Basics of In-app Messaging
Texting is the simplest form of communication and it can be used for much more than simply chatting with friends and family. In this smartphone era texting has become our second nature, making it a very popular means of communication among people of all age groups. Messaging and chats can be much more than just communication and can help businesses grow with their instant nature. There are multiple ways to plug in chat features within an application or website, to boost its usage and business: an in-app chat is one such tool.
In-app messages are targeted notifications sent to customers/ users while they are active on the website or mobile application. They are a very effective way to engage customers as they are already within the application looking for specific information. In-app chat applications help connect better with the users and improve user retention as they are timely and targeted.
The Essence of Instant Messaging
The moment you integrate a chat app into your business, your solution becomes approachable. It creates a medium for your customers to easily contact you for a service or feedback. It also allows you to share business updates, or promote your products. Instant messaging solutions effortlessly engage the audiences with their ability to leverage both web and mobile applications.
Different Types of In-app Messages
Banner Notifications – These instantly grab the user’s attention while they are using the application. Banner notifications drop down and occupy the top portion of the website/ application to convey important messages and can also accommodate a few buttons to initiate actions for the next steps
In-app chats – Chats within the website or application help in invoking an immediate connection with the user. They open as a small popup at the bottom of the application with the ability to minimize and maximize. It can be used to welcome a user or address queries instantly
Full-page posts/ displays – In-app messages can also be in the form of full-page displays that pop up within the application. These posts can display rich texts and videos to promote a major product/ feature or convey important information: Posts are visually appealing and more on-the-face
Carousels – They fit a lot of content into a relatively small footprint. They can put across priority messages, onboard users, assist users with tips, or highlight features. They help stick and circulate multiple pieces of information on the front page without taking much space
Tours & tool tips – These are small highlights or pop-ups that help the user in navigating your application. They help first-timers to know your application better; they can also be used when a new feature needs to be given focus
In-app Messages Vs Push Notifications
In-app messages and push notifications might sound similar at certain times, but they vary largely in their structure, approach and usage.
Push notifications are one of the most common age-old mobile notification techniques. These are messages that the users see without opening the app, even if the mobile is locked.
In-app messages, as the name suggests, are notifications given to the users while they are using the application. These notifications are more targeted and contextual to the users’ needs.
Here are some differences:
Intention – Push notifications help bring a user to an application, whereas in-app messages guide a user within the application
Timeline – Push notifications can send notifications any time to the user, whereas in-app messages work only when the user is active inside the application
Focus – Push notifications largely work towards advertising and pulling new or disconnected audiences, whereas in-app messages are more focused on existing users and targets to improve user retention and boost business
Disabling notifications – Push notifications can be disabled by the user. In-app notifications can be disabled only by the product team
One can use either push notifications or in-app notifications or even both, based on the business need and objective.
Improving User Engagement with In-app Messaging
In-app messaging can help your business grow and flourish in many ways. Its targeted approach aids in improving the overall user experience. Though by model they are engaging, it is wise to carefully design them to make the most out of it. Here are certain points to bear in mind that can efficiently exploit in-app messaging.
Relevance – Understand your users better and send organic and natural notifications. Being more relatable to the user’s requirement help in gaining their attention
Analyse & adapt – In-app notifications can provide deep insights on user behaviour that can be used to test how users respond. Based on the analytics, optimize messaging techniques and improve communication and efficiency.
Forecast – Analytics can also be used to forecast user needs and send out predictive suggestions to users. This gives users a more personalized feel and influences their decision making
Design – Create impactful and interactive designs that lead to next-level actions. Make your CTA as impressive as possible
By sending out meaningful communications consistently, you keep your users intact, focused and always one step closer to you.
In-app Messaging Best Practices
Being mindful of some of the best practices in in-app messaging can engage and enhance user experience beyond limits.
On-boarding – This is probably the first interaction with your user. Be precise and do not overwhelm users with too many messages
Language – Use simple and to-the-point messages. Longer and complex notifications can lead to disinterest and distraction
Personalization – Sending personalized messages increases relevance and attention. Both the new and existing users should have different and personalized experiences to keep them invested in your product
Timing – Be cognizant of what you send and when you send. Sending a message at the wrong time is no good to anyone
Listen – Establish two-way communications. Always listen to your users and respond accordingly. Collect frequent user feedback and make them feel heard
Final Thoughts and Suggestions
In-app messages are powerful and efficient, but they can contribute to your business growth only based on how you use them. Before you get your own in-app messaging services, clearly slate down what your business and users need. There are a lot of enterprise solution providers in the market who can help you with the integration of in-app messaging into your applications. The market has a range of providers with powerful and customizable messaging APIs and SDKs to suit your needs. Take your time to choose the right one for your business.