Founded in 2005, Melbourne-based Kidspot.com.au was created with the purpose of giving Australia’s mums a central repository of reliable information that could make the journey of pregnancy and child-rearing easier and more enjoyable. The site has since been acquired by News Corporation and grown to include detailed and com- prehensive directories on every stage of pregnancy and birth, as well as on parenting throughout all of a child’s developmental stages. Some of the site’s features include a wide variety of social discussion forums, a blog and activities for children, such as easy recipes, games, crafts and printable colouring pages.
Kidspot is one of the most popular parenting lifestyle site in Australia, with more than 1.3 million unique monthly visitors and more than 68,000 Facebook ‘likes’. As a natural response to the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets by the mum demographic, Kidspot developed and released the BumpWatch mobile app. BumpWatch helps women hoping to conceive pinpoint their most fertile times of the month, offering them advice on how to increase their chances of becoming pregnant. It also helps expectant mums keep track of milestones along the pregnancy journey from conception to birth.
At launch, the BumpWatch app deployed push notification messages as a way to interact with users, address- ing the process of pregnancy in a ‘folksy’ tone with fairly casual language, including references to ‘baby bumps’ and enquiries as to how ‘junior’ was doing. While reception to the app – and to the push notifications meant to keep mums engaged – was positive, the company was sure that engagement could be stronger.
Kidspot’s main communications objective was to increase user engagement with the BumpWatch app, with the expectation that women who downloaded it would follow the push notifications’ prompts more often and spend more time within the app. Longer app engagement also increases monetisation opportunities, in this case the likelihood that the user will click on an invitation from a brand partner such as Huggies to visit its website and join its Mums to Be Club. The company wanted to craft messaging that spoke directly to each user according to her individual point along the pregnancy journey, realising that, just as a woman in her third trimester wouldn’t fit into the jeans of a woman in her first trimester, the same principle applies to mobile messaging.
As there is no one-size-fits-all approach and as more and more consumers adopt mobile, the need to tailor mobile messages by ever more specialised segments grows. Kidspot wanted to identify exactly what kind of language would best pique the interest of women in these different segments – those trying to conceive and of expectant mothers in each week of the nine- month pregnancy process.
The company wanted to measure:
> how many app users were opening the push messages
> which opened messages were leading to increased app exploration
> which users clicked through to brand partners, and
> which messages led users to access the ‘settings’ section of the app.
In order to improve engagement with BumpWatch, Kidspot enlisted the help of OtherLevels. OtherLevels helps brands and publishers using push notification, SMS and mobile email messaging engage, retain and maximise the value of their audiences through mobile messaging analytics and retargeting. After analysing the app’s content and the push notifications Kidspot was sending, OtherLevels recommended that the best way to measure the effectiveness of each push would be to run A/B split testing. A/B split testing refers to deploying at least two versions of a single message to see which iteration delivers the highest value and ROI. The technique has been used in print, television and web campaigns for decades and is starting to make inroads on mobile. OtherLevels determined this to be the best course of action as mobile needs different analytics beyond those used with Kidspot’s desktop-based website – for example, page views, banner clicks and impressions – to deliver better engagement.
The BumpWatch app has two separate sections: a fertility tracker that calculates probable ovulation dates and provides conception tips, and a preg- nancy tracker that calculates due date and offers information on every stage of the pregnancy.
Beginning in 2011, OtherLevels and Kidspot created several versions of the push notification messages for the fertility and pregnancy trackers. Each message varied in several areas, including tonality, call to action and word count. The messages were sent to women from the pre-conception stage through to pregnancy development in all three trimesters.
For example, segments of women trying to get pregnant received one of these three messages:
> ‘It’s almost your fertile time – happy baby making! Visit BumpWatch to learn more.’
> ‘Your body is preparing to become pregnant. It’s time to get busy baby-making!’
> ‘It’s almost your fertile time – read our 10 tips to boost your fertility.’
With a lift rate of 198%, message A was the most widely successful notification of the three.
For those who were already preg- nant, the company deployed test messages to women in later stages of pregnancy (week 28):
> ‘Some important milestones for baby’s brain this week. What else has changed? Let’s find out!’
> ‘Your baby can still do somersaults, but it’s getting cramped in your belly, so he’s starting to move into the birth position. Find out more.’
Here, message A won the engagement contest, producing higher numbers on every metric. This message achieved a 230% lift rate, as well as a greater percentage of users manoeuvring through the navigation screen of the app at a 200% lift.
For women in their 30th week, OtherLevels delivered these two message choices:
> ‘From this week, your baby’s fine lanugo hair may begin to disappear. Why? Let’s find out!’
> ‘Week 30 Congratulations! You’re in your third trimester. Baby is now laying down body fat and growing hair and nails. Lovely! Find out more.’
With one of the highest percentages, message A not only had a 308% lift, but also a 125% navigation page lift as well.
Based on the results of these tests, Kidspot noticed that shorter and less casually worded messages returned the highest results. The tests also revealed that messages ending in the words ‘Let’s find out!’ proved to be most compel- ling for mums to open the message and engage with the app across the board. Utilising these results, messages following this model were deployed to wider audience segments.
After the first round of A/B split tests carried out by OtherLevels over a two-week period, Kidspot was able to identify with precision the kind of messages – less folksy, more clinical and concise – that make mums curious to know more and keep them engaging with the BumpWatch app for longer.
According to initial results, user engagement with the BumpWatch app increased by 87.5%, while a lift of between 200% and 300% was achieved based on the wider deployment of segmented messages shown to draw more interest from mums.