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The Ultimate Mobile App Messaging Cheat Sheet

The growth in mobile is staggering. We’ve all heard and read about it, but what are marketers doing to help prepare themselves to integrate their current digital marketing efforts for mobile app messaging?

The average hours per month someone in the US spends on their smartphone is 87 hours according to comScore Mobile Metrix. This is expected to grow and if you don’t believe this number you don’t have a teenager.

There are two main types of mobile app messaging, the first is in-app messaging and the other is push messaging.

In-App Messaging

Although many marketers are not using mobile app messaging yet, here are a few reasons why they should consider using in-app messaging:

  1. You can help users learn about new product features or encourage usage of special features
  2. Obtain permission for special messaging such as opting into push notifications, agreeing to terms and conditions or updating personal information (i.e. email address).
  3. Provide “deep linking” from the home screen to another part of the app
  4. Special announcements such as system maintenance or other alerts
  5. Personalized notices such as Congratulations on achieving a certain level, Happy Anniversary, etc.
  6. Reminder messages, such as loyalty points or other badge/gamification levels

Amazon and Starbucks in app mobile messaging page takeover message

It’s important to remember that in-app messages have a very brief life, unlike text messages or emails which, if ignored, still remain accessible for viewing later. If the app user ignores the in-app message that’s it unless the marketing wants to fire off another campaign with possible risk to bothering the user.

One final argument for using in-app messages is pointed out by AppBoy’s RELATE magazine: “Push notifications can be turned off and email lists can be unsubscribed from, but in-app messages will be seen, and likely engaged with, as long as you have active users routinely opening up your app or visiting your website.”

Push Messaging

Push notifications don’t require the user to be logged into the app. Instead, messages appear on their smartphone home page screen – most of the time while it’s locked. Push messaging can be less personalized and behave more like general notifications.

According to Hubspot, there are 7 types of push notifications your users actually want:

  1. The ones that are encouraging — not shaming such as those given for encouraging health and fitness.
  2. The ones that make life a little easier – such as travel alerts like those done by airlines to check-in notice.
  3. The ones that know where its users are — in a non-creepy way – such as those apps that use geo-fencing to know where you are and make you aware of what’s around you to engage with.
  4. The ones that get people excited about something – such as a good deal on something you’d love to buy or special event in your area.
  5. The ones that alert people to what matters to them – such as breaking news on sports team performance, weather, etc..
  6. The ones that help people pick up where they left off – such as when Amazon reminds you that you have items in your cart still.
  7. The ones that keep people posted – such as when GrubHub keeps you updated on the status of your order.


As I end this post I want to share one final piece of content that helps those of us who have to wear our compliance hats now and again. This great image below from Marketo helps marketers remember which elements of mobile app messaging require user opt in.

The Difference Between SMS/MMS, Push and In-App Messaging

Source of Featured Image –

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The Ultimate Mobile App Messaging Cheat Sheet

The growth in mobile is staggering. We’ve all heard and read ...