The mobile app world can be cruel and unfair. It’s loud, distracted, competitive and costly. Time after time, companies spend tens of thousands of dollars developing their app, including months of personnel time and resources, only to launch the app and see usage rates drastically drop (with alarming attrition rates).
With more than 1 million apps in the Apple App Store and more than 500,000 in Android’s market, the solution for increasing an app’s visibility is one that many marketers pay loads of money to solve.
As of August, Apple iOS phones contained an average of 48 apps per phone, with Android ranking second at 35 apps per store and BlackBerry OS trailing with 15 apps per phone. By 2015, mobile advertising is slated to be a $24 billion industry.
While a strong PR plan can support this effort, marketers face the alarming message that they must build the most engaging app with the coolest and most useful features in order to stand out from the dozens of other apps that a user downloads to their phone or tablet – in fact, there are now more than 100,000 apps for the iPad. Otherwise, the costly process will be nothing more than a wasted investment.
But, there is a silver lining. Companies can now build engaging apps that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, more than doubling their consumers simply by providing terrific content for every mobile platform. Our clients’ apps have been downloaded in more than 100 countries, with user growth doubling monthly by the tens of thousands. We’re not experts, but we’ve figured out basic steps to follow during development and post download:
1. Package marketing and promotion to launch your app: Regardless of the initial “cool” factor or appeal that drew the user to download, you must implement on ongoing plan to not only continue the number or downloads, but sustain and increase the amount of time consumers spend using the app. Without engagement, your app is a virtual pet rock.
2. Understand your target audience and similar apps they’re already using: Think you’re the first to offer a unique app in your industry? Think again. But, piggy backing off of successful trends and tactics is smart, efficient and appreciated by consumers. The mobile coupon industry, for example, is slated to be worth $46 billion by 2016. Jump on the bandwagon.
3. Assign responsibility and empower app managers: Google’s Eric Schmidt said it best – “Put your best people on mobile.” Mobile today is the fastest-growing giant industry on the planet. Why? Because all major digital technologies are headed to mobile – telecoms, computers, the Internet. And, all major media channels are headed to mobile – music, gaming, news, television, advertising. Heck, even money, from coins to banking to credit cards, is headed to a phone near you. This is definitely the “industry of the decade,” and we have only begun.
4. Continually provide relevant and current content: Just as the three tips to a successful restaurant are “location, location, location,” the three tips to a successful app is “relevance, relevance, relevance” (and great functionality and user interface, of course). Mobile influence is similar to social media influence – the sponsor must continually update its content and always provide fresh incentive and reason to users to engage.
5. Study your analytics and adjust accordingly: It’s okay to fail, but learn how to do so quickly. Monitor which features generate the greatest use. What content do users share, what offers and ads to users ignore, which live radio or video streams receive the most attention, etc. Minding the analytics about user engagement with your app will help determine which features need improvement, investment or even deletion.
Diving Into Mobile Without Treading the Waters
As the app industry continues to flourish, marketers must dip their feet in the warm and turbulent mobile waters. While the industry is young, do not be afraid to take chances and test the adoption and use of new features.
As we preach internally: Aim to open a can of mobile “whoop ass,” gain new revenue and users and incentivize your users to access your information and connect with your brand, from anywhere in the world.