A sense of community is important in our daily lives, and each community is strengthened and made more vibrant by the people who call it home. Like the family down the street that just moved in, the neighbor who you run into at the coffee shop on Tuesdays, the restaurant around the corner that makes the best pizza in town — these are all facets of our community experience which bring us a sense of security, belonging, and support.
During the pandemic, mobile screens and other electronic means of connecting have been ‘bridging the gap’ until we are all able to return to our regular social outlets. After a year or more of lockdowns and social distancing, we long for a more genuine sense of community.
Cobbl.es is part of a wave of new apps that are helping to forge connections between real and virtual communities—connecting with the people around them, and rediscovering what it means to be part of a real neighborhood again.
A hyper-local social media platform, the Cobbles app helps people experience the real-world, local community that exists beyond their mobile screens, providing social connections, news and alerts, a marketplace, and even job postings. The platform seeks to “re-imagine neighborhoods to boost the way people connect.” The app leverages the power of a user’s camera phone to create picture and video posts that provide a richer, more immediate sense of community amongst its members.
Launched in 2020 in South Boston, Massachusetts, today the app is enabled in over 60 geographic communities.
As a hyper-local community app, it was important for Cobbles to bring their engagement and retention A-game. A/B testing, automated segmentation, omnichannel journeys, and actionable campaign analytics were some of the features they sought in an engagement platform.
As a startup getting off the ground, they needed a smart pricing strategy to reduce their total cost of ownership, so the focus could remain on growing their member base and retaining users. As they were examining platforms in the market for features and pricing, they found that almost none of the vendors had pricing policies designed to serve early-stage startups such as Cobbles.
A sense of community is fostered by inclusivity and belonging. For Cobbles, creating that sense begins at the very moment the user lands on the platform. They needed to create a seamless onboarding flow, enabling users to experience the value of the platform right from the moment they register. An effective onboarding process also improves product adoption and user retention rates.
After investigating various mobile engagement platforms, they chose to become a part of the CleverTap for Startups plan. CleverTap had everything they needed to build and nurture communities and keep users connected within the app.
A user can download and access the app without registering. However, the moment the user wishes to create or engage with a post, they need to register. The user shares their phone number, email address, and location, and then selects their community. A member profile is created both in the app as well as on CleverTap, and their subsequent actions are recorded as events.
First impressions matter. A hassle-free onboarding experience is pivotal for the new member to see value and keep coming back to the app.
The team at Cobbles has created an onboarding welcome journey that lasts from Day 1 to 7. The journey is a series of 6 emails and 6 push notifications. These messages welcome new members and thank them for joining, while providing guidance on navigating the app and its key features. The goal of this journey is to nurture users, improve adoption rates, and build positive user habits over time.
Following the welcome journey, users are included in an ongoing nurture journey that begins on Day 8.
The ongoing nurture journey is supported by a weekly email newsletter. Cobbles creates their newsletter in their newsroom which is an internal web app. After generating the HTML in the newsroom, they use CleverTap’s API to send it to CleverTap where they create and execute the campaigns.
CleverTap’s advanced segmentation and personalization engine enable them to create highly relevant messages and CTAs using member names, communities, and other user profile details to tailor the communication to the individual’s stated interests. The newsletter is a snapshot of all the events, posts, real estate trends, police blotter, and other news and alerts within that local community.
The team tests various campaign ideas by A/B testing their messaging. By trying different versions of copy, illustrations, subject lines and CTAs, they can gauge which version resonates most with their members. A/B testing allows them to engage with users in a data-driven way, improve the user experience, support retention, and increase campaign ROI.
Micro-moments occur where users turn to an app, product, or device to satisfy an impulse to learn something, do something, or buy something. To leverage these moments, it’s important to match content with intent. Cobbles does this by creating rich transactional notifications based on user activity within the app.
Understanding how users interact with the app is important for engagement and retention. Cohorts enable the team to understand how users across segments use the app. Further, cohorts also help in tracking engagement and retention across different user segments and properties.
By creating a memorable first impression through onboarding journeys and encouraging user habits with ongoing engagement campaigns, Cobbles has achieved a retention rate that is significantly higher than the industry average.
As an early-stage startup, Cobbles proved that they can acquire users, both rapidly and economically. Currently, Cobbles is implementing a robust retention model while they scale their operations. The team looks forward to creating more communities across the U.S. While they help members rediscover community, CleverTap is excited to help them demonstrate value to their members by supporting and optimizing their engagement and retention efforts.