Appboy, the maker of a suite of customer relationship management (CRM) tools for mobile app developers, is now offering a new customer segmentation product that lets developers slice their audience into groups based on who they are and how they behave. After doing so, developers can then use other Appboy tools to target those users in different ways using push notifications, emails, and in-app messages.
The segmentation can take into account several factors, including demographics, social profile data, app sessions, in-app behaviors, and in-app purchases.
Audience segmentation is not a new idea, but it has only more recently been offered by mobile app analytics providers as a targeting tool. For example, app measurement, ad and analytics company Flurry released its audience segmentation tool called “Personas” this past August. This allows developers to see what types of people use their app, and how the app can then be better customized to their needs, or what ads would be most effective. Other analytics providers like Mixpanel and Localytics are also moving into this area.
But, as Appboy co-founder and CEO Mark Ghermezian explains, these competitors are starting from the analytics side, and are now trying to filter down that data. “We started from the user, and building from the user, and layering products on top of that. The user profiles [at Appboy] aren’t something any of these other analytics companies have,” he says. (See screenshot below for an example).
In the new audience segmentation product, now accessible as a tab on Appboy’s dashboard, developers can create their own groups of users based on pre-configured filters like “gender,” “most recent app version,” “number of Facebook friends,” “money spent in app,” “session count,” “Klout score,” “clicked news item,” and many more. These filters can then be further customized – like setting the “most recent app version” to the latest release, or the gender to female, for example. Developers can also track custom events of their own choosing using a short line of code added to their app. Ghermezian notes that one of Appboy’s clients has over 100 of these events, which can be things like button clicks, taps, swipes or any other in-app action a developer wants to track.
After creating the audience segments, Appboy’s developers can then hop right over to the section where they can create their customized targeting campaigns to reach each group. They can set start dates, schedule the campaigns, make them recurring, and more, as well as choose to send the messages out via push, email or in-app notification, as noted above.
Based on early customer feedback – the segmentation tools quietly launched last month – Appboy is now working to offer A/B testing which will automatically switch over to whichever method the tests prove to be most effective. The company is also going to offer CSV downloads of user data and wants to eventually be able to automate the customer segmentation and messaging based on the app category type.
“That’s going to come with time. Once we start seeing a lot of the data – what are the segments people are creating, what are the messages they tend to use – when we aggregate that data, it will be easier to automate these groups,” Ghermezian says.
For developers, Appboy serves to address what’s increasingly become a real pain point for the app publishing industry – keeping a user’s attention after the initial download. Apple now has 775,000 applications available in its App Store, and Google’s Android marketplace, Google Play, isn’t far behind with over 750,000 apps. With greater choice, there also comes a greater chance that users will abandon apps for new ones shortly after downloading.
“The future of mobile is not about downloads,” says Ghermezian. “Downloads always spike, then engagement just falls. Retention just falls. There’s a huge opportunity to grab those users. But to grab those users, you have to know who they are, and you have to make sure you’re marketing to them appropriately because not each user is the same.”
The customer engagement tool is offered at no extra cost to Appboy users. The company prices its service on a freemium model where it’s free up to 10,000 monthly users, then tiered afterwards. Appboy doesn’t disclose exact user numbers, but says that it has hundreds of developers using the new product, representing millions of mobile users. Several big-name clients will be revealed in a few weeks, Ghermezian notes.
Appboy has raised $2.5 million in venture funding from Blumberg Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, Accelerator Ventures, Bullpen Capital and T5 Capital, all of whom invested $1 million in late 2011 and again in March 2012.