Personalization for Mobile Applications - Its Role and Tips on Implementation

In our digital era, where software helps process vast amounts of data and businesses communicate with customers via automated notifications, personalization plays a central role, if not to call it the cornerstone for efficient sales. That is, even if a user receives messages and propositions from a mobile app, those messages should demonstrate a personalized approach and directly hit the client’s requirements. Otherwise, it makes no sense to send any messages - today’s users are not responsive to standard notifications flooding their smartphones and it rather causes a reverse effect and irritation, than a desire to use an app.
The Essence of App Personalization
Personalization of your mobile applications should be started with a thorough analysis of your audience. Here segmentation takes the central role. Having gathered information about your clients including their requirements, interests, location, etc., you can divide them into segments by the following parameters:

• Psychographic (social media platforms they use, their leisure time, hobbies, interests, etc.)
Demographic (age, profession)
• Geographic (users’ location).

Having split the audience into groups, you get fully structured material to work with. So you can interact with your clients in a personalized manner by composing proper content with the correct propositions. In such a way, you will implement your ideal customer’s requirements. This makes the best impression on clients, improving UX, and growing retention.
Why is it Crucial to Deliver a personalized app experience?
Today, a significant part of processes in people's lives is digitized and solved in smartphones. Whether you chat with friends, call relatives abroad, order food or a taxi, book an apartment, make a reservation in a restaurant, make a doctor's appointment, trade, transfer money, pay in the shop, or buy online - whatever you do, you may get it solved with a smartphone just at your fingertips.

Expanding demand for convenient apps spurs this market growth, making the device app market overloaded with propositions. The competition in this sector is severe - over 6 million apps in mobile stores (for different operational systems). To survive in such a rough competition, you will need to implement a personal approach.

So you have to do something to push your app to the front, leaving the competitors behind. For that purpose, it’s advisable to improve UX and demonstrate the app meets clients' requirements the best. With a personalized approach in your advertisements, you maintain user engagement and grow the number of loyal customers.
Personalization, Segmentation, and Customization
These terms have crucial differences and should not be confused, especially if you aim to build a quality app and make it to the top downloaded and used apps on different devices.
Personalization and Customization
Talking about personalization, we mean businesses gathering and investigating data about their users and tailoring their applications in such a way that they fully satisfy customers bringing UX to the top level.

When we say “customization”, we mean allowing customers to express their requirements and make choices based on them.

So it turns out, that the personalization process is hidden from customer eyes, where businesses adjust apps relying on clients’ implied requirements. Conversely, customization is quite an apparent process, where customers make choices, clearly demonstrating what they want.
Segmentation is needed for grouping users by different parameters (age, behavior, occupation, interests, hobbies, region, etc.). Having analyzed customers in different groups, mobile app managers can compose content matching those segments. So segmentation is an important stage in building a personalized campaign.

Personalization is focused on a person within a specific segment. That is about comprehending each user and providing them with the most suitable and unique UX that perfectly matches their preferences, hobbies, age, etc., depending on the targeted segment. So, personalization emphasizes a person as an important and unique element of a segment.
Advantages of Personalized Apps
We dare say, personalization is one of the fundamental approaches for improving app UX and generating income. Personalized style in interaction with the audience boosts user awareness and engagement.
Improved Customer Experiences
Have you ever wondered about how online shops literally guess what you need and exactly at the right time? We bet it did cause impulsive purchases, for we all did it!

Personalized in-app ads crafted on shopping history, work like magic, reaching the right clients at the right moment, and inspiring them to purchase here and now. Important to notice, that’s not the case of pushy or annoying notifications with general content “for everyone” - that’s all about highly personalized, targeted ads, hitting exactly the customer’s pain points. Without a doubt, this approach works the best. When choosing between personalized and general standard messages, a customer will definitely choose the first one, simply because it matches one's preferences and makes a user feel valued.

In the process of building the best personalized phone app, you should place yourself in your client’s place and learn to think like your client thinks, finding the shortcomings in your application and fixing them. Marketers analyze customers' past behavior and requirements to provide a delightful experience of engagement with the app, and after all, it enhances user satisfaction.
Increased Customer Awareness
To build a proper personalized approach for your app users, you need to accumulate and process a vast amount of information about them. It helps you understand who is your ideal user and reveal their pains and requirements, so that you may grasp what users value the most in your app and what needs to be modified. Based on this data, you can craft personalized offers and adjust them depending on who you address.
Improve Retention
The best working personalized approach in mobile app marketing is when your users feel they are highly valued. To express it, you may propose to clients relevant offers or share some helpful recommendations or even discounts as a part of your personalized strategy. All these tips should be implemented based on an in-depth analysis of the audience. It will stimulate your clients to use your app and choose it over thousands of competitors.

“Here they offer superior products/discounts/recommendations for me personally, so I’d rather stay here” - that’s what your customer thinks when feeling a personalized attitude. It definitely grows user retention and lowers churn - no one will abandon an app where “they know what exactly I need and offer discounts on top of that”.
Gaining More Loyal Customers
What is a loyal user? - It’s not only about a client who uses your app regularly and is active within it. It’s also about people who recommend your app to their friends or even share recommendations on social media, in comments on forums, etc. Roughly speaking, a loyal customer is a user who, in fact, promotes your application and brings more users to it.

