Mobile is fast gaining first-screen status, but marketers have struggled with optimizing native mobile apps, which rely on a time-consuming process requiring hard-coded changes in Software Developer Kits (SDKs). But that’s all changed with the new Ensighten technology, recently awarded US Patent 8,997,081. Our technology drives the first-ever, real-time mobile app optimization capabilities − without requiring an SDK – that finally puts the agility of native mobile apps on par with websites.
Why is this important? Ensighten Mobile enables marketers to tag, optimize and personalize native mobile apps in real-time by pulling in online and offline data. That means that marketers can leverage a 360-degree view of the customer to change tags, as well as optimize and personalize content within native apps without the traditional dependencies on developers re-coding SDKs, the app store accepting your change and consumers downloading the latest version of your app. These dependencies on average add three months to the app release cycle, increase development and agency costs, as well as opportunity costs when an app isn’t optimized to its potential. While Ensighten developed the No-SDK capability two years ago and has been offering it to customers since then, the recently granted patent shows that Ensighten is the leader in real-time marketing analytics and optimization in native app environments.
Mobile Web vs. Native Apps
Let’s review the two primary strategies that marketers have in their mobile arsenal: mobile web-based applications and native mobile apps. Web-based applications leverage traditional Web technologies and send users back to websites for information or purchases. In contrast, native mobile apps depend on developers for initial coding, but deliver higher-impact, more integrated experiences by taking advantage of devices’ unique capabilities, such as geolocation and accelerometer data. Even more, native mobile apps are driving the Internet of Things, which includes such things as connected devices in our homes, vehicles and on our bodies. The Apple Watch, which reportedly sold 2.8 million devices in its first two months, is a great example of the rising consumer adoption of devices dependent on native apps. Native apps are increasingly central to marketers’ omni-channel digital marketing strategies.
Even if you focus just on analytics tagging, an SDK-based approach holds marketers back. Without Ensighten’s real-time app agility, marketers are forced to predict the analytics they want to collect or define optimization tests well ahead of time – then attempt to coordinate those projects with the mobile development team’s release cycles. One member of a Fortune 500 marketing analytics team told Ensighten that they have one chance with IT to adjust their analytics tags on apps every four months!
Marketers have traditionally used the following workflow to improve native mobile apps, using the SDK based-solution:
This process includes:
Even if the cycle is completed, chances are that business needs will have changed – resulting in a lockout until the next development window.
The new Ensighten technology short-circuits all of this, enabling marketers to optimize native mobile apps instantly − without using an SDK − avoiding the entire, time-consuming cycle requiring software developers, IT release cycles and re-submission to app stores.
With Ensighten’s patented approach the workflow to optimize native apps is streamlined into the following:
This simplified process includes:
The Ensighten patented No-SDK technology takes care of the rest.
Technical patents are lengthy and difficult to read, so let’s focus on the core elements of the new Ensighten patent to show at a high level how the technology works. Native mobile apps typically include a set of instructions in a native language specific to each operating system. iOS apps until recently have all been in Objective-C. As of the iOS8 launch, however, there is a shift to a new language called Swift. Android, on the other hand, uses Java, while Windows Phone 8 apps are written in C#. If a marketing team has to hard-code tagging and optimization requirements, as is the case with all SDK-based solutions, they are forced to work with developers who are masters at these various languages. Herein lies one of the problems that the Ensighten patented technology solves.
Marketing teams need the flexibility to collect and analyze user data in real time, then design and test hypotheses about how they can provide better experiences for their users. Mobile is no exception and should be as agile as websites. The Ensighten Mobile solution, now patented, extends Web-like agility to native environments. Marketers can truly operate in real-time in mobile marketing using the power of native apps, just as they can on the Web.
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