Think about your favorite apps and why you enjoy them.

Do they remember the last action you took within the app?

Do they serve up relevant information inside the app?

Do they send you communication that feels personalized for you?

You’ve heard us talk a lot about individualization lately; and that’s because we anticipate it becoming the focal point of app user engagement and retention as we move into 2017.

And while the basic best practices to delivering an individualized experience might be universal, the secrets to success vary greatly by industry.

To get you started, we’ve broken down some easy ways to segment users into audiences so that your app marketing remains individualized and engaging.

1.) By usage frequency:

Basing your messaging off of the in-app behavior of your users is one of the easiest and most effective ways to tailor your messaging. Since little to no assumption is necessary, it’s an effective way to highlight content that will appeal to a specific audience or target a promotion. What does frequency segmentation look like by industry?

  • Media & Entertainment:: A streaming app can serve up your ‘most frequently consumed content’ as a category for easy viewing. In addition, it can display an in-app message that recommends new shows based on the genres that you watch most frequently.
  • Travel: An airline app can send a loyalty reward inbox message offering a complimentary beverage on their next flight to all users who have flown over 10x with them in the past 12 months. Or, spin this as a re-engagement campaign by sending the promotion as a push notification to users that have flown with them more than 10x in the past 12 months, but haven’t booked any flights in the past 2 months.
  • Retail: A restaurant can send users who frequently order their Italian combo a “$2 off” push notification offer. They might even want to use a geofence and send it as a geo-push, so that the user sees it right as they’re walking by one of the restaurant’s locations.

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Netflix serves up my most frequently watched content so I can dive right back.

2.) By favorites:

Similar to the frequented items, if a user has a go-to artist they listen to or a hotel chain they prefer to book with, it’s perfect opportunity for you to engage with them in a meaningful way. Segment users based on these known favorites so that you can serve up a truly personalized in-app experience as well as tailor your messaging to them based off of this information.

  • Media & Entertainment: A music streaming app can create customized playlists for their users based on their favorite artists
  • Travel: Sending a 15% off push notification to a user who has indicated that they prefer to stay at Starwood Hotels.
  • Retail: A drugstore can send a geo-push to users walking by their store with offers on items they frequently purchase.

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Bands in Town let Massachusetts fans know that The Biebs is coming back to town with this rich push.

3. By recently viewed/recent actions:

One easy way to deliver individualize content is to create timely campaigns off of recently viewed content or in-app actions. Here’s how:

  • Media & Entertainment:: A news app can send a push notification with updates to a developing story the user viewed.
  • Travel: A travel app can send a push notification with updated pricing to all users who recently viewed flights to the Bahamas. To make this push even more effective, the app might want to call out if there’s a new lowest price.
  • Retail: An eCommerce app sends a notification offering free shipping on an item that a user has viewed multiple times, but hasn’t purchased.

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Hopper keeps an eye on flights for users, and sends them a push when the price is right.

4. By conversion:

Similar to in-app actions, another best practice for mobile marketing is to ensure there is always confirmation for any conversions taken within your app. This provides peace of mind to your users that they are all set, and as with any transaction, is just in good form to do so.

  • Media & Entertainment: A media app confirms your reservation with an in-app message.
  • Travel: A travel app sends a push notification reminding users it’s time to check-in to their hotel.
  • Retail: A coffee chain sends an in-app message confirming a user’s coffee order has been placed, and will be ready for pick-up shortly.

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OpenTable sends me a reminder about my upcoming reservation.

5. By location:

Location-based engagement is one of the most compelling ways to reach a user because of how personal it is. At a basic level, understanding where a user lives is incredibly important to know, because it provides context to almost all of your future messaging. For example, if a retail app sends a push notification about a swimsuit sale in January to users in Minnesota, it’s not going to go over well.

If you want to take your location-based messaging to a new level, you should consider using geofences to trigger notifications the instant a user enters or exits a specific location. It doesn’t get much more personalized than that!.

  • Media & Entertainment: A ticketing app lets users know when their favorite band is coming to town
  • Travel: An airline app lets users know when there are flight deals for vacations from their hometown
  • Retail: A retail store sends a geo-push to someone walking by their store to remind them about the unspent balance on their gift card


Sephora reminds users they have free money to spend when they pass by their store.

Listen Up App Marketers: Basic Segmentation Is No Longer An Option

As you can see, there are many ways you can slice and dice your user data to create compelling user experiences, and it doesn’t take a ton of effort to do so. User segmentation needs to be an underlying theme to your 2017 app marketing strategy.

Why? Because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all app experience. What’s exciting to one user may fall flat with another. Similarly? What matters to a user in Florida may not matter to one in Oregon. What is relevant to every user is the desire to having their app experience tailored to them.

The rule of thumb for all of your marketing should be to not reach out unless you have something worthwhile to say. It’s ok that not all users will fall under the above segmentation examples. It’s also ok for users to not receive a message from you for a while. No news is good news holds true for mobile marketing so that users don’t become desensitized to your messages.

How do you segment your app users? We want to hear below!