5 Steps To Automating Your Mobile App Marketing

Learn how to use marketing automation to create powerful mobile campaigns.


5 Steps To Automating Your Mobile App Marketing

Learn how to use marketing automation to create powerful mobile campaigns.

Think about your marketing stack. Odds are, you have tools in place that help you automate many things from emails, to social media, blog publishing and beyond. Marketing automation is essential in today’s incredibly competitive climate. It helps you streamline and prioritize your outreach, all the while making it much more effective. 

This notion of marketing automation is not a new one, and has proven it’s weight in gold - there’s a reason why Marketo and HubSpot are so successful. But for some reason it doesn’t always translate to mobile. 

You rely on marketing automation for all of your other digital marketing initiatives.  Why don’t you do the same for mobile? 

The need to have marketing automation for mobile is even more crucial than for more traditional channels like email. Why? There’s much more at stake with mobile. Consider the 2 scenarios:

SCENARIO 1: Sending a customer a “bad” email: If you send someone an irrelevant or “annoying” email, sure, there’s a risk that the consumer opts-out. But there’s also a chance they don’t even see the email since it’s buried between hundreds of others in an overcrowded inbox. 

SCENARIO 2: Sending a customer a “bad” push notification: Push notifications appear directly on a user’s homescreen, meaning they will see it. This makes push notifications very powerful, but also very polarizing when done poorly. Interrupt someone’s day with a spammy push, and face a bigger backlash of churn and damaged brand reputation. 

The stakes are higher with mobile, which is exactly why you need mobile marketing automation. But what exactly does that mean, and how do you go about implementing it? 

Read on to discover 5 ways to automate your mobile marketing. 








At Localytics, one of our core values is to “lead with data.” That means every strategic decision we make needs to be rooted in solid data to support the move. You need to do the exact same thing when it comes to your mobile marketing efforts. 

What kind of data do you need to capture and analyze? 

1. Who your users are

Knowing who your users are is easier said than done. For starters, you will most likely have several types of users with varying demographics that you need to take into consideration and market to accordingly. Start by capturing basic profile information like age, gender, and location. This is step one of personalizing your mobile marketing. Once you have the right profile information about users, move on to phase two of personalization by capturing their behavior and how they use your app. 



2. How they use your app

Knowing the actions and paths a user takes within your app reveals not only which features are resonating with users, but also which ones are falling flat. This data helps your team to prioritize certain optimizations and organize your app roadmap. 

From a marketing perspective, you can create better engagement with these users since you can tailor the messaging based on their actions. For example, if a user recently viewed a specific hotel inside your travel app, when you send out that 10% off promotion you can include the hotel within the messaging:



3. What defines a valuable app user

What defines a valuable app user varies across industries. For media apps, it’s a user who consumes a ton of content. For retailers, it’s undoubtedly the big spender. Whatever it may be, make sure you clearly identify it so that you have parameters around your ideal user and optimize your app to create more of them.



4. What actions valuable users take within your app

Once you’ve clearly defined what makes an app user valuable, it’s time to zero in on the actions they’re taking within your app. Try to identify any patterns between valued users to understand what makes them different than others. Is there a certain action users take that gets them from invaluable to valuable? Perhaps it’s downloading 3 audiobooks, or making a purchase. Whatever it may be, having a clear understanding of it will help you to optimize your entire app strategy around turning regular users into power users.








Attracting more users to your app is a goal every mobile marketer has. But they need to be the right users; the valuable ones that we mentioned in the first section. Why?

80% of app users churn within 90 days. 

That’s a scary statistic. And one that proves while mobile advertising dollars are increasing, too many of us aren’t being smart with our marketing dollars. App downloads is a vanity metric. Who cares if you convinced 250K users to download your app only for them to churn after one use? 

We have an entire eBook dedicated to app user acquisition because it’s just that important. So while we won’t go into the nitty gritty here, below are some high level tactics to attracting the right new app users: 

  1. Look-alike profiles: Once you’ve identified your ideal user, you can create campaigns that target users who ‘look’ just like them. 
  2. Website: Creating a website for your app helps legitimize it and let’s people know you’re in it for the long haul. 
  3. Social Media: Social media is one of the best places you can run app advertisements from Instagram to Facebook.  In addition to ads, you can organically use social media to promote your app by setting up social profiles.
  4. Public Relations: We all know media mentions go a long way. Try to create some buzz around your app through a press release, launch (or anniversary) party, doing interviews with local press and more.
  5. App Store Optimization (ASO): App Store optimization, or ASO, is the SEO of the mobile app world. It’s imperative for discoverability in an oversaturated market. So how do you accomplish solid ASO? Pay attention to the following:
    • App name - Is it unique?
    • Keywords -Include relevant keywords but be careful not to ‘keyword stuff’
    • Description - Does your description clearly articulate your app’s value and is it frequently updated with app update descriptions and release notes?
    • Screenshots/Video - Do you have 2-3 feature screenshots or a video tutorial outlining core app highlights?
    • Ratings - Do you have positive app  ratings?
  6. Search Ads: With the launch of iOS 10, Apple also introduced Search Ads, which are paid advertisements within the App Store. You’re able to bid for relevant keywords so that when a user is searching for apps using a particular term, your app appears first.

