Create the application, design the UI, implement code, package, launch – and your mobile app is ready to top the charts in the app store. Not exactly. Despite a few overnight sensations, your app is most likely not going to succeed without a marketing plan developed pre-launch. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said it best - “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. So instead of viewing marketing as a tactic that occurs post app launch, it is best to treat it as the backbone and driver of all aspects of your app development.
According to Gartner, by 2017, mobile apps will generate revenue of more than $77 billion, with more than 268 billion downloads. This presents a striking opportunity for app developers, but with it comes a huge hurdle, as developers must find innovative ways to reach their audience and avoid getting lost amongst the rest. According to CrowdCompass, 80% of clients who properly plan and promote their app receive 80% or higher download rates.
Due to mobile’s rapid growth and mobile users’ ‘take action’ mindset, the mobile channel is ideal for app advertising, particularly advertising that aims to provide value to the user. The ability to provide value to users in innovative and measurable ways is what is driving the success and growth of the mobile channel. However, app developers need to understand how to approach the channel and where the benefits lie. So, how do developers “fill the gap” between their app and the growing mobile channel?
Although the overall goal and benefit of investing in mobile advertising is to drive downloads and/or engagement, mobile marketing can provide additional benefits for your app. Firstly, it encourages you to understand your target audience; who they are, where they are, their online habits, media consumption, and most importantly how they engage with your app. Through this study of your target audience, it provides the ability to drive media that engages instead of disrupts, improve the app based on user’s behaviors, and most importantly it provides a basis for a relationship with your users and an effective channel of communication.
Communication, value, engagement; these are all constructive approaches to marketing your app. Forrester predicts that soon “all mobile marketing will become focused on utility, including in-app advertising”. Therefore mobile advertisers have the responsibility to create not only a memorable and enjoyable experience for users, but also a helpful and effective one as well. Although this may sound challenging, it also cultivates an opportunity for the mobile platform to offer even more innovative methods of reaching consumers through deeply immersive experiences.
One method of advertising that is succeeding at the moment is direct response ads from marketers and developers, which encourages the user to take a specific action, with the most popular action being downloading an app. The benefit of this advertising method is that it goes beyond measuring just clicks and impressions, as the advertiser only pays when the user takes a specified action (ie. downloads the app). Advertisers can take it a step further and run a pay-per-engagement model as well, which focuses on driving engagement post download, therefore requiring the advertiser to pay only if the user takes an action within the app. This is only the beginning of the innovative buying models that can and will arise this year in mobile.
To revert back to filling the gap, there is still something missing – the creative. The creative provides the emotion, the experience, the immersion. It gives advertisers the chance to show their audience what the app can offer and what it is all about. For mobile particularly, the type of creative that is on the rise is video, as it is a powerful and engaging experience for the user, which creates excitement and interest. Through video, advertisers can share a story with the user, letting them know what the app offers, and how the app works before the user even has to touch a button.
With this explosion of the mobile channel, comes an opportunity for revenue and success, but also competitive clutter and failed attempts. Therefore, it is well worth an app developer’s time to create a multi-step marketing approach with all of the above in mind. Mobile marketing is an opportunity to build an app that is driven and improved by data-filled insights and well thought out promotion, and that will ultimately top the charts. Mobile marketing is the opportunity to fill the gap and engage with your customers to develop long lasting relationships, instead of getting lost amongst the rest.