Mobile App Marketing via Push Notification Messages
This is how I use push notification messages plus content marketing in my iOS and Android mobile apps. My name is Mike Haldas and I am the co-founder of AppBurst. I have used the AppBurst mobile app platform to create several apps for a video surveillance company that I also co-founded, CCTV Camera Pros. I use these apps to extend the company's content marketing strategy to mobile. Building a mobile app user base and push subscriber list is a lot like building an email marketing list.
Mobile Content Marketing Background
To give you some context, here is a very brief history of how AppBurst was started. Feel free to skip ahead, but I think that this background will help explain how and why we have built one of the best mobile application platforms in the world for content marketing.
I am actually the very first client of AppBurst. Back in 2008, I had a vision to create the first free security camera viewer app for iPhone. At the time, there were several apps already in the app store that did this, but none were free. Actually, if I remember correctly there were only 2 or 3 and one of them cost something like $900 at the time. Crazy!
Anyway, the idea behind the app was to integrate as many IP cameras as possible so that we have thousands of people using the iPhone app to view their cameras remotely. The app would also contain CCTV Camera Pros product catalog, blog articles, videos, images galleries, and information about us (basically all of the content from our website). The idea is that a certain number of users would also browse the content contained in the other sections of the app, and a certain number of those users would convert to customers by buying something one day.
Well, to make a long story short, instead of developing a one-off camera viewer app for CCTV Camera Pros, we decided to build a platform to develop content marketing apps for other companies. This made sense being that only one section in the app was specific to the surveillance industry (camera viewer module) and the rest of the sections were generic and apply to any business that uses content to market their products and services. CCTV Camera Pros eventually launched another app on the platform that acted purely as a companion app to our website and eventually we launched an iPad and Android version. The website companion app is called CCTV Camera Pros Mobile and the original camera viewer app is called iCamViewer.
I want mention that our apps are native. These are not HTML websites. These apps are distributed through the app stores and respond on those platforms as you would expect a well designed native app to respond.
How I Roll Out Content in Mobile Apps
Here is how the content produced at CCTV Camera Pros naturally flows into the company's mobile apps (iOS and Android) without any additional work. CCTV Camera Pros creates a lot of video content on YouTube and also publishes blog posts using Wordpress. AppBurst has created a framework that lets users bring content from YouTube (channels and playlists) and Wordpress into their apps using RSS and JSON data feeds. AppBurst then uses templates to display the videos and articles appropriately in the app. We call these modules. Once these modules are configured, the data just naturally flows into the app without any additional work and I can easily notify my app users via push notification that a new video or article is available in the app.
Here is how I used this feature yesterday. I created two blog posts at CCTV Camera Pros: one was geared towards iOS users and the other for Android users. I mention this because I also segmented the push notifications by device (I will explain shortly). Here are links to the two articles.
These are both just your typical blog posts containing a title, body, images, and a featured image. As soon as I published these articles, they were immediately available in our mobile apps because our apps use the AppBurst news and blog module which automatically grabs the latest JSON or RSS data feed from the blog when a user launches the app.
Wordpress Blog Content in the App
Here is what the blog section of the app looks like on iPhone (it looks about the same on iPad and Android). I use Wordpress for my blog. AppBurst has developed a Wordpress plugin so that my data in Wordpress gets fed into the AppBurst content management system and uses the featured image for the thumbnail in the article list view. Any AppBurst client can now use this Wordpress module.
The left image shows the blog list of articles and the right shows the article view for my "iPhone App with PTZ Camera Controls" article. I am able to include a deep link with the push message to either of these sections on the app (actually any section that I want) so that users that tap on the push message are brought directly to the content that they were notified about.
Content Marketing Rollout Process
I use a content rollout process where I share new blog posts and videos on social media websites such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I am sure that this is similar to what a lot of content marketers do. In addition to rolling out new content on social media websites, I also have an additional step in my rollout process, which is to notify my mobile app user base that a new article exists to read in the app. I send the app users this notification via a push message that I create in the AppBurst dashboard. The dashboard is basically the mobile CMS and app configuration interface that AppBurst customers get access to.
Push Notification Dashboard
Here is what the push notification section of the AppBurst dashboard looks like. I entered the text of the push notification in the first field, the URL of the deep link in the second field, and I specified to only include iOS users in this particular push (I did the same thing again for Android users with a deep link directly to the Android article).
Push Notifications with User Segmentation
So, yesterday after I created the two blog posts, I sent out segmented push notifications to my app users. What do I mean by segmented push? This is the same concept as segmenting a mailing list. I only want iOS app users to receive the push message about the iPhone-related blog post and only Android app users to get the Android-related post. Also, I used a deep link in each of the messages to not only open the app when the user taps on the message, but also bring them to the article within the app that is applicable to the device platform that they are viewing from.
Here is what the push message looks like on my iPhone. The screenshot on the left shows the push message when it first arrived on my device with my screen locked. The screenshot on the right shows the push message in my message center history. If I tap on the message in either location, the CCTV Camera Pros app will open and I will be brought to the location in the deep link (in this case the iPhone PTZ article).
I created the push notifications for iOS and Android for CCTV Camera Pros two apps - CCTV Camera Pros Mobile and iCamViewer. Both of these apps automatically receive all of the blog content from CCTV Camera Pros blog. The two apps have a combined user base of over 100,000 users. Most of these are subscribed to push notifications.
Push Click Through Reports & Analytics
The team at AppBurst is currently building a reporting engine that will allow myself and other AppBurst customers to track the click through rate (actually tap through rate) for push message campaigns. Just as marketing professionals carefully track the open and click through rates of email campaigns, AppBurst is building this same type of reporting for push message campaigns.
Summary & Contact Info
For me, building an app user base and push message subscriber list is just as valuable as an email list and is an essential part of a mobile marketing strategy for modern businesses. Actually, I think that building an app user base is even more powerful that a mailing list because there are no limits to the type of content that can be contained in a native mobile app.
If you would like to see how I use content marketing and push notifications in my apps, please download one or both of them. I do not send push messages too often, but if you keep them installed for a few weeks, I am sure that you will see one or two. In the mean time, all of the content that I create stays in there forever so you can check that out now. Download the apps here:
If you have any questions about this article or anything related to mobile app development and marketing, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mobile App Marketing via Push Notification Messages
Learn how AppBurst co-founder Mike Haldas uses push notification messages plus blog content marketing in iOS and Android mobile apps. Push subscribers are just like an email list and do not think many marketers are thinking in this way.