You spent thousands on developing an impeccable app and did a great job in offering an unmatched level of user experience. However, you don’t see the expected engagement or retention rates.

Although there isn’t a cut-and-dry formula for boosting user engagement, experimenting with mobile marketing campaigns have known to heap tremendous results.

Mobile marketing is a multi-channel strategy aimed to reach audiences through devices like smartphones and tablets, or via emails, SMS, social media, and apps.

How do you know which campaigns to run, and which mobile marketing ideas to implement? We have created a quick analysis of nine types of mobile marketing campaigns you can implement in your apps straight away.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 1

Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns

1. Promotional Campaigns

Promotional campaigns are used to inform users about new content and deals from the very first day of app installation. Although these campaigns are used as part of an app’s ongoing marketing cycle, they can also be used to highlight limited-time offers and create a sense of urgency for users.

To gain the full benefits of promotional campaigns, utilise multi-channel messaging to make sure the messages reach users without fail. Generally, the following mobile messaging channels are used for this campaign:

  • Push notifications
  • Emails
  • In-app messages

Here’s an example.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 2Push notifications from Amazon and Best Buy. Image Credit:

You can utilise other app marketing strategies like social media marketing or influencer marketing to promote new contents in your app. 

2. Transactional Campaigns

Transactional campaigns are messages sent to users, even if they aren’t subscribed to email newsletters, push notifications or SMSes. As the name suggests, these are sent during critical events such as:

  • Signups
  • In-app purchases
  • Password resets
  • Receipts
  • Delivery / Shipping Notifications

Do note that transactional campaigns are not exactly a part of mobile marketing campaigns as they are used to convey crucial information to customers, and so must be used carefully.

Here’s an example of an email notification upon signup from Strava app.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 3Strava signup notification via email.

Here are some tips for a successful transactional campaign:

  • Focus on their needs and help them to reach their goals.
  • Send fewer messages and be concise. Otherwise, users may mark you as a spammer.
  • Focus on timing. Send crucial messages right away.
  • Use transactional campaigns to inform and never to sell.
  • Use an engaging copy.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe from the email list.
  • Personalise and use straightforward subject lines.

3. Onboarding Campaigns

To make the first impression the greatest, your app needs a compelling onboarding campaign that will explain everything it represents. Otherwise, 25% of users will abandon the app after just one use.

The onboarding process will vary among the nature and functionality of each app. The key is to create an enriching experience for the user – one which demonstrates how to use the app, its key features and how it will benefit the user.

Make the onboarding process as intuitive as possible. If a user struggles with the process, they will never return to the app. If your app is a complex one, try to break down the onboarding campaign into a multi-day process. You can use push notifications to remind them of the same. 

The onboarding process is one of the most effective mobile marketing campaigns as you can tie it up with offers to make the deal even sweeter for the users. For example, if you are monetizing your app using a subscription model, you can offer a welcome discount to the users.

Here’s how the productivity app Forest does its onboarding campaign.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 4
9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 5
9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 6Onboarding campaign in Forest App.

Here are some tips for a successful onboarding campaign:

  • Highlight the benefits of using the app.
  • Use persona-based onboarding (for example: student, employee, CEO)
  • Make it a fun experience.
  • Give detail to essential elements.
  • Make the first achievement the easiest. For example, if you have a game app, make the first level easy. This will help increase customer engagement in the long run.
  • Make it skippable.
  • Use multi-channel messaging if a user fails to complete the process.

4. Opt-In Priming Campaigns

The opt-in priming campaigns are a part of permission marketing and require the permission of a user. If a user decides to decline consent for it, the app doesn’t have another chance to persuade the user. 

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 7The flow of opt-in priming campaigns. Image Credit:

Customers who opt-in are four times more likely to engage with an app compared to opted-out users. 

As a result, opt-in priming campaigns is a tricky business. However, from a users perspective, if your app seems beneficial and its notifications can add value to their daily lives, then they will undoubtedly opt-in to your app. 

It all boils down to how effective you are in conveying your app’s benefits to your users. Here are some best practices you can follow to increase chances for maximum opt-ins.

Start With Your App’s User Experience

In most cases, the number of users who will opt-in to notifications will do so because of the compelling onboarding campaign you performed or the user experience your app offers. Either way, investing more time in building a memorable experience will automatically influence users to stay connected with your app.

