Branch launches cross-channel cohort analysis for app marketers

Marketers need to understand users’ behavior across platforms, and Branch is launching a new cross-platform, cross-channel cohort analysis on Thursday that it says provides a quicker way to do that.

Based in Redwood City, California, Branch began as a provider of intelligent “deep-links” that linked from an email, mobile web site page or in-app ad to a specific screen inside a destination, usually a mobile app. If that app wasn’t yet installed, the deep link opened to the app’s listing in an app store to download it.

Cohort analysis from engagements. With this new cohort analysis, Branch is going beyond its previous event-based reporting, such as how many users installed an app after clicking on a specific link. Now, it is tracking cohorts of users across platforms and over time. Initially, it will track groups that install an app from Branch links, or re-engage with an app after installing it or who re-engage a web site after clicking a Branch link.

Branch’s links can reside in virtually any platform, including emails, ads, mobile or desktop web sites, mobile apps and more.

This cohort analysis is part of Branch’s focus on more extensive analysis. Earlier this year, it bought the mobile attribution service of mobile platform Tune. But the new cohort analysis capability, Product Team Head Nicholas Bonnet told me, was in development prior to the Tune acquisition.

Cross-device matching. The new cohort analysis relies on several methods to determine when clicks from separate devices are from the same person, Bonnet said. It then can track that user’s activity across platforms or channels, along with others in the same cohort.

For instance, he said, an email opened on a desktop could encourage a user to return to the app, and a Branch link in that email could generate a message with a link on a messaging app, such as Facebook Messenger. If the Messenger link is opened on a smartphone, Branch knows it’s the same person. Or the link on the desktop could generate an on-screen QR code, which the user then scans with her smartphone — again, connecting the two. Sometimes, he said, clients can provide their own data to connect its customers across platforms.

Why you should care. This cohort analysis allows marketers — especially marketers of apps, but potentially others as well — to track lifetime value or return-on-investment across platforms by a certain audience segment.

Typically, Bonnet said, performance-based marketers will look only at the retention of app users for a certain number of days after an app install, rather than analyze their multi-channel behavior. He added that a cross-channel analysis — created in part via intelligence from clicked links — lets marketers better allocate their promotional budgets to the most effective channels.

Of course, other providers also generate cross-platform and cross-channel analysis, or even a more extensive people-based analysis, allowing marketers to follow users across platforms.

The key difference here, Bonnet said, is that marketers can more quickly set up a cross-platform analysis of an audience segment of similar users, all driven by intelligent links. This contrasts, he said, to the extensive analysis and connections between major datasets that are otherwise often required to set up cross-platform and cross-channel identification of users.

An additional advantage for mobile marketers is that they can get a broader view of the behavior of a given type of app user, across channels. For instance, the mobile app marketer might be able to more quickly learn that users who install a new game app and start using it immediately exhibit other positive behaviors for the brand such as visiting that game publisher’s desktop site..

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.

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