Email -- so useful in all kinds of situations -- is also good at driving people to re-engage with apps, according to Not Your Grandma’s Email, a study by Leanplum. And that’s a good thing, given that 21% of app users never return after the first open, it notes.
Sending one email per week can get “half of your users to open your app once more,” the study says. In addition, people who open emails engage in 40% more weekly app sessions than those who don’t.
But email can’t work alone. App engagement increases by three times when push notifications are added to the mix, and overall retention rises by 21%, the study continues.
Hello Talk, an educational app provider, used both channels in a recent lifecycle campaign. Twenty-four hours after it sent the first email, it launched push notifications urging users to talk to native speakers. After three days, it sent an email about hidden messaging features.
After seven days, Hello Talk distributed a final email, asking them if the app could do anything to help them begin chatting. The result? Of those consumers, 21% returned to the app, and the number of first messages rose by seven times.
For this study, Leanplum analyzed aggregate data from apps that sent at least 1,000 emails a day over a 60-day period. It found that the app retention rate plummets as the days go by until it hits 1.89% on day 90.
Email is useful in prompting dormant users to re-engage or re-install — and 35% of app users who receive emails fall into that category.
Success depends to a large extant on frequency. The average open rate for apps that send one email a week is 13.4%, but that rate falls to 1.67% when two emails are sent. But go figure: it jumps to 29.22% with four emails and 61.03% when close to ten are sent.
Leanplum explains this by noting that “these higher open rates show that apps sending three or more emails per week probably aren’t blasting everyone. They’re likely connecting with a loyal following and sending emails triggered by user behavior, like items browsed.”
It's a good point: Sending three emails will keep your unsubscribe rate within normal bounds, the study says. But it will “sharply peak” after four or more, only to fall again after nine.
The takeaway from this report?
"Forward-looking brands have recognized that in a mobile-first world email cannot be siloed from the data that apps provide," states Joyce Solano, SVP of global marketing at Leanplum.
She adds that the study “validates the importance of understanding user behavior in your email campaigns so you can successfully orchestrate with other mobile channels such as push notifications and fuel marketing engagement."