent of customers behind app preferences and popular trends to pick out effective keywords.
The app creatives should focus on visual appeal for the audience. A general rule is to avoid holiday-themed content if you don’t have any festive deals to offer.
Hitarth Saini, Head of Marketing at FREO, India’s first credit-led neobank, also doubles down on the importance of updating app visuals according to the season. Hitarth mentions that fintech apps like FREO are extremely popular during the festive season, and routinely use ASO for improving user engagement. During the last year, when they had generated around 50 million installs, they decided to modify the app’s logo for the holiday season. This slight change resulted in significantly improved conversions.
According to Simon Thillay, Head of ASO at AppTweak, along with updating creatives, it is extremely crucial to test creatives. Simon says, “Testing the app is crucial before it is updated and launched on the store. To seamlessly execute app updates, clearly visualize the changes. That way, it can be possible to avoid the mistakes made by competitors.”
Emerging ASO Trends to Consider Ahead of the Festive Season
The 2021 festive season is going to be even more of a challenge as compared to last year since the degree to which people are tackling the pandemic varies from region to region. Moreover, when it comes to trends, different countries have different expectations regarding surge volumes, reviews, and ratings on the apps. However, online shopping will continue to be a prime channel for a lot of shoppers.
In the finance industry, the demand in the search queries for small credits has suddenly gone up. During the pre-lockdown period, consumers had a certain behavioral pattern for spending that they adhered to. However, since the lockdown, this pattern has seen a change. Customers are now leaning towards smaller credit amounts and prefer paying via their bank accounts or payment apps. Needless to say, customers now prioritize financial outcomes above all else: They have become increasingly inquisitive of their credit history and spending patterns.
Therefore, financial apps and products that enable users to improve their expenditure habits and aid in monetary planning are seeing tremendous growth. However, the complexity of finances is a difficult topic to understand for the majority of users. Adding to that, there is also a slight apprehension about adapting to different spending patterns and the challenge of improving financial literacy and inclusion.
The Impact of Changes in Marketing Costs and Ad Budgets
The upcoming festive season is bound to be an exciting time for app marketers all over the world. Targets are high, budgets are limited, and the cost of media is high due to the spending frenzy. Naturally, the competition between brands to attract the most audiences is cutthroat.
Ads are the most obvious marketing choice and, currently, with so many social media platforms enabling direct selling via apps, things are about to get interesting. However, with the festive season upon us, customers are bombarded with many ads. This presents a challenge for marketers and advertisers as it becomes increasingly difficult to break through the clutter.
Considering these constraints, it is essential to change priorities and opt for an alternative that will create an impact. For instance, this may include:
- Designing several custom landing pages for the app
- Adopting personalized media and graphic assets
- Maximizing the communication between the app and the user
These largely de-risked options open avenues for optimal focus towards consumers. It is also possible to balance the spike in unit costs that marketers see during the festive season by taking this approach.
At this time, the communication directed towards consumers needs to be hyper-segmented. Otherwise, an ad that is appealing and unique might fail to grab the attention of the user by getting lost in the clutter.
Integrated ads, shoppable ads, and gamified ads provide micro-experiences to the customers, which marketers and advertisers must leverage to their full extent. These formats of advertising can be more efficient than some other traditional campaigns.
All in all, to implement a good ASO strategy, it is essential to offer consumers the services that drew them to the app in the first place. Experimenting, taking different approaches, and using alternative methods to increase performance are also ways to ditch the traditional approach and adopt a newer and better one.
With markets opening up and worldwide vaccination drives in progress, the festive season 2021 is all about opening up users to a unique experience.
If you wish to start working on your festive plans, it is important to:
- Start tracking your keywords early, including searches and their volumes.
- Consider changing up your app page creatives in tandem with the festive season.
- Target existing users for updates and reinstalls. Monitor Google Play conversions and check for affiliates, different promotions, distribution channels, as well as specific campaigns.
- Execute data-driven engagement campaigns based on your previous ASO data.
- Remember that the communication directed towards consumers needs to be hyper-segmented, to prevent yourself from getting lost in the clutter.
Reach out to AppTweak to find the perfect ASO strategy for your app.