Don’t Force Opt-In Immediately After App Installs

Another mistake most apps make is bombarding users with opt-in permissions soon after the app install. This will not only make users irritated in most cases, but also results in lower opt-in rates.

The best thing to do – give users some time to experience your app. Wait at least until the onboarding process is complete.

There are exceptions, of course. If the user is already familiar with the brand, there won’t be a need to delay opt-in priming campaigns.

Serve Only Important Notifications

Once a user opts-in for notifications make sure you send them only the relevant ones that add value to their experience. Otherwise, users might opt-out, or at the worst-case scenario, uninstall your app.

Here’s an example of opt-in priming campaigns from Strava.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 8Opt-in priming campaign in the Strava app.

Here are some tips for successful opt-in priming campaigns:

  • Perform A/B testing on message placement and content.
  • Use double opt-in if feasible. For example, confirming an email address after opting-in for push notifications on your smartphone.
  • Give users opportunities for feedback.
  • Offer freebies if the rate of opt-ins is declining.
  • Use event-based opt-in prompts. For example, whenever a user accesses a specific feature in your app.

5. Triggered Campaigns

As the name suggests, these campaigns are triggered by specific events in a user’s journey with your app. These are hyper-personalised messages sent to users whenever they perform a particular action. For example, if a person completes a lesson on a learning app, a congratulatory message will be triggered. 

Triggered campaigns can boost engagement rates and improve user retention as these messages are personalised and can reveal valuable content of your app to users. 

Generally, triggered campaigns are used for the following instances.

  • When a person abandons a purchase or transaction.
  • During an onboarding process.
  • To reactivate users to reduce churn rates.
  • To deliver personalised offers.
  • To notify the personal achievements of users.
  • To notify changes in account settings.

Here’s an example of how Duolingo, a language learning app, performs triggered campaigns using emails when a user goes dormant.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 9Triggered email campaigns by Duolingo to increase engagement.

Here are some tips for effective triggered campaigns:

  • Segment users into different personas and set triggers accordingly.
  • Offer the right information at the right time.
  • Analyse post-click events and tweak the campaigns accordingly.
  • Triggers don’t have to be entirely event-oriented. For example, if you have a clothing retail app and you have an overstock of a particular shirt size, you can notify customers who purchased those sizes in the past.

6. Dynamic Content Campaigns

As the name implies, dynamic content campaigns are used to send messages (emails, in-app messages, or push notifications) that contain information which will change according to a predefined set of rules. 

A great example is how streaming services like Netflix change its recommendations based on a user’s activity. In this case, dynamic content campaigns are aimed to inform users the right information at the right time. An example of this is how weather apps offer live updates.

Furthermore, you can use a dynamic content campaign based on the following demographics:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Education
  • Occupation

Here’s an example of dynamic content offered by Yahoo Finance.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 10Dynamic push notifications from Yahoo Finance.

Here’s a list of some tips to unlock the full potential of your dynamic content campaigns:

  • Send promotions based on user activity or region.
  • Tweak dynamic content based on a user’s journey.
  • Personalise the content and make it appear exclusive.
  • Use count-down timers for limited offers.
  • Use video content if feasible.

7. Activity Campaigns

Although a form of triggered campaigns, activity campaigns are focused on boosting engagement rates by providing details of friends, followers or even competitors (in a game). For example, if you have a social networking app, you can notify users whenever a person in their friends’ list posts an update.

A primary reason why activity messages must be part of your app marketing strategy is that they provide users with social proof that their friends are active in the app as well. 

Activity campaigns are a great way to boost engagement and retain users. For a marketer, activity campaigns pose less headache as they just have to feed users with new activities of their peers and don’t have to think about new methods to engage users.

Ideally, activity campaigns can be performed in the following circumstances.

  • Content updates from other users.
  • Content response updates. For example, if the user gets a like on Facebook for a photo they shared.
  • Profile update notifications. For example, if a user updates their job status on LinkedIn.
  • Check-in updates. For example, if a user’s friend checks into a restaurant, the user will receive a notification.

Here’s an example of Instagram notifications.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 11Activity notifications from Instagram. Image Credit:

8. Location-Based Campaigns

Location-based campaigns are a form of triggered messages which deliver offers or location-based content to users. This campaign is more specific to brands having physical locations like Dominos or Starbucks. 

