Blog skyhook logo Using Context to Drive Engagement and Revenue

Feb 13, 2015 10:50:25 AM

Using Context to Drive Engagement and Revenue

Posted by Skyhook

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Over 50 million mobile apps are downloaded daily, however, one in four is abandoned within 24 hours. In other words, launching a successful app that users integrate into their daily life is incredibly difficult. Creating a location-specific experience is a key differentiator that can help and app find success and ensure it becomes essential to the lifestyles of its users.

Mike Schneider (Schneidermike), VP of Marketing at Skyhook, joined fellow app entrepreneurs Drync and Co Everywhere for a General Assembly panel event last night to talk about successfully using place-based technology and design to make apps a vital part of their users’ everyday lives.


The panel began with the question of how each company is using location in their app. Anthony Longo, the CEO of Co Everywhere, launched Co as a mobile app with the ability to draw with your finger on a map anywhere in the world to see all of the social activity happening in that location. He explains that the entire app is a search by location function.

Brad Rosen, the Founder and CEO of Drync answered by first mentioning that his previous experience at Where involved dealing with products that were the first to use location to provide context, ergo he has been thinking about location for a while.

Drync app screen

Drync’s primary objective is to discover wine more easily. The app allows users to tag location when scanning wine and has started to think about what users do and want when they are dining at a restaurant. Imagine a use case where you walk into a restaurant and have the ability to see what your friends drank there. The app knows what a user likes based on past app experience and is able to recommend them a drink that they will like when they walk into a restaurant. Rosen explains that location allows you to surface user context and provide users with information that they didn’t know before.

Drync is also using location technology to geofence events like Wine Festivals to identify the users who are at that event in order to send them relevant content and deals. Using Bluetooth, they are able to populate the user’s app with contextually relevant, curated selections of wine related to the events that the user is attending. The results were a 2x lift in in-app sales.

The next question was one that any app developer has had to deal with before and that often presents itself as a challenge when trying to get to know your users with location context: How do you get users to turn on their location and keep it on?

Schneidermike advises the room that you should think of this in terms of a campaign. Apps need to be upfront and honest with their users about why they want their location and how keeping location on will benefit the user. It is important to have this information present as part of the First Time User Experience (FTUX). The next place to put information on the benefits of turning on your location is in any emails or other conversations you are having with your users.

Longo adds that right now, all of the notifications to ask if a user wants to turn on location look the same and they look like spam. In order to entice users to keep their location on the app needs a good onboarding experience. He gives an example of using a motorcycle app where the app asks if the user would be interested in connecting with other riders nearby, prompting the user to say yes before asking for location permission. This way, the user understands why they would want to turn location on before being asked about it.

location location location for apps

Rosen adds that timeliness is incredibly important when it comes to asking users for location permission. His philosophy is not to ask for location until the person is about to need it. Do it in a progressive fashion such that the person wants it at that moment to get immediate value. This is also important when taking battery life into consideration. Only turning location on when the user needs it helps save battery power.

The next topic the panelists dig into is how to determine the fine line between being helpful to users with appticipation versus harassing your users.  

Schneidermike explains that you need to give a user only as much as they can take. Start with some features and then analyze the user’s experiences and find out how they respond. It is important to keep it simple and not to overdo it.

Rosen believes it is about giving users what they don’t know they want. For example, a user walks into a restaurant and sees what their friends drink there. This is fun and helpful information that a user might not have known they wanted. He also explains that it is a good idea to provide granular controls. There needs to be a few ways to turn functions of the app on and off so that people feel like they are in control. If users are feeling spammed they can turn certain things off without completely turning off all of the functionalities.

The panel wrapped up with some thoughts on where the buzz is with mobile and what the next generation of apps will look like. The panelists talked about their excitement around sensors and the potential of wearable technology. The most interesting thing to the panelists was the idea of multiple connected devices working simultaneously to inform users about everything around them as they walk through their lives. This idea of complete connectivity is huge and will inform how apps evolve and transform - and we believe location data is at the center of this connectivity.

To learn more about how location-based context can make your app vital, contact us or download our Case Study on how CardStar grew user engagement by 2xvariety_shot-5