When you see someone mesmerized by their smartphone, they probably aren't responding to email; it's more likely they're interacting with an app. In fact, we're all becoming more accustomed to clicking apps to get news, receive offers or perform tasks. Apps are the future, and it's time for marketers to get on the apps bandwagon.
According a recent report, "Smartphone Industry Pulse February 2010," by Flurry, a mobile analytics company, 58 new companies are launching iPhone apps each day! But there's no reason this explosion must or should be limited to smartphones. The app phenomenon can and will transform the Web as well.
Online, video transforms static content into something equally or more engaging than an app. An entirely new class of apps is emerging that is video-enabled. According to TechTarget, 72% of IT buyers use video to research IT purchasing decisions. And the numbers are even higher outside of IT. Playing off that interest, video-enabled marketing apps can easily combine the power of video with interactivity to convert prospects at a much higher rate than with traditional tools. And, unlike iPhone apps, you don't need special skills to get started.
2010 will be a big year for video. Today, armed with just a Cisco Flip Camera or Kodak Zi8, a marketer can create a short, video-enabled marketing app with a distinct call to action - such as prompting the viewer to download a free trial or register for a Webinar - that is easily tracked and measured.
So how can marketers get started? It's best to begin with simple programs where you can inexpensively test the effectiveness of video and compare ROI. Companies are already experimenting around three areas: event promotion, customer testimonials and product announcements.
Many companies rely heavily on webinars and events to engage prospects, customers and partners. But attendance at online and live events is down, and companies are looking for ways to capture more interest. In less than an hour, you can tape a host or presenter, add interactivity (including social networking links about the person) and create a short video app to promote the event. Including a video teaser in the webinar invite and event landing page can increase conversion by 30% or more. Post event, the content can be placed in an app and broken into key topic areas with calls to action, making it much more compelling and engaging for the viewer, resulting in further conversions.
Many companies use online customer case studies to validate products and services and support the sales process. But prospects are now inured to text and graphics, which fail to capture authentic insight and enthusiasm. Now, however, it's possible to convey emotion and authenticity through video. Successful digital marketers are deploying video-enabled apps that feature customers telling their stories alongside interactive elements that encourage users to click for more information or learn more about the person speaking. Marketers can create this enhanced experience in hours with calls to action that offer a return on investment significantly higher than standard testimonials achieve today.
Another area where video shines is communicating product announcements in a more compelling and engaging way. Unique to traditional product collateral of the past, especially standard text descriptions seen on most sites, video-enabled apps funnel interest deeper into the organization. By "branching" the video, which gives users control over the experience, it's possible to create a more personalized interaction where the prospect tells a marketer a lot about their interests by how they interact with the video app. So, for an extra hour or so of work by the marketer, a vanilla product announcement is turned into a powerful engagement tool that simultaneously tells a story and pulls prospects in for targeted follow-up and lead-nurturing.