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Introduction to mobile app marketing


At Cordial, we view mobile app marketing as any interaction that's sent to your mobile app, and any interaction coming back from your mobile app. We believe that creating a delightful brand experience for customers begins with a brand relationship. A great relationship starts with great communication.

Communication is much more than speaking to your customers through messaging. It's equally about listening to your customers. Listening to your customers across all channels (mobile, app, email, web) is essential to creating consistent, coherent, and personalized experiences.

Push notifications

Push notifications are the most commonly used option for mobile app messaging. Many companies use push notifications to encourage users to open their app. But the best push notifications are simple, urgent, and actionable (when applicable).

As an example, sending a notification that you can check-in to your flight in 24 hours is not urgent or actionable. Instead, send that notification just a few minutes before check-in starts and have it take the user directly to the check-in process when clicked. Rich push notifications contain images, gifs, and other relevant media along with the notification. This can be a great way to add user value when sending a push notification.

Allowing users to customize how often and what types of messages they receive will lead to a much higher opt-in rate.

In-app messaging

In-app messages are also common for mobile app messaging. These are highly valued because they display when someone is already inside the app and do not require the person to have push notifications enabled. In-app messages have a lot of possible use cases, such as advertising something new, highlighting current offers, explaining the value of push notifications before asking for permission, or sending a survey. Finding the right time to show these messages can be critical, as you don't want to overwhelm users with messages while they're trying to use your app.

Cordial's SDK allows you to block showing in-app messages until told it's okay. This is a great way to ensure that critical actions (such as checkout) are not interrupted.

Inbox messaging

Inbox messaging is an awesome way to store messages. These can mirror a lot of use cases that email is suited for (reservation/order confirmations) but can also have a lot of unique implementations, such as a record of activity happening in a community (post comments, new followers, etc). Not every app needs to use inbox messaging, so make sure to consider if it would add value to your users' experiences, as this is one of the more complicated features to implement and use.


Event data allows a brand to listen to people the moment they engage with your brand. The app can send signals back to Cordial at each and every interaction someone has with your app in the form of event data. These events inform exactly how, when, and on which device you respond back to the customer.

Events can be used to track all kinds of scenarios, from the basic ones such as app opens to more advanced ones such as time spent watching a video. These events can be incredibly useful, but they can also become a privacy issue, so make sure to only collect what's needed. iOS now requires you to disclose the information you collect and give a summary of how it's used. (See this page for more information.)


A great way to decide which events to collect is to write out the questions you want answered and the use cases you want to implement. Then figure out which events are needed.

Cart items and orders

Tracking what users add to their cart and what items actually get purchased can give you invaluable information for not only optimizing your messaging, but also optimizing your business. These also enable countless use cases that can be personalized to become highly valuable to your users, such as product recommendations or abandoned cart messages.


Location data continues to be one of the most private pieces of data that apps can collect. Users are always prompted to either allow or block location permissions before an app can use their location. When designing your app, if you choose to ask for location permissions, make sure that you offer a very high-value reason for needing people's location data, and only collect it when needed.

Always make sure to consider how your app will work without location permissions, such as allowing a user to manually enter a zip code to find a nearby store.

How push notifications work

When first starting to plan a mobile app marketing strategy, it can be helpful to have an understanding of how messages are sent to a mobile application. When an app user installs your application and agrees to receive push notifications, the app is assigned a device token. This token uniquely identifies that instance of your application on that specific device. Along with your app's authentication information, device tokens are used to send requests to Apple and Google to deliver notifications.

Push notifications are not actually delivered directly to devices. The requests to send are handed off to Apple and Google and are then delivered to devices via Apple's and Google's servers. While Apple and Google are highly reliable, neither of them guarantee that notifications will be delivered to devices.

What is an SDK?

A software development kit (SDK) is defined as a collection of software development tools put into a single package. In other words, an SDK is code that has been designed to be reused by multiple developers, which can easily be installed into appropriate code projects. SDKs help reduce the time it takes to implement common functionality such as updating a contact or sending events.

Cordial's approach

Cordial's approach to mobile app marketing is to maximize flexibility while minimizing complexity. We understand that every app is different, every user is different, every interaction can be tailored, and that having to release an app update to enable a use case should be a last resort. Our mobile app SDKs are built to allow you to get data back into Cordial's platform quickly and easily.



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