Mobile connectivity places newfound control at your fingertips; it provides an unseen speed and convenience to your life. Through the use of smartphones you can easily connect to the web, social media, and email, and even take quality pictures; but more benefits exist. Others include last minute travel bookings, simple online purchases, and quick reservations with just a few taps. How does this all happen? Mobile apps!
A device originally designed for conversation has evolved into a necessary tool to connect with people, and increasingly with brands and marketers. Fifteen years ago, companies began to understand the importance of developing a website to brand, promote and market goods and services. These same marketers now realize the need to partner a website with a mobile app to maximize marketing opportunities.
Mobile Apps: A Growing Marketing Channel
Following announcements at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the company released updates in IOS10 to further customize 3 of their most popular apps – News, Music, and Maps. Some of the noteworthy upgrades included:
- Apple News now assembles information sections based on the user’s personal reading habits and features subscriptions so people can read full articles from the app
- The Music app features a discovery mix that tailors to the listener’s taste in music, based on their current library
- Apple Maps app now allows individuals to book rides, make payments and includes traffic reports.
Google, a long time competitor with Apple for the title of master of technological innovation, convened at their Google Performance Summit, where they also announced major updates to their Maps app. New updates allow local businesses to advertise on the app providing consumers with special offers and promotions in their local area. Google, therefore, optimizes their mobile app traffic while benefiting their consumers.
Google has always realized the importance of being mobile-first. Last year, they changed their algorithm to motivate companies to make their websites mobile friendly. Google then doubled down this year by announcing that mobile friendly pages will experience a further increase in search ranking and significantly disfavor non-mobile friendly pages.
Companies as big as Apple and Google have noticed how apps are conquering our mobile world. With more than two million apps in the current market, one can see how imperative they can be for an effective mobile strategy.
Dive into the Needs of the Consumer
What’s more convenient than one-touch access to obtain what you need any time you need it? Do you need to find last minute tickets? An app is available. Latest sports updates? There is an app for that too! Mobile search browsers are becoming obsolete with the success of apps. A recent survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers found that 57% of them downloaded apps from their favorite brands. Specifically, 71% of those considered millennials—the largest growing age group and purchasing market—downloaded these apps.
Apps serve as a mobile storefront for businesses thereby increasing revenue generation, brand exposure, and customer acquisition. They offer the ease of searching through a mobile browser without the stress of slow download times and unclear results. With business apps, mobile users gain access to all their favorite brands with added bonuses. App functionality provides consumers with an immediate contact option to communicate with companies. Problems and concerns are taken care of quickly, leaving the consumer satisfied and instantly gratified.
With our society’s dependence on mobile, businesses must adapt to reach and retain their customers. An effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile-friendly website; mobile apps are now a necessity for increased effectiveness and better engagement.
Integrate Apps into your Mobile-First Strategy
Apps serve as a direct marketing tool. Whether consumers are looking for news and updates, receiving a discount or coupon, making a purchase, or contacting a company, they have the benefit of accessing everything on the spot using only their fingertips.
Statistics show Americans spend an average of 4.7 hours daily on their phone. While apps such as Facebook take up the majority of this time, the average user downloads 25 apps on their smartphone. All apps receive equal exposure as the mobile user scrolls through the phone, even when they aren’t used that often. The subconscious exposure is a considerable marketing advantage to companies with an app since the human mind records every image and text it sees.
Think of this exposure as a “Cognitive Marketing” technique. Consumers remember brand faces because they view them every time they open their phones. This constant subconscious visual awareness increases brand recognition that can eventually persuade consumers to open the app. Companies can study relationships between the user and the app itself to refine their mobile marketing strategy when the app is open. This study results in effective communication with clientele, creation of more personalized content and marketing campaigns that guarantee an audience.
People desire personalized content that shows the company cares about their needs. If companies captivate the audience’s emotions, they will remain loyal to the products or services promoted. Once companies achieve this heightened brand awareness through cognitive exposure to their app, the next challenge is finding a way to keep their attention.
Keeping consumers’ attention, however, is typically easier said than done. In Part 2 of The Power of Mobile Apps, find out the best ways for companies to keep their consumers both interested and engaged.