How Urban Outfitters Boosted Opens by 100+% and Lifted Conversions by 75%

From send-time optimization to dynamic audience filters, here’s what smart, forward-looking marketing looks like

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Things move fast in marketing. It feels like there’s always something new on the horizon: new trends, new technologies, new ways of thinking about customers and how to engage with them. It can be challenging to keep up with it all, to ensure that your marketing approach is meeting your audience at the right time and place.

Some brands manage it with aplomb. And there’s a lot you can learn from them about how to optimize your marketing in today’s fast-changing, mobile-first marketing landscape. That’s especially true of Urban Outfitters, which used emerging marketing tools to boost its message open rates by more than 100% and increase revenue per customer by 146%. Let’s take a look at how they did it:

Mobile-first marketing, the Urban Outfitters way

When it comes to marketing, if Urban Outfitters is doing it, it’s probably a good idea. The brand has long been an innovator and early adopter when it comes to up and coming  marketing technologies and tactics. And that willingness to move fast and take full advantage of the marketing tools at their disposal has led to strong results in their customer messaging, where they’ve consistently been market leaders.

Want to see the kind of forward-looking marketing approach that Urban Outfitters is known for? We’re going to take a look at a couple notable campaigns from UO that show what’s possible when you marry smart messaging with advanced tools and segmentation. Let’s get started!

1. Boosting messaging open rates by more than 100% using send-time optimization

While the rise of mobile has made it easier for brands to engage with their customers anywhere and everywhere, it’s also amplified competition for customer’s attention, making it harder for marketers to break through and communicate with their audiences effectively. That’s a challenge for every brand, but particularly for retailers and other companies that depend on regular engagement with their customers to support their long-term business goals.

To cut through the noise, Urban Outfitters decided to leverage an underused marketing tool to ensure that the messages it sent were received when each recipient was most interested in receiving them. This tool, send-time optimization, draws on historical customer engagement data to identify time periods when each user is most likely to engage with outreach, then automatically ensure that future messages are received during one of these high-engagement windows. By using send-time optimization, Urban Outfitters was able to significantly boost the effectiveness of its multichannel re-engagement campaigns, resulting in a more than 100% improvement in open rates across all messaging channels. These campaigns also boosted one-week retention for male loyalty program members by 138% and increased engagement among users who had been inactive for at least three months by 94%.

Check out the full case study

2. Boosting revenue per customer by 146% with dynamic audience filters

One side effect of mobile’s ubiquity is the increasingly blurred lines between mobile activity and real-life behavior. That’s a reflection of the value that mobile devices can add—making it possible, for instance, to comparison shop on your tablet from within a store, or to pay for dinner with a tap of your phone—but it can also complicate brands’ efforts to effectively fit their marketing efforts to customers’ real-world behavior.

As a major retail brand with an equally major mobile presence, Urban Outfitters has a real incentive to work to fully understand their customers’ engagement with their brand, and to use that understanding to nudge them to make purchases and deepen their loyalty. To do that effectively, the brand made use of a powerful new marketing tool: dynamic audience filters. Dynamic audience filters take location contextualization to the next level and make it possible to more accurately personalize messages for the customers receiving them.

For Urban Outfitters, taking advantage of dynamic audience filters provided by location-data firm PlaceIQ made it possible to filter messages based not just on each customer’s location but also on the context surrounding those locations. That allowed the company to send campaigns promoting party dresses specifically to the audience  most likely to be interested in them: namely, women who frequently visit bars and nightlife locations. This kind of highly-nuanced, automatic segmentation pays off: using PlaceIQ’s dynamic audience filters for this campaign boosted conversions by 75% and increased related revenue by 145%, compared to an identical campaign that segmented customers based on their stated preferences and in-app behavior.

Check out the full case study

Final thoughts

Urban Outfitter’s forward-looking approach to marketing is something that all brands would do well to emulate. The impressive results above , have a real, tangible impact on customer relationships and bottom line, but what’s even more impressive is the way Urban Outfitters has consistently insisted on using pioneering new technologies  and trying new things in its marketing.

Want to make sure you’re thinking strategically about your mobile-first marketing? Consider signing up for Appboy’s new Mobile Marketing 101 Course if you want to ensure you’ve got the basics down, or subscribe to Relate Weekly to keep up to speed on the latest trends and developments in today’s fast-moving marketing space.

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