Recently, we published our predictions for 2023 and some strategies that can help mobile marketers recession-proof their efforts (If you haven’t already, you can get your copy from this link).
There was one word that stood out to me: “inspiration”. Makes you think about how inspiration can help mobile marketers in the face of recession, right?
Well, let’s start by thinking about our own shopping experiences. Not long, maybe 10 years ago, I would always make a shopping list on a piece of paper or in my mind before I left home and go to a supermarket or mall. I used to have a specific brand on my mind because I had an experience with it or I saw a TV commercial about it. I would shop with a specific target.
That was before online shopping had become such an indispensable part of our lives. As our team mentioned in the 2023 forecast, today's shopping experience does not start with a list anymore. We are always-on purchasers. In fact, Google says 90% of smartphone users say they aren't absolutely sure of the specific brand they want to buy when they begin shopping. I personally can second that. And our purchasing intent can be triggered at any moment - while checking out social media or reading the news - as long as the right content inspires us.
So, yes, inspiration is a key factor and strategy, especially for eCommerce and retail players. Because today, shoppers’ journey starts on social media or on search engines. Marketers not only can meet the needs and demands of shoppers, but also they can generate the demand by embracing the power of inspiration. Pinterest recently discovered that inspiration generates as much as a 32% higher return on ad spending (ROAS) on its platform.
Now it makes sense when I say “inspiration” is key to recession-proofing, doesn’t it? If you could turn your own app or website into a source of inspiration, that effort would translate into excellent engagement and conversion opportunities.
And inspiration calls for great content that can capture the attention of shoppers, and great content calls for channels that can effectively reach and engage its target audience. So, my question for this article is this: Are conventional channels enough for user engagement?
When I say “conventional channels”, I am talking about a generic MarTech stack that mobile marketers rely on: SMS, banners, pop-up messages, push notifications, etc. My answer to the question? It is “No”. Not anymore. And I have my reasons to stand behind what I said.
As you know, mobile screens are already very limited and give brands very little space to deliver experiences that truly engage audiences. And, let’s be honest, these conventional channels do not really have the capabilities to “immerse” the shoppers and inspire them. They aren't very versatile, and, more importantly, they minimize interactivity. Let’s take SMS, for instance: The open rate for SMS is a whopping 98%. But how much inspiration can you give through an SMS other than a gigantic sales announcement? Banners or pop-ups are no different. The content is as limited as the screen size: One-dimensional, with no depth at all.
These conventional channels also add a lot of friction into the journey, which means you can lose a potential purchase any second while trying to bring the customer to the cart. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the purchase will be completed. Online shopping platforms are full of abandoned carts. (Remember: The abandonment rate for online shopping carts varies from 50-98% depending on the industry. Whereas groceries have the lowest cart abandonment with 50%, it is as high as 71.24% for retail, 87.79% for fashion, and 90% for airlines.)
Another thing that shoppers are looking for today is an uninterrupted experience. I mean, who likes to repeatedly hit the "X" at the top of the screen to close irritating pop-ups? Today, users want to see interactions from brands that don't disrupt the rest of their mobile experience. They want to see non-intrusive methods of connecting that contribute rather than detract from an experience. I feel like people are becoming “blind” to these “conventional” formats. The open and click-through rates are proof to the fact that conventional tools do not fully resonate with people. All these barriers make it impossible for these channels to become a source of inspiration.
According to a study by iPaper, consumers find inspiration in Amazon and Google the most. This means mobile marketers are missing out on a great opportunity: They leave the chance to inspire their potential customers to other platforms, decreasing the possibility of active usage and conversion in their apps or on their websites.
That’s why we believe in the power of Stories in delivering next-level mobile user engagement.
Let me explain: We all love and use Stories. We are already familiar with Stories through various social media platforms. Snapchat and Instagram are a couple of platforms already making use of this format to connect with users because of their effectiveness.
What’s more, it’s not only social media platforms that harness the power of Stories. According to App Annie's 2021 Mobile Shopping Apps Report, users who connected with in-app Stories visited their corresponding apps 60% more frequently. People love them because they can enjoy the combined snackability, interactivity, authenticity, and rich nature of Stories, which are vital elements missing from most conventional tools. During those crucial micro-moments when people are eager to research or buy, Stories give you the ability to capture users' attention and, most importantly, inspire them with highly snackable content.
And engagement rates are amazing. For retail, we see engagement rates of around 12% - going up to 34%. Domino’s, for instance, observed a 64% higher conversion rate by communicating campaigns through in-app Stories powered by Storyly compared to banners, and 37% of users clicked through to the campaign detail page after viewing the brand’s Stories. The numbers speak for themselves, so I will not make this article longer than it already is.
I am not suggesting the conventional channels are totally useless, though. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just that people are looking for frictionless experiences that work cohesively with their overarching experience on mobile devices. And it’s clear that mobile marketers need to look carefully at their MarTech stacks and innovate to take the user experience and engagement to the next level.