Michael Baer's Stratecution Stories

"Strategy is overrated. We have a strategic plan. It's called doing things". – Herb Kelleher

Tag Archives: mobile advertising

The Case For A Branded App: 6 Reasons you should have a mobile app for your brand*

Branded App

Lately, I find marketers ‘getting out of the app business’, saying some combination of the following: consumers have deleted their apps in the past; the effort to deliver valuable content is too difficult; and they would prefer to leverage the scale of someone else’s app.

This isn’t all that surprising. The initial app years were filled with one-dimensional apps that were ‘campaign focused’, not value focused. This taught consumers to download and delete apps in rapid-fire succession. That behavior has lingered, even as apps have evolved – almost one-third of all apps are deleted within one week of downloading.

However, there are many good reasons to create a branded app. And, as Joseph Jaffe said: “If someone doesn’t download your app  — or they don’t use it regularly enough — it’s your fault for not giving them a compelling reason to do so”.

Firstly, 90% of mobile online time is spent in-app. Thus, consumers have learned the mobile web feels like in-app use vs. mobile browser usage. In addition, research shows that apps can build not only revenue (app revenue is projected to be $75 billion by 2017), but also brand trust and long term value.

Here are 6 key reasons Brands should consider creating an app:

  • Create value beyond your product – An MIT study demonstrated the tangible brand value of “benevolent” branded apps. Beyond overt selling, there is an opportunity to stand for something bigger. For example, Kraft’s iFood Assistant provides easy recipes for busy moms – that could include Kraft products or not. In addition, a mobile app can simplify your users’ lives in ways well beyond the product or service. For example – Nationwide’s app provides tools to file a claim in real time, Bank of America allows you to deposit a check with your phone, L’Oreal has AR tools to try on makeup virtually. These may not lead to a direct sale, but they create positive brand equity and sentiment that lead to loyalty and greater lifetime value.
  • A direct line to your consumer. Your app is your opportunity to communicate directly with your best customer. And that alone should encourage you – with the declining value of paid advertising and worries about viewability and ad fraud, connecting directly with your consumers is a huge opportunity. Your app customers are your most engaged customers –capable of engaging and buying more frequently and increasing lifetime value. That’s a direct conversation you want to have.
  • Deliver timely and relevant content. Apps give brands the opportunity to deliver content that is timely, relevant and personalized. What other communication channel can do that? Because the content – be it a Push Notification, Geo-fenced notification, or In-App message – is delivered based on what an app owner has done or where they are, it is uniquely personalized and relevant. When used effectively, the ROI can be staggering – and the open rates, click rates and conversion rates are tens to hundreds to even thousands of times better than other vehicles.
  • Capture data about your consumers. Having an app enables brands to gain insights into their customers’ lives and journeys. Once opted into, location awareness in an app can generate buyer demographics, geographics, journey mapping, and insights into personas that can not only help you drive conversions, but also improve customer experience and personalize content.
  • Connect the digital world with the real world. As alluded to above, apps provide a connection point between the digital world and the real, brick & mortar world. This gives brands the opportunity to connect with people when they can provide specific and relevant real-world help, from store promotions and sales, to directions, to in-store guidance.
  • Focus on retention, loyalty and lifetime value. When you pick up your phone, you tend to be focused on doing something – answering a question, getting specific information or enjoying a specific entertainment. In this context, generalized interruption is not viewed positively. However, mobile is very good at lower-funnel tactics. An an app fits into this approach perfectly – it’s a channel to connect with those who have already opted into your brand, are likely users, and are open to further engagement.

A branded app may not be the solution for all brands. And having one can be challenging and intensive. But, contrary to what many marketers are thinking of late, the benefits for a brand can be many.

*Originally published in MediaPost’s Marketing Daily 3.22.17

Mobile isn’t just ANOTHER screen…*

When the dawn of mobile media occurred over 10 years ago, the ad industry dubbed mobile phones the “third screen”. There was the TV, computers, and, now, phones. The mobile screen was simply another outlet on which to engage with consumers.

Things have moved full-tilt since then, as the mass adoption of the smartphone has seismically changed all of media, marketing, and information access for consumers and brands alike. Mobile is now most often the first place people search, look things up, and access info. In addition, the reasons, contexts, and ways that people use the mobile screen have evolved to be vastly different than those of other screens.

With all these changes in the media screen eco-system, why are most marketers still approaching mobile as just another screen, and adopting old models of advertising and engagement? This is destined to fail – because it clashes with the fundamental user behaviors and expectations on this newest of screens.

You see, in my opinion, mobile isn’t just a screen:

  1. Mobile is a behavior

People aren’t doing typical web browsing activities on mobile – meaning they aren’t open to clicking away, exploring links or general “serendipity”. Their time is constrained; meaning long copy, elaborate design, and multiple steps are anathema. And, there are many more distractions and complexities due to the real world context – so KISS.

  1. Mobile is an expectation

You expect immediate answers from your smart phone. Who directed that film? How late is this store open? What is the phone number for the restaurant?

You expect the web to be easy and smooth – sites need to load fast, information has to be accessible and readable, and pages need to be designed for size and utility.

And now, consumers have similar expectations of brands on these devices. So why does your mobile site take so long to load? Why is the information I need hard to find? And why is it so hard to find the ‘x’ to close your irrelevant ad that’s interrupting my task?

  1. Mobile is a transaction and tactical

People use mobile to solve and complete specific tasks. And because of this, mobile hates interruption. Which I find ironic, because most advertising on mobile is highly interruptive. If you don’t think that this type of tone-deaf marketing isn’t why a majority of millennials have installed ad-blockers, then you’re as out of touch as your marketing.

  1. Mobile demands relevance

When I see, say, a contact lens ad on TV or the web, I ignore it. But if receive a mobile ad for contact lenses, it feels like an invasion. Due to the intimacy of the device and the amount of personal information and activity that happens on it, there’s an expectation of relevance and individualization. So when marketers choose ‘mass’ over ‘relevance’, they take a big risk of getting it wrong – and earning the enmity of those they are aiming to influence.

The flip side of this danger is the opportunity it presents. Consumers actively seek out relevance and are willing to pay for it with their personal information and data. For example, 61% of smartphone users say they’re more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location (Google/Ipsos, 2015) and 76% of people who opt in to location sharing do so to receive more meaningful content (Salesforce, 2014 Mobile Behavior report). It’s pretty clear that consumers will share their information for relevant value-added offers and information – that respect their time, preferences and actions.

Marketers have finally hailed the ascendance of the mobile screen. So, let’s treat it more than just another screen.

*Originally published in MediaPost’s Marketing Daily 9.13.16

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