Those of you with kids (or young enough to remember being one) will be very familiar at this time of year with the joys of opening a door each day to see what festive image (or chocolate) there will be in THE MOST EXCITING count down known to child-kind.
Those of you with cats, particularly young ones, may be familiar with the challenge of getting them to come to you when you need them when they’re not hungry, like when going to the vet or coming into the house.
I have both… stay with me on this one…
When positioning iadbox, user controlled ‘advertising’ inbox, I am continually asked by people, “but, why would I want to click on it to look at ads”?
And that, my cat-loving/hating friends, is the $64,000, nay, $1m question! If you can get people to choose to look at commercial content, they actually pay attention and you can then make money at a premium price. So, it’s worth thinking about…
Well, the trick with cats appears (to the rookie owner) to be built upon trust and finding individual ways to entice them in. And guess what, it’s exactly the same with an advertising inbox.
Which brings me back to the time of year and the advent calendar.
Having operated a user controlled advertising service for 5 years with Qustodian and iadbox with clients for a year, we have found at least 24 different reasons why people choose to click on an ad inbox. And, by remarkable coincidence, that matches the number of doors on an advent calendar…
Phew, we got there in the end.
So, without further ado, here are 24 reasons people choose to look in an ad inbox.
1. It’s there!
Guess what, if you put an inbox icon in your app or website, people will just click on it. It’s the start of the journey…
2. App Notification
Notifications work. Even when used with an infrequent use app such as one for scanning barcodes, we still generate 10% read rates of commercial messages when we send targeted notifications (learn more about our push notifications).
3. Red dot
Something as simple as a new message indicator on an envelope is intriguing for mobile users of your app and website. With the Radio Marca app, 15% of people opened it in the first two weeks just because it was there with a dot on it showing how many new messages they had (Radio Marca launches its sponsor fan engagement channel with iadbox!)
4. Pop up
For mobile web publishers, having a pop up that appears for 3 seconds when you first visit the page when there are new messages that says “You have <x> new messages” reminds people to take a look and has proven to at least double visit rates.
5. Link from social media
iadbox includes the ability to link to a message from a social media post, allowing the publisher to drive traffic to the inbox to help increase read rates and create the opportunity to make money from commercial messages. Posts like “we are running a new competition this month. Click here to enter” or “See our latest deal from <brand> by clicking here”, will encourage users to your site and inbox.
6. Link from editorial
iadbox also lets you link from editorial to messages, again to drive inbox visits to make more money. Those links could be “you’ve read our free article, now spend 30 seconds viewing a personalised ad to help pay for it” or “Click here to join our latest competition (or see our latest deal)”.
7. Value Exchange
Perhaps the most important item on our list… The first message that a reader sees should clearly explain what is in it for them if they engage with content in the inbox. For newspapers, how about something like:
“Welcome to our and your new commercial inbox. We will send you interactive commercial content in this inbox that will help us to make money to pay for our free content.
The more you interact and the more you tell us, the more the content can be personalised to the things you like and you will be helping to maintain our free, quality journalism.
To get things started we are going to run a free to enter competition every day for the next 30 days, with prizes from our sponsors. And what’s more, whenever you read commercial messages in this inbox, you can earn Nectar points.
So give it a go and let us know what you think in the feedback messages we also send you“.
Or create your own value exchange to make it interesting to your readers with deals, coupons, loyalty points, feedback tool, app discovery and all the other tricks in this list.
Perhaps the most valuable tool to make people want to return to look at your messages in your inbox is making it playful and fun. Competitions, social-style videos and content, polls and games with prizes are all great to encourage your readers to keep coming back for just a minute or two every day.
9. Give opinions
People love to give their opinions on anything from you and your services to current affairs. Use iadbox message question and free text response formats to allow your users to tell you with a thumb tap want they think. We ran a survey with Nielsen during the London Olympics over a full 20 day period and 76% of the respondents answered all the questions, because it was easy, relevant and interesting to them.
10. Report back their opinions
Feeding back to readers the result of them giving their opinions not only appeals to their interest in how their views compare with others, but it makes them feel involved and part of the community.
11. Competitions & prizes
Not much to say here: it works! iadbox has run hundreds or successful competitions using its question formats to challenge people on knowledge, predictions, observation skills in videos and many, many more.
12. Updates and alerts
Using iadbox to promote your updates, new products and services, offers and exclusive content, will encourage your readers to regularly come back to check out what’s in the (iad)box…
Sending personalised ads leads to people discovering new things adjacent to things that they like, that they had no knowledge of beforehand. People like to discover something new and iadbox provides a perfect means to discover one or two new things every day.
14. We’re all consumers
Whoever we are, we all like to buy stuff: fashion, music, sport, entertainment, experiences, food, travel, etc. For one COO of a global organisation we spoke to it was running, and just running. Let your readers tell you what they like then send them only that, and they’ll keep looking.
15. Want to find apps?
Most of us like to discover a new app to help us, entertain us or connect us. But finding them can be difficult with millions out there. Discovering one app a day, based on your preferences and past activity is one great way to find new apps and games, with a “less is more” approach.
16. Want to find deals?
Like apps, there are so many deals around these days, it is easy to become overwhelmed and switch off to them. A single “deal a day” approach can work much better with iadbox as they’re self-deleting, so don’t accumulate, and are more relevant as they’re based on your preferences and past activity.
17. Brand dialogue
If you respond positively to a brand campaign and then receive follow on messages that respond to your previous comments, you enter a conversation with that brand. We have shown with iadbox that this type of ‘natural dialogue’ can lead to extraordinary engagement rates, like 90% with a KLM campaign…
18. Advertising as content
iadbox custom messages turn an ad into a mini website with ‘submersive’, interactive content. Readers can spend as much or as little time on the content as they wish, turning it into snackable, time-filling content.
19. Reward loyalty points
Earning loyalty points like Nectar or air miles for interacting with message content can be the cherry on the cake when it comes to engagement rates. Qustodian (using the iadbox platform) rewards users with a percentage of the revenue they helped to generate by reading each message and has consistently achieve 20-60% engagement rates. Blend your rewards correctly with the value created by your messages and you’ll be surprised by the engagement rates you can achieve.
20. Gamify points
Points earned for reading iadbox messages don’t need to carry a monetary value. Awarding points to users to gamify their interactions can be just as powerful. Try setting points targets to show how much they are contributing to the costs of providing your service; or giving prizes to the people with the most points every week; or awarding each point as a ticket to enter prize draws.
It is fair to say that most people like to save money. Providing deals and discounts in message content will always encourage people to come back to see what new deals are available.
THE BIG PICTURE:
We all spend a lot of time each day doing stuff on our smartphones. We have proven with our consumer service that spending a couple of minutes every day engaging with interactive commercial content based on things that you like can be one of those things.
23. Creatures of Habit
Once you have created the habit in your audience to look at the inbox when they visit your site or app sometime during the day or week, they will just keep coming back. The trick is to create the habit at the start, and a daily competition for a month is a great way to achieve that.
24. What’s your “Star of Bethlehem”?
Every publisher, app, club or retailer has their own little tricks to entice people in and to come back. We’ve shared some of ours, from alerts to personalised content to rewards, but you all have your own. So, what’s your guiding star to entice them in?
Every day, companies use social media to entice people to their products and services. But when you do this on your own site with a commercial inbox, you gain full ownership of the relationship, the data and the money. So, finding ways to entice people to engage with your inbox carries some major potential rewards.
Just like owning a cat… if you can entice them to you.
One final gratuitous Betsy shot…