Top 3 mobile app tips to increase engagement for the travel industry

Smartphone penetration in Asia Pacific has seen exponential growth in recent years, with many of the countries in the region surpassing penetration levels in the US and many other European nations.

According to Nielsen, smartphone penetration is the highest in Hong Kong and Singapore at 87%, followed by Malaysia (80%), Australia (75%) and China (71%). While developing markets such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand are behind on this trend, smartphone adoption is fast gaining traction.

Top 3 mobile app tips to increase engagement for the travel industry

Such high levels of penetration have given consumers in the region almost immediate access to Internet, anytime and anywhere, which has transformed nearly all aspects of life, including the way people consume travel. Today, smartphones and apps can help give real-time transportation advice, act as your boarding pass, find you a café to enjoy brunch at and help you locate suitable places of accommodation.

The travel industry has been quick to realize the opportunities presented by today’s mobile lifestyle. At Criteo, we work with travel partners such as Hotels.com to help them better engage with their customers using personalized and targeted online display advertising.

Through this experience, we have learnt that while smartphone users own an average of 28 apps[2] on their mobile device, only 25.8% of users are actively using their downloaded apps, implying that most downloaded apps are just sitting in smartphones and failing to engage with users.

Clearly, companies and ecommerce brands need to do more beyond driving downloads; what they need are more active users. Here are three tips to help companies in the travel industry get more engagement out of their app users and convert them to customers.

Tip #1 – Acquire new users at the right time of the year

Seasonality is a key consideration for many verticals, especially in the travel industry. Promote your download in sync with your customers’ planning and purchasing cycle to get the best return on new acquisitions. Travel apps are downloaded more in the summer and holiday seasons, but only one in four of those downloads will be used. From March to May 2013, 16% more downloads were used as consumers were using their apps to plan vacations during this time period.[3] There is a window of opportunity, before peak season, to reach a higher percentage of active users.

Tip #2 – Do not just promote downloads: change the message based on user activity

Mobile advertising used to be based on a Cost Per Install model, which means companies were paying to promote downloads to consumers who have already downloaded the app.

With the latest mobile in-app technology, companies can now track their app’s entire life cycle. This allows them to offer alternative messages to reach different types of users. Companies can promote the app to people who have not downloaded the app, promote sales to active users, and re-engage lapsed users, all while maximizing the seasonal window of opportunity.

Tip #3 – Reactivate your most valuable users while they are most receptive

With the ability to track consumer behavior, value and purchase intention, companies can actively re-engage their users by using dynamic ads that are relevant to them.

By tracking in-app events such as registrations, sales and sales value, companies can calculate average revenue per daily active user, their lifetime value, and return on investment (ROI). With this information, companies can buy and deliver ads far more effectively, and get more value from their customers.

With these three tips, brands in the travel industry can acquire the right users at the right time of the year, deliver the perfect type of ad to the correct kind of users and provide them with accurate, personalized ads that are relevant to their needs, all while they are on their app. This will help turn their passive consumers into active users to drive activity in-app and therefore, maximize the ROI of their app.

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