In a study published earlier this year by ComScore – “Mobile Future In Focus 2013” a statement was made suggesting that 2013 would be the “year of mobile ” and it would be this year that important changes to the digital landscape will take place – significantly influenced by the rise and popularity of Internet connected mobile devices.
While the mobile arena continues to expand and develop an established landscape of its own, its emergence and integration into the digital and real world is becoming more apparent. For businesses this means new opportunities and for marketing and advertising, new challenges.
Here at FIRST we often get asked by clients whether the mobile space is worth targeting and whether it’s best to enter with a mobile version of their site (site version that displays differently for users on a Smartphone device) or a mobile application (app).
While it’s great these sorts of questions get asked, it’s important first to understand why engaging in the mobile space is important to your business.
Why should you care?
In New Zealand, by and large, mobile devices are becoming more accessible to consumers with a national 44% adoption rate of Smartphones . In addition to this, a recent report published by Compuware suggests that globally – 85% of consumers favour mobile apps over mobile websites . There are many reasons for mobile apps to be favourable – some of which we list below however, it’s important to note, between mobile apps and mobile sites, there are advantages and disadvantages. Deciding on which is best for you will depend on your objectives.
One of the key factors influencing this preference amongst consumers is that mobile apps are considered to be easier and faster to interact with. With this in mind, New Zealand has a growing population of mobile device users, of which a majority will prefer a mobile app over a mobile website.
What are the benefits?
Some of the benefits outlined by mobile users include apps being more convenient, faster, easier to use, and providing a better overall user experience.
In terms of device hardware utilisation, some of the other benefits of a mobile app include utilising the device’s technology such as hardware features. For example, utilising GPS functionality and push notifications to alert customers of your specials and promotions.
Before embarking on any mobile app development and marketing program it’s important to first understand what the purpose(s) of the mobile app will be (e.g. improve ease of purchasing on mobile, increase user engagement with brand, provide useful tools or timely information, etc).
Overall Strategy of Mobile App Development
The goal is to identify needs by reviewing audiences and content. Then work one-by-one through the platform implementations. At FIRST we follow four main steps to achieve business success with mobile app development and marketing.
Which Platform to Choose for Your Mobile App?
This is a major step towards a mobile application development. Based on FIRST’s research, we were able to aggregate a number of data sources to identify average operating system usage in New Zealand (April 2013). The following graph clearly shows that iOS is the winner with 67% visitors to major websites in NZ, followed by Android. People using Windows phones are very limited and other data is comprised of Blackberry, Symbian, Samsung and Sony operating systems. The following data includes usage of tablets as well, so 67% users of iOS include iPods and iPads as well. Similarly, Android devices include tablets that run on the Android platform.
So from the above data, it is clear that developing mobile apps for iOS and Android devices should take first priority. Initially going for iOS app is a good start. But, we can’t really ignore Android, because its market share is increasing every year.
According to a CNET News article, Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy S4 crossed 10 million sales in less than a month’s period and new HTC One reached 5 million sales in its first month (both Android based devices).
Promoting Mobile Apps
This is a crucial step after development of an app. This can be achieved by both offline and digital media. Let’s have a look at a few options in the digital space for marketing a mobile app:
Website / Landing Page – Your Business website is a great asset to promote your app to existing customers. Having an announcement about your app launch and linking this to a landing page will help your site visitors to learn about your mobile app. Have clear instructions about the app on the landing page. For the mobile version of the website, you can consider popup to promote your app downloads.
Blogs / Online Press Releases – Make an announcement with the help of online press releases and bloggers to promote your newly developed application.
Paid Search Marketing – Set up brand campaigns to promote your app in search engines, so that if users search for your brand name and app they will be able to find your website and a link to download the application to their mobile devices. There are many options available with Google AdWords that can be very effective in mobile app marketing. For example; using remarketing to promote your app to people who have recently visited your website.
Display Advertising – Banner advertising with the help of online display networks can also be very effective to promote business apps to masses. This can be achieved with different ad networks, i.e. Google AdWords, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.
Email Newsletter – Send out a link in monthly newsletter to the database of your existing customers and encourage them to try the app.
Social Media – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are powerful tools to promote your app online. Use paid marketing options to boost impressions of your Facebook posts and direct promotion of mobile apps in Facebook news feed.
Mobile Application Performance Tracking
It is very important to understand that how consumers interact with your mobile application. Mobile application analytics will help you to measure audience reach, engagement, retention, conversions, revenue and more. It is great way to know what type of marketing worked for your mobile application. Picking up a good mobile app analytics provider is very important. Choose a provider that can cater your needs as if you have a mobile app for iPhones, iPads, iOS and Android.
Smartphone marketplace is developing at a very fast rate and analytics will also continue to change. So, think and analyse in the beginning about your needs and pick your analytics provider carefully. Moreover, different providers have different types of data tracking capabilities i.e. some are good for games apps and other are good for content delivery apps.
Google Analytics for Mobile Apps
Google Analytics have a function that is available for free to track mobile apps user interaction. In your Google Analytics account, you can setup a new app property for every app you want to track. This provides you with end-to-end measurement of the entire customer journey for apps – from discovery to download through to engagement. Learn more about Google Mobile App Analytics here.
We understand, for many organisations, entering new the mobile space can be tough task to approach. There are options to consider and with it, questions that need to be answered. At FIRST we’ve worked with numbers of organisations at different levels to help achieve their mobile objectives and be part of their success story. Are you interested in knowing more about how a mobile strategy could help your business grow? Speak with FIRST today.
 Mobile Future In Focus 2013. ComScore, 2013.
 Our Mobile Planet: New Zealand – Understanding the Mobile Consumer. Google & Ipsos OTX MediaCT, 2012
 Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites — and the Winner is? Compuware, 2013.