Just like improving app engagement rates, location-based campaigns focus on increasing real-world visits to physical locations or increase takeaways using targeted deals.

Who can use location-based campaigns as mobile ads?

  • Auto-dealers
  • Restaurants
  • Clothing retailers and many more

Here’s how Dun-Well Doughnuts does it.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 12Location-based offers sent via email by Dun-Well Doughnuts. Image Credit:

Here’s a list of some tested tips to successfully implement location-based campaigns:

  • Avoid businesses that are available everywhere, unless they offer a speciality in a given location.
  • Analyse data from users’ behaviours from pevious locations visited.
  • Pitch recommendations with rewards.
  • Use personalised messages.
  • Use count-downs for limited-offers, to compel users to make impulsive decisions.

9. Re-Permission Campaigns

Re-permission campaigns give users a second chance to opt in for your app’s push notifications. This process is crucial, especially if your app is heavily reliant on push notifications. Also, push notifications are a great way to bring back dormant users as they have an opening rate of 90%.

For example, Amazon’s mobile app provides users with notifications about deals, cart status and purchase/shipping status. If a user opts out on notifications, the app will suffer in delivering crucial information to users.

However, before you perform a re-permission campaign, you need to analyse why users opted out in the first place. Maybe you overdid the process with too many irrelevant notifications. Or perhaps they aren’t interested in receiving notifications in general. 

Either way, re-permission campaigns can influence users to rethink their decisions by highlighting key benefits and convincing them that they are missing out a lot without push notifications. As these users opted out of push notifications, you can use other contact information like email address, or phone number (SMS) to contact the users again.

Here’s an example of how Rue La La app uses emails to encourage customers to opt in for push notifications.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 13Re-permission campaign sent via email by Rue La La app.

A re-permission campaign may make or break your app. If done right, you will get more users opting in for push notifications. Otherwise, users might even uninstall your apps. As this process is critical, here’s a list of tips to consider:

  • Offer something valuable to the user. (discount coupons, exclusive access to features or free items in games)
  • Target users who are active and not the ones who haven’t used the app for six months or more.
  • Explain clearly how to opt back in for push notifications.
  • Choose a time frame greater than six months to initiate the campaign.

Once a user opts back in for push notification, make sure you appreciate their decision by sending only valuable, personalised and relevant messages.

High-Impact Marketing Campaign Examples

Although marketing campaigns are designed with different goals in mind, starting from brand building, to increasing sales or enhancing social desirability, it always boils down to a single outcome – Return on Investment (ROI). 

Here are some examples of campaigns that reaped huge returns:

1. Starbucks – Mobile Order & Pay

The Mobile Order & Pay was a new feature in the Starbucks app that allowed users to pay in advance for their orders before visiting a store. The campaign resulted in a 17% to 22% increase in sales.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 14Paying in advance for store orders using Starbucks app. Image Credit:

2. Domino’s App – Pizza Creation

The Domino’s app offered users a pizza creation game that allowed them to order the pizza they created in the game. This campaign resulted in three times more mobile users and boosted sales by 63%.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 15Domino’s pizza creation app. Image Credits:

3. Scrabble App – Free WiFi

In Paris, the Scrabble App offered its users free WiFi for every word they unscrambled. The higher the score each user attained, the more free WiFi time they got. This led to unscrambling of 6000 words and numerous downloads of the Scrabble app.

9 Types of Mobile Marketing Campaigns For Apps 16Free WiFi promotion in Scrabble app. Image Credit:


Mobile marketing campaigns are a continued effort and can be enriched with other marketing techniques like social media and emails. The key is to start subtle, make sure users are comfortable with what you offer and tweak campaigns based on users’ preferences.

Try triggering each campaign based on a user’s journey and make sure you send only highly relevant messages. If a user opts out of notifications, try getting to the root of the problem with a feedback prompt. After all, an effective campaign is one which uses a communication channel which users are most comfortable with.

Related Sources to Read:

When to Consider Mobile App Development for Your Business
Why Mobile Apps Are Important for Your Business
Factors to Consider When Hiring a Mobile App Development Company
Mobile App Development Cost Estimate in Malaysia

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