Achieving mobile greatness starts with your mobile engine -- that is, the platform that powers all of your mobile activities. Below we explore the key elements your mobile marketing platform should have:

1.) Powerful Targeting

To create truly powerful mobile app user experiences, you need to target users based on what they have done in your app at a very granular level. This allows you to serve users highly relevant and compelling messages that significantly outperform.

The ability to combine profile and event data is key to creating an individualized user experience, which keeps users engaged. Here are a few ways to create individualized mobile messaging:

  1. Creating an audience based on their profile attributes. This could be anything from users who have had only one session in the app in the past 30 days, users who have favorited a certain item, or more simple demographic information about the user.
  2. Creating an audience based on their behavioral attributes. These attributes mainly consist of users who performed specific events while using the app, such as adding an item to their cart or users who read a specific article.
  3. Creating an audience based on both profile attributes and behavioral conditions. This could be sending a push notification about new content to users who have read a similar article in the app before, but have not had a session in the last week.

Consider the following two scenarios:




News app sends breaking news about a Boston Red Sox trade deal to all users who regularly consume baseball content





News app sends breaking news about a Boston Red Sox trade deal to all users who regularly consume baseball content and have ‘Red Sox’ listed as favorite baseball team

Mobile is an unforgiving platform. If you send the above broadcast message to fans who don’t care about the Red Sox (Ahem...Yankees fans?) many will disable push notifications or even churn. Detailed user targeting allows you to send messages to the right audience at the right time.

Quality > Quantity.

2) Multiple Messaging Channels

Good communication is key with your app users. Just sending push notifications? Then you’re missing out on engaging with app users through other highly effective messaging channels, such as in-app and inbox.




Even more important than communicating with your users across different app messaging channels? Making that communication personal and relevant to them. Your mobile marketing platform needs to be able to send dynamically personalized messages, based on a user’s profile data and in-app actions.

Here’s the difference:


Click to enlarge


Your mobile marketing platform should put your data to work for you, so that you can segment and tailor all of your mobile messaging to be very specific to your mobile users’ unique interests.

3) Strong Campaign Reporting

To succeed in mobile, it’s essential to be data-driven. You need to have deep insights into how your marketing campaigns are influencing user behavior so that you can prove ROI. This is especially important given how fickle mobile app users are.

So what kind of data insights and reporting do you need out of your mobile marketing platform?

  • Data to understand which messages resonate and which ones don’t so that you can optimize and send more high quality messages over time. Basically, the ability to move beyond conversion rate to get a holistic view of the impact your messaging is having. Think about how many push notifications you receive - how many do you swipe-through right on the spot? Just because your CTR is low, doesn’t mean your push wasn’t well received. Often times, users will read the push notification but not open, with intentions of acting on the notification when they have free time. On the flip side, if you send a really bad push notification, a user might just immediately uninstall your app. Understanding this level of detail about your mobile messaging is essential to driving user retention and ROI.



  • A/B/n testing (multivariate testing): Marketers live or die by A/B testing when it comes to email and website pages, so why should mobile marketing be any different? Testing out different copy, imagery, and overall messaging is key to understanding what resonates with users, and how to optimize accordingly. But since trying out new tactics can be a bit scary, having multivariate testing, or the ability to send messaging to a varying quantity of users (say, 80/20) is key. This way, you can test out new messaging on a small subset of your audience, while the majority receive a proven message and avoid avoid risking overall campaign performance for the sake of a test.




  • Having a control group: A control group is a small group of users who don’t receive a campaign, despite qualifying for it. The reason marketers use control groups is to truly understand the impact of their campaigns in terms of influencing user behavior:


As the above highlights, if you just look at Message A vs. Message B in a given campaign you’re running, you’ll presume Message A the winner. However, in this particular case no news is good news to your mobile app users. Those who didn’t receive any messaging actually converted at a higher rate than those who did. Without a control group, you’d end up sending a message that suppresses conversion...


4.) Platform That Supports Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy

Your customers expect to be able to interact with your brand how they want, when they want, across a variety of touchpoints. And they expect that this is done seamlessly. Making sure that your mobile marketing platform plays nicely with your marketing stack and CRM is critical.

Here are the omni-channel capabilities to look for in a mobile marketing platform:

  • Flexible integrations
  • Use APIs to share and receive data with your various platforms, including:
    • Audience data
    • Campaign data
    • Customer profile data
    • Event data
  • The ability to access the raw data your marketing platform collects for things like creating an omni-channel user database or advanced analysis in a Business Intelligence tool.


5.) Flexible platform that grows with your needs

You want a mobile marketing platform that has advanced capabilities but understands your unique business needs. In other words, your platform should grow with you. Many companies are looking to crawl before they walk, and that means they simply want to start sending push and in-app messages. But if you invest in a point solution just for push notifications or a platform with limited targeting capabilities, can you imagine the headache you’ll get when you want to do more?

You need a mobile marketing platform whose price and structure scales with you as you grow. A platform that you can add additional capabilities to over time as your mobile marketing becomes more sophisticated. That way, you won’t have to find and learn a new product as you mature.

Here are some initial offerings to consider:

  • Does the platform offer all of the core functionalities you need  or will you need to invest in multiple platforms?
  • Does the platform allow you to do basic tasks like mobile messaging, but also offers more advanced capabilities you can grow into?
  • Can the platform take in data and leverage it effectively?


6. Scalable Pricing: There are several different ways that mobile marketing platforms charge for usage. It’s important to be aware of this, and understand the pros and cons of each as you scale. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular mobile marketing platform pricing models:

1) Total Number of Users

  • Pros: This is very cost effective for smaller apps with less users
  • Cons: You are being charged for every person who has your app installed on their smartphone, even if they never open your app

2) Monthly Active Users

  • Pros: A much fairer way to charge for services based on the amount of people who actively use your app
  • Cons: Different platforms define Monthly Active Users (MAUs) differently. For example - some platforms will charge based on who you message, even if they’re not actively engaging with you. This can discourage you sending re-engagement push notifications.

3. Additional Charges: As with any platform, additional charges can occur. Do your due diligence to understand the following:

  • How the mobile marketing platform handles overages
  • Any fees associated with importing or exporting data between your various platforms