Driving strong mobile banking engagement

From acquiring to converting to retaining, the key is a targeted strategy

By Shaw Taylor

Mobile banking is now the primary method customers use to access their accounts, surpassing online banking and visits to the branch, according to FDIC data. Although consumers spend more time than ever using smartphone apps, half of all U.S. smartphone users do not download any new apps each month, according to Comscore’s U.S. Mobile App Report. And the those who do are reading app reviews before downloading. A study by AppFollow found that 77 percent of people read at least one review before downloading an app, and all users who find applications while browsing an app store see app ratings.

Clearly, competition is steep within the app stores, so banks must ensure their mobile app stands out. However, marketing a mobile banking app, getting customers to engage with it and ideally leave a positive review about their experience requires a targeted strategy, depending on where your bank is starting.

Is your bank converting to a new digital banking platform and needs to entice customers to re-enroll? Or is your bank looking to boost mobile banking engagement with existing customers? Depending on the scenario, there are several considerations that bank marketers should keep in mind when planning their mobile banking and app marketing strategies.

Converting to a new mobile app

Today’s consumers, 78 percent, overwhelmingly prefer to bank via mobile and online channels. While transitioning to a new digital platform can make it easier for banks to deliver the ease, control and convenience their customers want when managing their money, it is not without its risks. Change can be unsettling at first and convincing customers to adopt new mobile banking technology poses its own challenges.

Well-planned communications before, during and after a digital transformation initiative helps customers understand what to expect, what to do and how to get the most value out of any new digital tools. Communicating the right message, at the right time is the most effective way to build enthusiasm and adoption for new digital and mobile banking capabilities.

For instance, before converting to a new digital banking platform, banks may consider sending an email blast to customers and posting a short teaser video on social media and on their website to generate buzz with customers. Paid ads on social media, in-branch signage and adding banners to the existing online and mobile banking app will also help customers prepare for the change. Banks can even provide short how-to videos that instruct customers on specific tasks, such as logging into mobile banking with a specific device (an iPad, iPhone or an Android phone). This will ensure customers are informed and ready to engage with the new mobile app.

Another component of the planning process involves identifying key performance indicators to measure the success when upgrading your institution’s digital banking tech. Banks that are planning to convert to a new digital or mobile banking platform should have a target goal of how many customers they can expect to re-enroll in mobile banking and download the new app after going live. This requires assessing how many customers were actively using digital and mobile banking prior to switching to the new platform. By taking this approach, banks can set a realistic and attainable goal for how many customers they can expect to engage with the new technology.

Boosting mobile engagement with existing customers

Banks that want to boost engagement on their existing mobile app require a different strategy. Rather than simply communicating the benefits of the current mobile banking app, bank leaders should focus on delivering a personalized mobile experience for their customers.

From personalized product recommendations to customized alerts, customers want to tailor their mobile banking experience based on their unique financial goals and needs, and the research proves it. A recent Accenture survey revealed that 58 percent of consumers want their financial institution to proactively recommend products or services to them that they might find useful. Mobile banking data is key here and the banks that leverage this data will gain unmatched opportunities to engage customers with hyper-relevant offers and deepen those relationships.

To illustrate what this could look like, consider this example: If a customer sets a savings goal of $8,000 for a home renovation, their bank can send information about different loan products, such as a home equity loan, and details on rates.

Through personalized recommendations, banks can help customers do things such as pay down debt, increase their credit scores, build a sustainable budget and save for major purchases—all through their mobile banking app. Not only does this help customers achieve their financial goals, this also helps banks improve their marketing and cross-selling efforts.

In addition to personalized financial resources and product offers, mobile banking apps should support customized communication. Push notifications are a great example of this. Push notifications keep customers engaged with relevant product offers, discounts and alerts, which are sent according to the customers’ needs, communication preferences and more.

For instance, if a customer wants to be alerted when their balance drops below a certain amount, a push notification can alert customers and with one click, they can log into mobile banking and make a balance transfer. To improve the customer experience even further, banks can use this information and see that customers consistently take action when they receive low balance alerts, indicating they may be trying to avoid overdraft fees. With a simple push notification, the bank can prompt the customer to enroll in overdraft protection.

High mobile banking engagement indicates satisfied customers

As mobile banking increasingly becomes the primary form of banking for many customers, it’s crucial that banks understand how to market their mobile app and ultimately, get customers to engage with it.

After all, mobile banking apps have a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Research from Deloitte reveals that frequent mobile banking users, defined as individuals who accessed mobile banking at least once every two weeks in the last year, are more satisfied with their primary bank than non-users.

Consumer expectations continue to rise when it comes to mobile banking apps. Whether your institution is converting to a new mobile banking provider or simply looking to boost engagement with its existing mobile banking app the key is to ensure banks provide a five-star mobile experience that keeps customers satisfied and loyal.

Shaw Taylor is VP, marketing at Bankjoy.