Native App Optimization Platform Leaves A View From My Seat Sitting Pretty
With consumers increasingly using their mobile phones for most any task (e.g., shopping, banking, checking emails, etc.), they've come to expect the same seamless experience on their smartphones as they get on a desktop PC. As a result, marketers must optimize their brand's mobile presence — website and/or app(s) — to satisfy today's always-connected consumers.
One such marketer is Frank Panko, founder of A View From My Seat, an online photo-sharing service that provides sports fans seat views from sports venues across the globe. Panko wanted to improve the user experience on his brand's native mobile app, but was limited by the fact that he couldn't find a testing/optimization platform specific to native apps. That was before he came across Artisan, a mobile experience management platform provider.
Since going live with Artisan's platform in October of last year, A View From My Seat's native app has transformed from a static download to a dynamic marketing channel. The ability to run A/B tests and instantly make changes to its app based on the results of those tests — you don't have to rebuild the app or make changes to code — has led to a higher conversion rate (i.e., more sign-ups) for A View From My Seat. This is quite different than the brand's previous experience on Apple's iOS.
"With the way iOS works, you have to go through Apple's approval process [for any change], which generally takes about 10 days from the time you submit it," says Panko. "When you factor in the time it takes to run each test and then the time it takes Apple to accept each variation of the app, you're really looking at upwards of two months to three months to run a set of tests and make a decision. With Artisan I can go in and set up a test, wait two weeks to see how the results go, then make a decision right there without ever having to go through Apple."
Here are examples of tests A View From My Seat has run since going live with Artisan's platform, along with the results:
- Which tab should users land on when they first come to the app? Like many iPhone apps, A View From My Seat's app has multiple tabs — search for venues, browse through sports, share photos, personal information, GPS ("what's around you" tab). After testing, the company learned that starting users on the share tab resulted in the most users uploading photos (share tab: 17.6 percent conversion rate; original browse tab: 14.8 percent conversion rate; around you tab: 13.7 percent).
- Will adding a tip to the search box cause more users to search on the app? A View From My Seat ran a simple A/B test: adding a line of text under its search box informing users that they could search by city, state, venue or team name vs. displaying the search box without the tip. The version that included the tip saw a 25 percent increase in usage of the search box.
- Would placing a small testimonial on its registration page encourage more users to sign up? A View From My Seat put the graphic ad "as seen on ESPN" on its sign-up page to see if the graphical reinforcement would drive more sign-ups compared to a "simple" text-only version. The results surprised Panko. The version with the ESPN call-out drove less sign-ups than the text-only version. We learned that graphics weren't reinforcement but rather a distraction, Panko notes.
These are examples of just some of the tests Panko has run in an effort to optimize the user experience on A View From My Seat's native app, which is particularly critical in this marketing channel, according to Artisan's CEO Bob Moul.
"What we're finding is the forgiveness margin in a mobile app is way smaller than what it is with a website," Moul says. "You can have a crappy website and people will come back and revisit it to do what they need to do. If you have a crappy mobile experience, you're not going to reuse that app; you're going to move on to other apps."
Now that A View From My Seat has a platform that's enabled it to optimize the user experience on its mobile app in a timely manner, it's seeing that increased engagement that Moul was speaking to. The number of visitors signing up for the service has increased and the company is tracking a 22 percent increase in usage of the app.