When talking to customers about mobile analysis, many customers have the same questions about best practices for customer engagement. A question that is often asked is: "What is the best time to connect with users of my app?" The simple answer is that there is no easy answer. The "best time" depends on your customer base, your usage case and the type of messages that you send. In this blog post, I talk about how you can analyze engagement data for your mobile apps to determine what time it is to contact your customers.
Understand the behavior of your users
When trying to determine the best time to get in touch with users of your app, it's important to know when customers are likely to use your app. For example, a music streaming app may have more users during the day than a movie app. Likewise, customers probably use an app that delivers food at different times than an app that offers Deals of the Day.
Fortunately, Amazon Pinpoint includes a handy session heat map that lets you determine your chances.
To access the heat map of the session, follow these steps:
- Log in to the Amazon Pinpoint console and select your project.
- In the navigation window, choose Analytics .
- Select Use and scroll to the bottom of the page.
The session heat map shows the number of users who opened your app at any hour of the day of the week. One of my favorite features of the session heat map is that it is based on the local time of each user. In other words, if a user in London opens the app at 8 pm, local time on Sunday, and another user in Seattle opens the app at 8 pm. local time on Sunday, both user interactions are shown as being on Sunday at 20.00, despite the difference in time zone between the two locations.
To illustrate the insights you can obtain by using this chart, let's look at a sample app for a restaurant in Seattle called Ristorante Alexandria. Users of the app can use it to make reservations, check waiting times, learn about daily specials and look at the menu of the restaurant. After collecting data for several months, our session hot folder may look like the following example.
In this heat map, the dark rectangles indicate days and times when the largest number of users opened the app. We can obtain several important insights from this one chart, including the following:
- Users open the app more often around dinner (from 19:00 to 22:00) and most likely do not open it in the early morning hours (2:00 – 7:00).
- Users open the app more often on Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays and are unlikely to open it on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
- On most days there is a small but noticeable increase in use around 3 o'clock in the morning, when some users are likely to think about what they eat for dinner.
Change insights into action
The heat map of the session serves as an overview of your users. This allows you to understand the days and times when customers are likely to use your app. You can use this information to plan your interactions with your customers.
In the case of our example app by Alexandria, we can consider a number of different engagement tactics based on the data from the session heat map. Because we know, for example, that there is a small peak around Apple's address in the use of the app, we can send our most frequent users a push notification with the daily offers from the restaurant around that time. This would help future guests to come to the restaurant that evening.
Another tactic to consider is to provide an incentive for customers to enter the restaurant on the days when it does less business – in this case Wednesday through Friday. For example, we can send a text message or e-mail to a certain group of customers who offer them a 10% discount on their bill when they dine in the restaurant on one of these days.
For both tactics, you need to segment your audience and create and post campaign messages. You can use the Amazon Pinpoint console to meet both needs.
The segmentation tool in Amazon Pinpoint allows you to create dynamic segments based on the behavior and characteristics of your users. Once you've created your segments, you can use the campaign editing features in Amazon Pinpoint to create and schedule multi-channel messages, including email, SMS, and mobile push.
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Zach Barbitta and Brent Meyer contributed this article. Zach is Senior Product Manager for Amazon Pinpoint and Brent is Senior Technical Writer for Amazon Pinpoint.