    While search ads are fairly new, early findings from AdWeek prove their incredibly effective, with 50% of consumers click on the ads they see.
  7. Influencer/Celebrity Endorsements: Getting an influencer to back your app has proven to be very successful. Just make sure that you’re choosing an influencer that is well connected with your target audience. 
  8. Traditional Advertising/In-Store: If you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar store, you absolutely need to advertise your app in-store, on your website, and on any type of advertising you do. Your customers need to know that your app is an essential part of your brand. 
  9. Word of mouth: Last but not least? Word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to attract new users. Since this happens organically, it’s a bit out of your control. But you can influence the conversation by offering a world-class app experience 

KPIs for New Users

Once you attract users to your app, it’s important to put key performance indicators (KPIs) in place to ensure your advertising campaigns are paying off for you. Start by measuring the following:

  • Sessions per user
  • Lifetime value
  • Retention rate









Now that you’ve laid the foundation for app marketing automation, it’s time to get up and running with your campaigns. We’re a firm believer in crawl, walk, run. Once you get fully acclimated with creating and running mobile marketing campaigns, you can optimize and enhance them even further. 

Which mobile campaigns should you start with?

1) Onboarding: App onboarding is a user’s first introduction to your app. First impressions matter, and this is your chance to highlight your value proposition to the user. Onboarding needs to be clear, concise, and compelling. Why should they use your app? 

Your onboarding strategy should be based off the data you’ve gathered in Step 1 around the most popular actions and paths taken within your app. It’s also smart to tie in permission based requests such as location and push and highlight the benefit the user receives by opting in:


2. Push Notifications: Push notifications are the goliaths of mobile messaging. They’re messages sent directly to a user’s home screen, making them extremely effective when done right, but also very polarizing when done wrong. 

Marketing automation ensures you’re sending the right push notifications to the right people by integrating the data you have on users, both profile and behavioral, so that you can craft the perfect push. Even better, it allows you to tailor pushes based on the end user, so that each messaging campaign you create is personalized:


3. In-app Messaging: In app messages are the media-rich messages that help guide users through your app. Marketing automation allows you to trigger in-app messages based on user behavior to help boost engagement and guide them along the path to conversion. 

Two examples of how marketing automation can help your in-app game are sending an in-app message about new content based on a user’s previous content consumption habits, or triggering a message based on actions they’ve completed:


App Inbox:

App inbox allows you to nurture users with personalized content sent to a dedicated inbox inside your app. This inbox can take many forms, from a traditional inbox similar to email to even your app’s home screen. Unlike push and in-app messages, app inbox content can be long form, and can stick around for as long as you’d like.

Bring your app inbox to life with marketing automat ion by curating personalized content to individual users based on all of their unique profile and behavioral information:








We touched on this briefly above, but every single message you send to app users has to be personalized to them. This means having the right tools in place to capture the data you need on your users, and building targeted audiences based upon them.

A true personalized message takes into consideration a user’s behavior over multiple touches and interactions, not just one. Ever look at a product to buy someone as a gift but change your mind only to have the ad follow you around for weeks? Or had a family member use your computer to shop for a new rain jacket only to have that rain jacket haunt you? This is targeted advertisement gone wrong. 

One single action does not depict a user’s interest - it’s multiple actions over a period of time that matter. For example, if you’re a retail app, some of your targeted audiences may include:

  • Users who purchase a particular category such as shoes
  • Users who have purchased a particular fashion brand
  • Users who are a of a certain gender & age group
  • What city they live in (for seasonal promotions)

The right mobile marketing platform will allow you to take this into consideration so that you can build a truly targeted mobile marketing automation strategy. 








The best part about having a mobile platform that allows you to capture and organize data on your users is that it makes your actual marketing a breeze. You now have everything you need to know about your audience in order to build powerful relationships with them via mobile messages. 

Now, all you have to do is use your marketing skills to craft up the perfect copy (and imagery if you’re using rich push like you should be!) and combine it with the targeted audiences you created in step 4 and BOOM - you are ready to execute. 

Babycenter sent me the below push notification after I created my registry with them. This is a perfect example of a targeted push tailored specifically to me, based on my activity and profile information:


Travel app trying to re-engage lapsed users? Consider a push campaign with travel deals from their hometown. 


Media app trying to increase content consumption? Try sending a push notification showcasing recently added content in the category user’s frequent:


It’s easy to see why the above messages are so effective. You’re adding value to your users by offering something they actually are interested in, rather than spammy, broadcast messages. 


If you have completed all five steps then you deserve a congratulations because you are well on your way to automating your mobile app in a way that will set you up for long term growth and prosperity. 

The last step to a truly automated mobile app marketing strategy? Integrating it with your marketing stack so that you have an omni-channel view of your users. 

Your mobile marketing should tie back to all of your other digital marketing so that your customers have a seamless, cross-channel brand experience. Any actions taken within the app, such as adding something to your cart or viewing an item, should transpose to all other channels. It shouldn’t matter where they interact with you: users should be able to pick up where they left off without a hitch.

This is becoming increasingly more important in today’s multitasking world. I can’t tell you how often I start my research in an app, then move to a laptop, and maybe even go back to the app to finish the purchase. This is not uncommon. Users aren’t tied to one channel and your marketing needs to function with this in mind.

There has been a lot of buzz around the idea that a customized experience is what makes a brand successful these days. This shouldn’t be too surprising to hear, considering that the digital frontier has allowed brands access to user data like never before.

Mobile has become the first screen preference, so having a solid strategy in place that you can not only automate but connect with your other channels is key to unlocking success as we move towards a world of customized, 1:1 brand experiences.