“There’s an app for that.” Five years later, the slogan used by Apple to launch the iPhone 3GS is still more than true. Apps are now so important that mobile app development has become a very steady competition.
Apps are a whole new form of engagement; the challenge is to remain relevant and create meaningful experiences for customers. It is vital that you learn how to avoid the most common app marketing mistakes, which often lead to overspending and disappointing results.
With the evolution of mobile devices - last, but not least, the smartwatch - it is now clear that mobile apps are more than just a trend. The prediction that apps would make mobile browsers useless has proved true, as they account now for 86% of the entire time spent on mobile.
Having replaced browsers as the main door to access the Internet, apps show unique capabilities in enabling brands to build relevant connections with digital customers. And they are here to stay.
One the one hand, mobile technology has created a bridge between the physical and digital worlds, allowing a complete customer experience. On the other hand, it has fragmented life into a continuous sequence of micro moments, mediated by digital screens and driven by specific intents.
As a consequence of both forces, the landscape of content consumption and the patterns of purchase behaviors have changed. So deeply that many marketers still can’t give a sense to this transformation.
In a few short years apps have become our favorite tool for all activities: reading the news, watching a video, sharing experiences and opinions on social media, finding the best deals and buying our favorite products.
Simply put, stores are so crowded that there is an app for everything. But mobile marketing is still far from being used to the full potential. It is the old story: customers evolve faster than brands do.
While omnichannel, cross-device and digital-first are not arcane and obscure terms anymore, too many businesses still don’t get the point of app marketing. They feel they need an app to complete their mobile strategy, but they lack a clear vision.
Just developing a mobile app will not automatically guarantee you success. And even having it downloaded and installed on users’ phones means nothing, if they don’t use it. Remember that the average app user has 36 apps installed, and 25% of apps are never used.
As a marketer, mobile is a very powerful opportunity for you to connect with your customers and foster engagement. However, since few apps get the highest share of attention (only 26% are used daily), mistakes can be overly harmful.
Here we have tracked down the 5 most common app marketing mistakes, to understand how you can avoid them and recover from troubles.
BUILD WITHOUT A MARKETING PLAN
This is mistake ‘level zero’. In 2017, app downloads will hit 108 billion, but this number doesn’t mean you will reach thousands like magic. How can you be sure that your app will survive the competition? By developing a proper marketing plan to launch it and assist it across all stages of its evolution.
Find a strong reason people should download and use your app. Create a distribution plan, and make it easy to find it online (stores, landing page, advertising, social media). Build a monetization strategy (subscriptions, in-app purchase, ads, freemium).
TREAT MOBILE LIKE DESKTOP
Too many companies develop a mobile experience that is, in fact, a revised (and resized) version of the desktop experience. If you think that you can handle a mobile app this way, then you are on the road to failure. An app is something completely different, in terms of functionalities, UX and customer journey.
Desktop and mobile are distinct marketing tools, distinct worlds. Don’t try to shrink a website down to the small screen of the smartphone, but focus on shaping a great experience. The key to success is to create an app that makes customer’s life easier, with a consistent user experience.
USE THE WEBSITE AS AN APP
One of the worst things you could do is to submit to the stores an app that is not an app at all. It may seem nonsense, but it is something that happens more often than you think; for example in the case of apps that are mere launchers for the mobile version of the branded website. The best way to tell the world that you know nothing about mobile.
App stores are so full of alternatives that customers don’t really need your app. A native app experience is a must-have, not just an option. Publishing an app that has nothing more than webviews communicates that you are there ‘just because’, without a strong reason.
TAKE CUSTOMERS FOR GRANTED
Do you still believe that the number of downloads is the KPI that defines the success of your mobile campaign? Years ago, getting your app installed could have been a great accomplishment in itself. Not now. Today, the download is just the beginning of the story, and taking customers for granted is a risky move you want to avoid at all costs.
One number says it all: Nearly 90% of users discard and uninstall an app because the brand fail to engage them. Never assume that people will come back just because it’s you. Even strong brands fail in the mobile game if they don’t develop a customer engagement plan to improve retention in the medium/long term.
IGNORE CUSTOMER BEHAVIOR
Even when users give you a chance, install your app and use it repeatedly, there is still one link you can’t miss. A branded app is a unique opportunity to listen to your customers, study their behavior and engage them in a two-way communication. And you could never do it if you forget to implement feedback system and analytics dashboard.
We are at the dawn of a new era, marked by the relevance of predictive analytics for marketing purposes. If you understand what people want from your app, you can keep them coming back over and over. How they use your app, and how they navigate it, will tell you whether your customers feel engaged or not.
Mobile apps are an incredibly powerful way to improve customer experience, connect with digital customers and drive your value. To be successful, however, it’s important to plan your marketing efforts carefully so that you can take full advantage of the mobile mind shift.
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