Personalization comes as a must-have approach to growing your brand’s loyalty level among existing customers. The more regular clients you have, the more solid your app looks among thousands of other similar applications in the sector you work in, and therefore, the more profit you generate.
Growing Conversions
Personalization of your app creates customer experiences that are ideally adapted to their specific needs. Such an approach helps attract customers by creating a sense of human communication and the feeling that the app takes care of a user.

Device personalization services for app integrated into smartphones facilitate bringing the user experience to a new quality level. For example, Android System Intelligence (former name Device Personalization Services) proposes to users content based on the apps they use and how they act within it. This service improves some features of Android smartphones, such as attention recognition, detecting nearby playing music and displaying the track name on the lock screen, voice input feature, etc. Among others, a smartphone may provide users with information about restaurants nearby and recommend cuisine based on their food preferences. That may be done by sending a push notification while a user is passing by a restaurant.

Another feature of device personalization services is the possibility to interconnect data from different apps. For example, the text you input in one application might emerge as a search suggestion in another app. Notice, users may disable device personalization services if that overloads their smartphones and enable them when needed. In any way, device personalization services facilitate user engagement and grow conversion and sales.
Grow Sales
Users appreciate a personalized approach as it makes them feel treated as unique and at the same time builds trust between a client and an app. When they receive personalized messages, they feel the app takes care of them, despite it being a robot.

When users are offered something that perfectly meets their needs, they are stimulated to make spontaneous purchases driven by emotions. Personalized content may take the form of notifications, reminding users who added some goods to their cart to finish the purchase, or informing them about products (matching their preferences) that are now again available, that will stimulate them to buy in the future.
How to Personalize Your App?
Before implementing personalization for your mobile app, you should make sure to be transparent when gathering information about your clients. Ensure that your application adheres to CCPA and GDPR to work within the law framework.

Next, you should always be respectful towards your customer's personal boundaries. That is a delicate process of delivering personalized experiences, where it’s crucial not to “overdo”. Don’t be pushy, don’t put pressure on users, don’t overload them with notifications. These all make them feel uncomfortable. And that’s not an efficient strategy at all.
Decide on Segmentation Parameters
The first step in personalization is building a database about your audience. It helps you grasp your users and segment them into groups. You may gather data following parameters such as age, profession, app activity, interests, hobbies, purchase history, etc. Then pick the parameter you want to focus on and come up with personalized messages for customers from this group. Analyzing and finding patterns in the database largely simplifies the process of personalization.
Be Helpful But Not Pushy
Too pushy notifications might be counterproductive - if notifications are annoying, users delete an app once and forever.  You should focus on composing delightful and helpful push notifications that will never bother users. In such a way, you can turn your personalized messages into an invaluable tool that will stimulate them to return to your app more often and engage with it.

For example, a fitness app may send its users notifications about their achievements in sports, praising and motivating them to keep on working out with the app. That’s a really working psychological trick because everyone loves to be praised and see the reports of working out - it motivates a lot. Just don’t send messages too frequently - choose the right moment when users are really glad to hear from you.
Customize Your Recommendations
Showing you understand your customer and one’s needs signifies your personalized approach. Probably one of the best mobile app personalization examples is Netflix. This app uses the approach called “collaborative filtering,” where it utilizes one customer’s data to forecast what a similar user will like. If people who watched “The Witcher” also watched “The Last of Us,” the algorithm offers “The Last of Us” to those who enjoyed “The Witcher”.
Don’t Ignore Segmentation
Grouping your users by specific parameters (age, location, purchases, etc.) allows you to build a proper mobile app personalization campaign for every group of customers. Instagram algorithms demonstrate it perfectly. Based on the user's likes and purchases (take, for example, posts with puppies and dog stuff purchases), algorithms offer relevant propositions to this user (such as posts about dogs' health, training, etc.)

Instagram also segments users by their location. Advertisements that you can see on your Instagram page are localized according to where you live. That is, if you live in Kyiv, you will not get ads about dog training lessons in Washington.
Offer a Product a User Can’t Resist Buying
Customers adore special propositions and discounts and that’s what keeps them loyal to your app. Here is an example of adopting the offer to a user: the e.l.f. US: Cosmetics and Skin app algorithms gather information about its users' purchases and actions within the app. It helps the app managers come up with special propositions for every single client.

Suppose, a user tried a virtual tool to play with different looks and different colors of shades and their combinations and marked some nice variants with likes. Then the app sends her a special offer with the perfect combination of shades or discounts on a set of shades she loved the most. As a result, she can’t resist buying the offered set of cosmetics.
A/B Testing - Make a Final Decision in Your App Content Personalization
The process of crafting a proper personalization app takes some time. You will go through trials and mistakes before finding the most appropriate approach. This may be done in two ways - you may send various notifications to see which of them are read more actively or track the time when users actively respond. Another way to build personalized content is through getting feedback from users (monitor their likes and dislikes to adjust your app).