Mobile apps in marketing – what you need to know
Mobile apps have been one of the biggest marketing trends of the last five years or so. Since 2008, when Apple first launched the App Store, apps have grown into a $53 billion industry and industry experts predict that it will be worth $143 billion by 2016. Numbers like that mean that marketers and businesses everywhere are scrambling to build and develop apps – but the truth is that many Apps fail. They are either not downloaded; downloaded and never opened or opened once and then abandoned.
Google and MediaCT recently carried out research with over 8,000 regular app users. The findings are essential reading for anyone considering developing, producing or marketing an app. We’ve summarised some of the most important findings in this article.
How will people find your app?
Many people would answer this simple question with a simple answer ‘The App Store’. It’s certainly true that many people discover the apps they use in Google Play and Apple’s App Store but, according to Google’s survey, this only accounts for 40% of app discovery. The remaining 60% takes place on search engines, through advertising online and in other mobile apps or in person. If you’re expecting people to download your app at an event then it’s crucial that the experience is as straightforward as possible. QR Codes could be part of the solution but a more straightforward alternative is often text message shortcodes. Users simply text a short word (like DOWNLOAD or APP) to a text message shortcode and receive a link back that lets them download the app.
Make them open your app
You need to make sure that people actually open your app after they download it and do so regularly. Not only will this allow you to send them push notifications (more on those later) but you’ll avoid the dreaded ‘one open App’. According to Google’s survey around half of users will delete an App if they feel it’s no longer relevant. This means you’ll no longer be able to send push notifications.
You must prove to your users that your app is useful to them. Vanity apps may be downloaded but they are much less likely to be opened regularly. If your business operates from physical locations then your customers must have a reason to open the app every time they come into the store. This might mean offering mobile app-only offers or making the customer experience far better using the app (for example, allowing shoppers to scan items using their phone).
It’s essential to work out what will make your app useful before you start developing. Otherwise you’ll end up with a huge bill and an app that nobody opens. Most importantly, you must set up an effective on-boarding process so that your user is clear about the benefits your app offers, and exactly how they will use it! This is an often -missed part of the process.
Use push notifications
One of the biggest benefits of mobile apps in marketing is the ability to send push notifications to anyone who has downloaded it. Push notifications are very effective ways of communicating regularly with your customers. It’s vital that you take care when deciding who to send them to, and how often. As with any other form of communication, if you spam people they will disengage. Users have control over which apps send them push notifications and it’s not a compulsory part of installing an app. This means that even if your app is incredibly useful your push notifications must be as well, otherwise people will turn them off.
If you already run email marketing campaigns then take a close look at the data you already have. Which messages are opened most regularly, which links do people click? Similarly, take a look at your social media marketing – push notifications should be similarly snappy and engaging. As with everything else in digital marketing it’s crucial that you test regularly and use the results to improve what you do.
Keen to start using mobile apps in marketing? Get in touch with our digital marketing experts. They’d be delighted to help you start developing a mobile app that will be of real benefit to your business or answer any questions that you have.