In recent years, one of the U.K.’s leading news media companies embarked on a transformative journey to meet the needs of its customers, evolving from a traditional print-based media business into a digital-first news brand. As part of this evolution, the company sought innovative strategies and partners to adapt to the changing dynamics of the mobile landscape.
Today, the company has a sizable digital reach, with tens of millions of monthly users across its platforms. However, the digital landscape has presented its share of challenges. The company relies heavily on third-party social platforms to drive traffic to its sites, and recent shifts in privacy regulations, algorithms, and tracking mechanisms have impacted its audience bases and digital revenue streams.
This shift prompted the company’s marketing team to prioritize owned channels and look for effective ways to boost user engagement and content consumption. Because the company’s app users consume over 10 times more content than mobile web users, the team aimed to grow engagement by converting web users to loyal app users.
As a large enterprise, the company faced the additional challenge of integrating new partner solutions within its complex data architecture. To gain internal buy-in, the team first needed to prove the value and feasibility of adopting a new tool.
Smart banners to target the right users at the right time
To drive digital users to its most valuable platform, the company’s team segmented users into “value cohorts.” Then, it targeted specific audiences with Branch Journeys smart banners, incentivizing users to tap a banner to download the mobile app for a better experience.
Functionality was a key advantage of Branch’s technology. Thanks to its user-friendly and intuitive interface, the company’s marketing team took full ownership of the process, independently creating campaigns, audiences, and targeting strategies. This reduced internal dependencies and saved valuable time.
Within the Branch Dashboard, non-technical users can easily create Journeys smart banners by selecting their audience, configuring creatives, and validating and testing. Users can also design the view their audience will see or add multiple view variations to A/B test the experience across audiences.
To get internal buy-in and scale up its implementation, the team started with a “test and learn” approach. Using Branch, the team created bespoke audiences based on engagement and targeted a small percentage of users with highly relevant mobile web banners. This agile and iterative strategy allowed the marketing team to demonstrate tangible value to stakeholders, fostering confidence and support.
Like any digital transformation initiative, the Branch implementation also required internal education and change management. The internal marketing team collaborated closely with its Branch account team to craft compelling narratives and provide educational support.
Data integration to see the full picture of user behavior
As the news media company doesn’t require authentication or subscription to view its content, more than 90% of its userbase is anonymous. This makes it extra difficult to track and understand user behavior across web and app properties.
By integrating Branch into its internal data ecosystem, the company is now able to stitch together user IDs from Branch with data in its data warehouse to build an ID graph. This effectively connects device IDs with the rest of the company’s business data, enabling teams to analyze individual user engagement pre- and post-app install.
Using the ID graph, the team can look at web content consumption behavior 14, seven, and three days before and after the Branch Journeys campaign across both web and app. The data integration gives the company newfound visibility into the impact of moving anonymous users from web to app, unlocking a world of new possibilities for engagement strategies and precise targeting.
The company’s new web-to-app engagement strategy has already yielded impressive results. Within the first four months, it saw a 25% uplift in content consumption over the 14-day post-install period and a 94% increase in attributed app installs. Its integration of Branch within its broader tech ecosystem has also opened doors for more agile and data-driven growth strategies.
Looking ahead, the company plans to expand its partnership with Branch to new audiences and use cases, including using Branch’s deferred deep linking and personalization capabilities to take users to the most relevant sections of its app based on their individual content preferences and patterns. It also intends to use Journeys smart banners to introduce users to its other digital properties.