Will You Be A Master In The Coming App-Renaissance?

Webster’s defines a renaissance as “a situation or period of time when there is a new interest in something that has not been popular in a long time.” With more defined and relaxed regulatory guidance on apps from the FDA this year, more and more marketers are taking a serious look at the app, ushering in an app-renaissance in 2015. 

Why is this a renaissance you ask? Well, let’s take a look at the current state of the pharma app.

A recent study reviewed every app published by pharma companies globally and then analyzed them by country. They found that of the 725 apps published by pharma that are currently on the market in the U.S., they collectively represent only 1 million total users, averaging less than 1,400 users per app.

In contrast, there are approximately 120 million smartphone-owning adults in the United States. Digitas Health LifeBrands' own research of 4,000+ patients and caregivers over the last two years tells us that the average smartphone owner suffers from approximately 2.4 diagnosed conditions, and up to 60% have at least one app related to one of their conditions on their phone. That’s approximately 72 million smartphone-owning adults who have downloaded an app for their condition who could download an app provided by the company that makes the medicine they are taking.



But how do you become a master in this coming age of the app-renaissance? 

An app can be a very powerful marketing tool if planned and executed properly. There are a few easy steps you should take when planning your app strategy. 

First, we know from our data that the average patient has up to two apps for their condition and that approximately 70% delete the app in three months or less. Does that mean you shouldn’t do an app? Absolutely not. It means that you need to be more strategic about when in their disease and treatment journey you need to reach this patient/caregiver and what problem are you trying to solve. 

  • Are your potential patients under-diagnosed? 
  • Is your patient newly prescribed? 
  • Is your problem longer-term adherence? 

Next, you need to understand your target user’s mobile need at that point in time. You need to know why they picked up their mobile device at that time. Do you know what are they attempting to do for their condition or treatment when they are on that device, where they are when they are using it, and what success looks like for them?

That is just one half of the equation. We know what they need, but this is a business too. You need to determine the brand goals for the mobile engagement. What do you need out of that interaction? You have to map out how the brand will benefit, either today or farther down a pathway of progressive actions. 

Once you have mapped out the strategy and determined that an app is the appropriate strategy, you must now determine what success looks like for your app. Simply tracking downloads and daily opens isn’t enough. Just like websites, apps have pathways and common-use cases. How are you planning to measure them? How will you report back on conversions, retentions or other metrics that will show the app had an impact with your audience and brand?

Apps don’t need to break the budget either. You can confidently deploy smart strategies for apps with less cost and effort than building a mobile web presence in some cases. Regardless of the cost, taking the simple steps outlined above can dramatically increase your chances for mastery of your app efforts and will likely impact other areas of your marketing strategy as a result.

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