An array of updates to Adobe's Mobile Services will make it easier for businesses to engage with app-using customers on the go, according to the company. The new features are designed to give marketers, rather than app developers, greater control over the mobile messages sent to customers and more personalization based on where customers are and what they are doing at the time.
The updated Adobe Mobile Services enable companies to send targeted in-app ads and messages, analyze app user activity and create messages based on user behavior, lifecycle metrics and location. The location-specific content can be activated by either GPS or in-store iBeacons.
Adobe is pushing in-app communications as a more effective way for businesses to engage with their customers online. Developing more integrated apps based on users' behaviors can help companies "discover what works and . . . make users come back for more," according to the company.
Apps Edge Out Mobile Web
In-app communication lets businesses interact with customers more effectively than simple mobile Web strategies, according to Ray Pun, Strategic Marketing lead for Mobile Solutions across Adobe's Marketing Cloud. In a blog post on Monday, Pun pointed to studies that show smartphone app users engage with companies online twice as much as those who browse mobile Web sites.
"Customers who love your brand are more likely to go directly to your app, instead of the mobile Web, to meet their needs," Pun noted, citing statistics showing that app user engagement exceeds mobile Web use by an average of 100 minutes per month.
Businesses with insights into how and where customers use their mobile apps have an edge over those without, Pun added. He pointed to a recent study from the Altimeter Group analyst firm that found only 17 percent of so-called digital leaders are studying the "digital customer journey."
Customers Move Beyond Search
The latest updates to Adobe's Mobile Services include an app-centric dashboard for mobile teams, automated metrics and campaign reports, geolocation-based app services and templates for in-app messaging and measurements. These new features give e-marketers more control over -- and insights into -- their mobile apps and marketing messages, Pun said.
For example, retailers can use Adobe's Mobile Services to send in-app welcome messages to customers that are activated by iBeacons at the stores' entrances. Marketers can even push out store-specific information about sales and specials to app-using customers.
According to recent figures from eMarketer, the mobile advertising market will reach $17.73 billion in the U.S. in 2014. That market is also shifting away from browser-based searches and toward mobile apps as the number of users of mobile apps grows, eMarketer noted.
"Even though browser-based search is a common behavior among mobile owners, search engines are not necessarily the first place smartphone and tablet users turn," said Cathy Boyle, senior analyst for mobile at eMarketer. "The explosion of mobile app development and usage means mobile users have more -- and more specialized -- alternatives for finding information."