4 Ways to Help Your In-App Messages Cut through the Noise

Right place, right time is the dream of marketers everywhere. One way to make that dream come true? The often underutilized, always right-on-time in-app message.

In-app messages appear when a user has an app open, and is actively engaged. Unlike push notifications, in-app messages don’t require consent from your users.

These messages, when used right, can positively impact engagement across the user journey and influence retention at every touchpoint. 

Want to learn how to put these powerful messages to use for your brand? Read on for our best tips on using in-app messaging the right way.

Stay on Brand

As mentioned earlier, the beauty of in-app messaging is that it takes place in the right place, at the right time, allowing you to interact with customers right when they’re actively using your app. 

While that is a great time to interact, it also makes it all the more important for your messages to be on brand. You don’t want to jar a user out of the experience they expect from your brand.

To keep your in-app messages in sync with the look and feel of your brand you can upload custom imagery and call-to-action (CTA) buttons designed off-platform to offer the most visually appealing communication.

A mobile phone displays an example in-app message from Spotify prompting the user to start listening to music.

In-app messages should also stay consistent in tone and message throughout the customer journey.

While consistency with your brand is key, don’t be afraid to test specific creative aspects of your message. Try changing your button text or position or switching up your background image and then adjust your campaigns based on the results.

Mind the Time

With in-app messages time is on your side. You can deliver your message at the right point in the customer journey, such as after a user completes a task or purchase, not during standard navigation.

Here are a couple of ideas for timing your message to achieve specific goals: 

  • Push permission opt-in – Trigger these requests when a customer favorites or likes a specific preference or at the end of onboarding. It will improve your chances of a customer opting in when you ask while they’re feeling good about your app and brand.
    A mobile phone displays an in app message asking for the user to opt-in to push notifications.
  • Feature awareness – Use in app messages to highlight a new feature with an in-app message when a customer first opens the app. You can also highlight a complementary feature once a customer has finished using another.

An example in app message on a mobile phone highlights a new feature and invites the customer to check it out.

  • Promotional and upsell opportunities – Offer a supplemental product or service after a customer has made a purchase.
  • Prioritize your communications with your customer – Time and attention are limited so be sure to show customers the most important message first. Focus on which message is most important for your customer, not necessarily your brand. 

Keep in mind that shorter, more frequent campaigns are generally more effective than longer, static campaigns. You can make frequent creative tweaks and be more responsive based on the  data and results you’re seeing.

Be Targeted

One of the best parts about in-app messaging is that it can truly feel like a 1:1 conversation between your brand and your customers. For that reason it’s important to make sure you’re not just blasting the same messaging to everyone using the app.

Using audience segmentation you can accurately define your messages and provide customers with the right communication touch points, at the right time.

Some specific campaigns ideas you may want to consider are:

  • Subscribers – it’s a good idea to target subscribers less frequently than non-subscribers.
  • Non-payers – create targeted messages for users who haven’t tried a particular feature of your app, or customers who have installed your app for free.

Timing also comes back into play when you’re targeted with your in-app messages. Consider the percentage of overall customers you want to reach and try to avoid over-messaging customers, especially new ones who may be put off.

Test, test, test

While we’re exploring best practices in this post, so much of the success – or lack thereof – that brands owe to in-app messaging comes down to testing different variables to see what works best for their specific audience.

A/B tests are a great way to find out what style of messaging appeals to your users. You can compare two or more versions of a message and measure the results of each user segment exposed to the campaign. 

Some ideas for areas to test include:

  • Tone
  • Imagery
  • Localized content
  • Timing 
  • Frequency
  • Personalization

Now you can refine your in-app messaging in the MessageGears platform. 

Swrve, a MessageGears company gives you all the tools you need to build, test and launch in-app notifications in minutes, with no developers or coding required. You can engage users right when they’re actively using your app. 

The biggest mobile-first brands use Swrve to engage, retain, and delight their app audiences.

About the Author

Elsbeth Russell

Elsbeth has nearly two decades of experience helping brands attract and engage audiences through content. For the past six years, she’s been dedicated to helping B2B companies in the email marketing space connect with audiences through community building and social media marketing.