What is the app inbox?

An app inbox is exactly what it sounds like; an inbox (similar to email) that lives within your mobile app! 

Essentially, it gives you the ability to send persistent messages to app users, unlike push notifications for example which disappear once engaged with or dismissed.

It’s a relatively quick set-up and can added to both Android and iOS versions of your app.

The positioning of the inbox can be as subtle or as prominent as you like. Most brands tend to use familiar notification bell as the icon to open it up from within the app, but you are free to choose something else if you prefer.

Example of how the app inbox appears for the user

How does the app inbox fit into a multichannel marketing strategy?

The app inbox is an ideal supplementary channel.

It’s not going to replace push notifications, or email for that matter, but it can be very effective when used as part of a larger multichannel marketing campaign.

Think of it like this, it can very effectively fill in the gaps in communication that other channels invariably leave, giving your brand its maximum reach.

It affords you the ability to regularly communicate with all of your app users, sharing personalised, relevant content with them at key stages of their lifecycle.

What are the advantages of an app inbox over other channels?

Less aggressive

You understand what I mean here, I hope. A well thought out push notification strategy will undoubtedly bring results, but there will always be a portion of app users who simply don’t like, or respond well to, push marketing. 

The app inbox is perfect for engaging these users, as it allows them to discover and explore the content you send them at their own pace.

Not permission-based

Your app users are not required to opt-in to receive messages to their inboxes, unlike push notifications.

This makes it an ideal channel to complement your existing app engagement strategy, particularly when it comes to reaching customers with iOS devices. Presently, iOS app users need to actively give consent to receive push notifications. Android users give their permission automatically upon download.

With an app inbox, you can message your entire user-base with personalised, dynamic content.

Rich and full-page content

App inboxes support HTML5 content and are fully customisable. You are not bound by the same design and formatting constraints that apply to a web or app push notification, whose limitations are determined by the browser or operating service itself.

Altering your app inbox through a platform like Xtremepush is easier than getting your development team to make native changes to the app itself. This makes it possible for marketers to create engaging campaigns by themselves, without involving their technical team.

As you can see in the example below, every aspect of the inbox can be tailored to reflect your company’s branding.

The appearance of your app inbox is fully customisable

Below is a diagram with the complete list of customisable elements.

The different elements of the inbox that can be customised

And of course, when it comes to the actual message itself so you have the freedom to create highly-engaging, full-page content containing high-quality imagery and videos.

Increase and optimise your push notification subscriber list

The app inbox also presents the user with a very simple on/off toggle button for push notifications. 

This gives users who are interested in receiving them but may not have opted in initially, or perhaps they opted out for a period, to re-subscribe quickly and easily.

For those users who do not wish to receive push notifications from your app, and as a result are more than likely not engaging with them currently, it’s an opportunity to opt out.

Whilst this may initially seem like a drawback for a marketer, it’s actually a good thing! 

It’s in your interests to weed out those users who are not interacting with your marketing messages, as they will skewer your campaign results.

Permanence

If you are currently sending push notifications (either web or app) then you’ll know how effective they are for promoting flash sales or daily deals.

What happens however if the recipient isn’t in a position to act on the message immediately? More often than not, they will swipe the notification away. Unfortunately, you have now lost the chance to convert them. 

And what about deals that are set to last for a longer, perhaps even indefinite, period of time? These are the kinds of messages that we want the recipient to have access to for as long as the offer extends. Again, this is another area where push notifications come up a little short.

Messages delivered to the app inbox remain visible for a specified amount of time. Promo codes, coupons and other less limited-time offers are more effective when delivered to a user’s inbox, as they remain discoverable right up until whichever expiry date you choose.

Below is a screengrab of this scheduling system within the Xtremepush platform.

Image of the message scheduler in the Xtremepush dashboard

Badging

You’re more than likely already familiar with badging already. When a new message is received to their app inbox, a badge appears on the user’s app icon.

This provides a visual stimulus that prompts the recipient to open the app and investigate.

The badge is displayed until this happens, serving as a reminder for the user to check the message.

"Badging" your app icon lets uses know they have new messages in their inbox

Segmentation: personalisation and relevant content

The content that you send to an individual’s app inbox can be tailored to their specific preferences, behaviour and known-attributes. 

Intelligent segmentation allows you to target users who have recently viewed certain pages or categories within the app for example or those have abandoned a purchase. Use this data to trigger automated campaigns designed to drive a wide range of core business objectives.

Below are some of the different app inbox use cases we’ve rolled out for clients across a variety of industries.

App inbox use cases

Reduce churn

Target users who have become inactive on the app and who are at risk of churning.

This is an easy segment to create within the Xtremepush platform, based on recent inactivity. An enticing offer or valuable piece of relevant content sent to the inbox may just encourage them back into the app and reinvigorate their relationship with your brand.

Campaigns such as the one featured below are invaluable when it comes to retaining customers, particularly in industries like Sports Betting and Gaming, where there is traditionally a high rate of churn.

An example of how the app inbox can be used to re-engage dormant users

Welcome series

In conjunction with app push notifications, the inbox can be used to successfully onboard and welcome new users.

In fact, any content that serves an educational purpose is ideal for the app inbox. Provide users with information about the app’s most useful features and help them see its value.

All of the mobile engagement studies that have been done indicate early interaction with new users as being the key to long-term retention.

Example of how a publisher can use the app inbox to share content

Up-sell to existing customers

For brands within the travel and transport industry, particularly hotels, airlines and tour operators, the app inbox is a chance to upsell additional experiences or cross-promote partners in advance of the customer’s journey.

Leverage valuable customer data (such as the dates and length of their stay, as well as the destination) to tailor offers that add value to their experience. 

This could be a discount for your hotel’s award-winning restaurant or it might be information about deals on car hire at the airport.

Our eCommerce clients use this channel to let customers know about the latest products available in their preferred categories.

Promote similar content or products

Leverage your customer data to promote products in the app user’s favourite categories. This can be easily done by creating segments based on “recently bought” or “recently viewed” attributes.

Promote similar content and offers to your users from within the app inbox

Increase the Lifetime Value of app users

We work with a number of leading gaming brands who use the app inbox to increase the Lifetime Value of their customers. 

They serve personalised messages based on the players in-game progression. This acknowledges and rewards the player’s efforts so far and encourages them to keep playing.

It also gives them an opportunity to promote similar games that the player is likely to be interested in.

Keep users engaged throughout their journey and at every stage of the sales funnel

Abandoned carts

More and more purchases are being made through mobile apps, particularly for eCommerce brands, thanks to their streamlined and user-friendly experiences.

The usual cart abandonment issues still persist however. 

Amongst customers who prefer to shop via the app, our clients are winning back a healthy amount of these lost sales. 

Enhancing your mobile app engagement

So you there go, an overview of the app inbox and how it’s being used to drive results on mobile. If you’re interested in exploring its potential then get in touch with us today and we can help you roll out a series of use cases that will add value to your brand.

About Xtremepush

Xtremepush is the complete digital engagement platform, purpose-built for multichannel marketing. It empowers brands to deliver personalised, relevant and real-time messages across email, web browser, mobile app, sms and social messengers.

The platform is completely modular and combines enterprise-grade analytics with a full suite of campaign and automation tools. This provides brands with accessible and actionable data, enabling them to unify the silos, create dynamic customer experiences and execute core business goals at speed and scale.