This week, Branch Evangelist, Gary MacDonough, will share his invaluable industry expertise on strategies to successfully market your ecommerce apps. Branch is a deep linking platform that provides marketers with the tools and analytics to perform traditional web-like marketing across all channels but with a strong focus on mobile. They work with some of the biggest e-commerce brands in the world to increase their conversion rates and subsequently, increase revenue.
It’s no secret now in the e-commerce space that apps are the best converting platform. Apps convert 120% better than mobile web and 90% of time spent on mobile is in apps. If you want to sell more products and increase your revenue it’s a no-brainer to funnel your traffic from all channels to your e-commerce mobile app. Whether you’re a century old retailer, a modern tech giant, or a startup that’s recently launched, mobile is the place where your customers are increasingly spending their time and money.
The tricky part is getting our customers to use the mobile app in the first place and then, encourage repeat purchases. If traditional channels like email, search, social, and paid ads aren’t optimised for mobile, there will be significant drop-off for marketers trying to drive revenue.
You can’t rely on the App Stores to drive traffic to your e-commerce app the same way you could rely on Google Search back in the day. Mobile marketers must adopt an optimised multi-channel approach to email, mweb, desktop web, social and paid to get users to the app and in turn boost app store ratings to gain more exposure.
Below I detail my top 5 strategies to grow an e-commerce app and increase revenue using deep links with examples of some of the UK’s top mobile focused e-commerce companies.
Mobile Web To App Installs Using Smart Banners
Increasingly at Branch, we advise e-commerce companies to start viewing their mobile website as more of a channel for mobile app user acquisition, rather than a platform in itself. The rationale being that the mobile app is much better experience and converts at a significantly higher rate than mobile web. The best way to do this elegantly without causing friction to the user is by implementing a deep linked smart banner campaign across your mobile site.
Image credit: Matchesfashion.com – deep linked smart banner example.
In the above example from Matchesfashion.com, when I click on the smart banner, I am taken to the app store, then after installing I am taking straight to the product I was initially interested in. If I already had the app installed it would take me straight to the relevant product. Marketers can even add a discount incentive to install the app and apply that discount straight to the checkout in app.
Smart banners are the biggest source of installs for large e-commerce apps that nobody ever talks about. It’s the secret sauce of lots of big companies and can often account for up to ⅓ of their install traffic! In a recent case study we did with a large Indonesian ecommerce company called Bukalapak, they saw a 5x increase in daily app downloads and 2x increase in conversions / transactions within the app from smart banner users.
Desktop To App Installs Using SMS
Image credit: Bloom & Wild – ‘Text Me The App’ SMS example.
Often users will find your desktop site via Google Search and not even know you have an app. The best way to convert them to mobile app is via a ‘Text Me The App’ SMS with a link to install the app. Branch links can automatically detect if user is on Android or iOS and route them to the appropriate App Store to install, apply discounts to the mobile app checkout and even auto-login the app user if they are already logged in on desktop. You can offer lots of different incentives for desktop users to install the app: for example discounts, real time delivery updates and sales notifications via push.
Deep Linked Email
Image credit: iamfy.co – Deep Linked Email example.
Emails are still the easiest way to directly contact your customers. They present an opportunity to place content directly in front of your audience at any time of the day or night. Unlike social and paid, where organic impressions have volatile ROI, email has been a reliable channel for all marketers trying to drive revenue and engagement. However, in the last 10 years, mobile has changed how consumers interact with these emails.
Today, 70% of emails get opened on a mobile device. 30-40% of mobile users should enter the app but 100% of links in emails route to mweb. This results in 65% lower conversion and 60% lower engagement on mobile web compared to app. Any successful email marketing strategy must take the mobile experience into account.
Adding deep links to your email campaigns allows the user to have an optimal user experience on mobile. In the above example from Fy, when I receive the email and click on a product I am taking directly to that product within the app if I have the app installed. This is a superior user experience and leads to higher conversion rates. If I don’t have the app installed, when clicking on the link I simply fall back to the mobile web.
Product / Content Sharing With Friends
Like in real life, often online shoppers will ask a friend for their thoughts on a new outfit for the weekend before purchasing. Allowing app users to seamlessly share products with friends for feedback is imperative to an optimised content sharing strategy.
Image credit: joincomb.com – content sharing with friends example.
The mobile fashion app Comb does an awesome job of this. When I discover a product I like on Comb, I can then share it with a friend via a variety of channels like SMS, Whatsapp etc. My friend receives the message and clicks on the Branch link to install the Comb app. After install, they are shown a personalised onboarding screen to enhance the login experience and then taken straight to the product that I shared with them so they can offer feedback to me. Users that come from referrals have much higher retention rates than other channels and of course they are free.
Deep Linked Ads
Image credit: mallzee.com – content sharing with friends example.
I frequently see mobile app install retargeting ads on Facebook from big ecommerce retailers and I am amazed how often they are not deep linked. This means when I click on the ad, I am taken to the app store to install the app then to homepage of the app so I need to search for the product that initially piqued my interest on the ad.
The advantage of course with deep linking these ads is that it is a much better user experience and conversion rates are much higher. It’s very easy to set up deep linked ads and will be a game changer to your paid campaigns. Imagine if every time you clicked on a Google Adwords ad and it took you to the homepage of the website rather than the specific product page…
Mallzee, the Tinder style fashion discovery app does a fantastic job of this. I receive a Facebook retargeting ad showing me relevant products and when I click the ad I am taken straight to the same product within the app that was originally displayed on the app. This in turn increases Mallzee’s app retention rates and conversion rates on paid campaigns.
Branch enables ecommerce startups and established retailers alike to integrate all these features to improve revenue on mobile marketing campaigns. You can also check out loads of great case studies on deep linking use cases on the Branch blog. If you have any questions on the above please do not hesitate to contact me on email@example.com to discuss further.
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