Smartphones are as smart as the apps we use in it. Our mobile browsing practices, whether for personal or professional work, are also very much app-dependent. For most of us, the day begins with at least a couple of favorite apps, if not more. You read e-mails on Gmail or Yahoo, send good morning wishes on WhatsApp, check Facebook updates, read news feed, or monitor Fitbit status. Starting then the app-based interactions keep on increasing for rest of the day.
Understanding the App Usage Pattern
According to Nielsen, people spend an average of 30 hours in a month in browsing apps. Whether you want to know something, do something, go somewhere, or buy something, mobile apps are the only go-to options.
But do you use all the apps that you have on your smartphone? You might have installed a dozen of new apps as your friends or colleagues referred you some day. And then you forget the name of those apps because you don’t even need them now.
If I ask how many apps on an average you browse in a day, the answer would be somewhere between 7 and 10 if you are not an app-explorer really! Even if you are app-alcoholic, you might not need more than 15 apps at any particular time. As per a research survey in October 2015, 49% of smartphone app users in the United States use 6 to 10 apps per week. In a recent article (the year 2017) published in TechCrunch, it was reported that people use an average of 9 apps a day and access up to 30 apps a month.
Surprisingly, many of our smartphones have more than 10 to 20 unused apps which we are not even aware of. They just bite your phone memory and internet data. In some cases, people download apps for one-time use and then abandon it forever. A report says, consumers spend 85% of the time on smartphones in apps, but only 5 apps see heavy use. Among the most frequently visited apps, there are Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Yahoo, and some shopping apps. WhatsApp and WeChat are also global leaders in the Instant Messaging (IM) category.
All these statistics boil down to the fact that for a user, apps-installed does not really reflect the app-usage pattern. This is an important food for thought for the commercial app makers.
Here is what they need to investigate:
1. What makes people not only download apps but also use them frequently?
2. Do we really need to dump another app to the app store when there are similar apps already available?
3. How do we make our apps more searchable?
4. Do local apps make better business or going global is a safer option?
5. What defines the value of an app to a user?
6. How to increase the value of an app for repeat usage?
7. Mobile app marketing is simply an advertising medium that creates brand awareness among users. And that’s all. You cannot over-market your apps until people find it simple and really useful. So, as an app marketer, you can only try and enrich the searchability, visibility, approachability, and availability of a mobile app. You can also enhance the engagement factors and vouch for value-driven app marketing messages to the larger audience.
Here is a list of actions you can plan and execute as part of mobile app marketing strategies:
Make Your Apps Search-Friendly
App consumers do not limit their search to the app store when searching for newer and better apps. In fact, only 40% of smartphone users browse for apps in the app store. Though app stores are still popular in terms of searching fitness, music, gaming related apps, they are not the sole source of apps discovery.
The search for new apps can start anytime, may be at the time of watching YouTube video, browsing a website, reading promotional emails or even SMS. For example, a business traveler may look for a pre-paid taxi booking app once arrived at an international airport. He goes to Google and finds a list of local cab agencies offering app-based booking facility. The traveler checks a few options and downloads an app since he or she is a frequent traveler. Such app download stories are prevalent for local apps in the technology, travel, and restaurant category.
Increase App Awareness
As per the trend, 50% of the users download an app based on their search for a solution in Google and other search engines. This makes search ads really popular among app advertisers. This also resulted in app marketers rethink about the app discovery strategies. If the advertisements of your apps appear on the search network, there is a high chance of getting them viewed and downloaded by organic traffic. Since today’s app market is flooded with a multitude of apps, people often consider Google search as a standard practice of finding best-rated apps in the suitable category.
Apart from search-based ads, display and video ads are also quite effective. They can help people discover your apps on popular social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and so on. Mobile ads are a cost-effective way to promote apps on multiple channels.
Focus on Engagement and Re-engagement
Keeping consumers busy at browsing an app is more challenging than making them download it. It is important that you engage them when they really need to use the app. People use an app that makes their daily routine easier and serves a specific purpose. If you launch a retail app, ensure that it has certain exciting features that help a user complete the online shopping journey.
Users also tend to use apps to find information about a business or a product before purchasing. As per the survey reports, customers tend to download an app when they need to complete a purchase. If they don’t find the app easy and safe enough for a financial transaction, either they abandon the app or uninstall it in minutes. In some cases, especially for local service based apps, users uninstall an app after using it for the very first time. They simply move on to a new app and dump it as and when required. So you need to be good at communicating the value and utility of an app to consumers. The more they value its usefulness, the more frequently they use it.
Communicate the Brand Value of an App
Make ads look creative that helps people relate their own story of success. Use short stories and associate them with mobile app marketing messages. Convey the business or personal values clearly so that the app stands out both in the app store and in the consumer’s mindshare.
The app download history and reviews also play an important role in understanding consumers’ app download behavior. It helps when a user researches an app and decides whether to install it or not. This signifies that your app download page in the app store has enough positive reviews and a history of customer usage information. This builds trust and therefore reflects positive experience of using the app.
You can also think of offering discount coupons or exclusive bonus as value addition to your app users. This works best when the app is not being used or recently uninstalled. You can send out notifications about new features added to the app to increase engagement. References from friends, colleagues, and family members also induce users to try out a new app or continue reusing it.
Good marketers, therefore, apply several techniques that help build community-based engagement plan for app users. People tend to use common apps and share their views when in groups (in case of gaming, travel, retail, entertainment, music apps). By using social sentiments or offering specific business values, it is possible to enhance the user experience of an app.
In summary, mobile app marketers should exploit every opportunity to make an app look and work like a time-saving, money-saving, and effort-saving tool available on a smartphone.