Aug 2 2010
By Priya Ramesh
Your Mobile App is Not Being Used Anymore? Well There is No App for That!
Things to Consider Before Spending Your Money on Mobile Apps
Last week I had the opportunity to join a group of tech-savvy healthcare marketers from some of the largest hospital systems in the country, at the Innovator’s Studio in Chicago. I met some of the smartest minds in healthcare marketing who have taken health communication to a whole new level by embracing the right technology for the right reasons. Thank you Karen Corrigan, Chief Strategy Officer and Carla Bryant, Vice President, Navvis & Company, the creator of Innovator’s Studio for inviting me to join. A good portion of the Innovator’s Studio discussion revolved around Mobile marketing and how smart phones will redefine how we create, distribute and share content. As much as I love technology having spent the last ten years of my career working in hi-tech PR, I switched from Verizon to my iPhone4 only last month. The point I am trying to make is that “Don’t’ just jump into building a mobile app just because thousands of other brands are.” I hope that what I share with you here will help you make a smart decision about your Mobile marketing campaign.
Gartner Predicts Consumers will Spend $6.2B in Mobile App Stores in 2010 BUT that does not mean you need to have a Mobile App: It’s loud and clear that as millions of consumers access information via their smart phones, making your brand visible on iPhone, Android or Blackberry is crucial. But please ask yourself, “What will be the frequency of engagement for my mobile app?” A study from Pinch Media, a company that helps developers track their iPhone apps’ usage found that of the users who download free applications from the App Store, only 20 percent use the app the next day, and far fewer do as the days pass. For paid applications, the return rate is only slightly better: 30 percent of people use the application the day after they buy it. The drop-off rate for paid applications is about as steep as for free applications after the first day. Generally, 1 percent of users who download an application turn into long-term users of it. Are you willing to build an app that doesn’t guarantee a higher frequency of engagement, at least higher than 1 percent?
Apple Dominates the Mobile App Market so Keep the iPhone User in Mind: So you did your research and found out that investing anywhere between $50K-$75K (estimate based on an iPhone app that CRT/tanaka helped build for Del Monte Fresh Produce, prices vary depending on specific requirements) on a Mobile app meets your marketing goals, remember that iPhone is still the smartphone of choice. According to Gartner and numbers reported by Apple, Apple completely owns the mobile apps market, likely grabbing almost every one of the 4.2 billion dollars spent on mobile apps in 2009. A must read if you want to play in the Mobile apps market is the Gartner report “Dataquest Insight: Application Stores; The Revenue Opportunity Beyond the Hype”.
Over 150,000 Apps Competing for Attention. How is yours More Attractive? Ask yourself why would my consumer “Find, Share and Recommend” my mobile app versus the 150,000 apps available out there? The key ingredients for a successful app are: Novelty, Interactivity and Sharability. If you glance through the top ten iPhone apps reviewed by CNET, you will see those three ingredients have been rightly engineered to increase the frequency of engagement. The bigger question is, “Does you mobile app make your consumer’s life easier?” I found this list put together by Ned Potter on ABCNews.com pretty interesting in terms of how some apps can help reduce stress and make your consumers more efficient in how they go about managing their lives.
Gaming, Shopping, Entertainment and Weather Channel Still Rank High in Smartphone Usage: Neilsen’s ‘The State of the Mobile Apps’ shows that smartphones are predominantly used to play games, shop online, check weather conditions and to listen to music or watch videos on YouTube. I don’t blame them. Why would someone keep coming back to your app multiple times after the first download and make it a part of their daily usage? I realize not all apps are meant to be used daily but my point is understand the behavior of a smartphone user and what attracts them to a particular app and try to keep those rules of engagement in mind if and when you launch your mobile app.
Let’s go Mobile but let’s do it right! If you have launched a mobile app and have some do’s and dont’s to share, please leave a comment, we want to learn from your experience.