Shopping App Marketers: Black Friday Success Starts Now

If last year’s data on shopping app spending was any indication of what’s coming this Fall, Thanksgiving and Black Friday (Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25, respectively) are poised to be the biggest mobile shopping days of the year in the US.

Mcommerce is growing rapidly, thanks to our obsession with smartphones. According to a comScore study conducted in April 2016, nearly a quarter of respondents reported having between six and 10 retail apps on their smartphone. Further, eMarketer reported that shopping apps accounted for just under one-third of retail ecommerce sales in 2016, driving nearly $20 billion in additional sales.

While there’s a lot of opportunity in the holiday months ahead, Marketers of mobile shopping apps are wise to get a head start to ensure their user acquisition strategies are in place. Here’s why an early start pays off:

Capture Audience Attention While Saving Money

User acquisition can be costly. Acquiring new mobile users can be more affordable during the early fall months (September, October), versus running campaigns during the more competitive and highly saturated days leading up to U.S. Thanksgiving in November and the December holidays.

With back-to-school advertising clutter now gone, these early fall months offers a perfect mobile moment to capture audience attention. Being able to take advantage of media cost savings and the season’s calm-before-the-storm timing gives marketers a head start on ROI.

App Habits Take Time to Develop

The early campaign start also allows plenty of time for new users to install the app, familiarize themselves with the shopping experience, browse special deals, experience the app’s tools (such as creating a wish list) and make a first-time purchase. Developing regular in-app purchasing habits takes time… and in most cases, it takes multiple purchases before a marketer recovers the cost of acquisition. This lead time is helpful in proving the value of your app early and allowing the opportunity for shopping habits to develop. Don’t forget the importance of retargeting existing shoppers after their first purchase to stay top-of-mind and encourage retention.

Optimize for High LTV Users

Recently mobile app development firm Aligatortek created an infographic revealing the “Apps People Keep, Delete, and Forget About.” Interestingly, shopping apps rank high on both lists (in the #4 positions respectively,) as the most downloaded but also the most deleted. Thus, going beyond initial installs and focusing on user success is essential for survival.

“Many of our shopping and retail app marketer clients don’t look at installs at all,” said Marc Carr, co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Leadbolt. “Their key performance indicators revolve around what happens after an app is installed. They care about shoppers’ satisfaction and they look at a number of post-install signals that indicate if a shopper received value or will visit the app again. For example, did the app tools such as in-app search help shoppers find what they were looking for? Did shoppers take advantage of app perks such as free shipping or sign up for a Rewards Program? Did the app experience reduce friction in the path to purchase by way of easy sign-in and checkout?”

“Having a head start allows the opportunity to track and measure multiple in-app events over a longer period,” Carr continued. “We take this data to further optimize performance and achieve the specific campaign goals beyond installs, such as retention goals, purchase values, cost per purchase, and other in-app metrics that define success for your shopping app. User acquisition campaigns get smarter and deliver better quality users over time.”

Things Your Mobile Ad Platform Partner Should Ask You

App installs are expensive and the market is competitive, which is why it’s critical to plan ahead. When speaking with your mobile ad platform partner, be sure to focus on ROI metrics and achieving your shopping app’s specific KPIs such as:

  • Lifetime Value (LTV), especially relevant for shoppers of consumable goods
  • Reaching core demos (e.g., suburban moms)
  • Driving in-store traffic and reaching local customers (location targeting is relevant)
  • Strong retention rates. It’s cheaper to retain a valuable customer than acquire one, so optimizing on retention is key.

Dale Carr is Founder and CEO of LeadBolt

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