Media websites are in crisis. A rash of stories over the last few months covering budget cuts and layoffs across some of today’s largest outlets – including Mashable, BuzzFeed and Salon – have highlighted one simple fact: consumer behavior is changing.
At core, it’s not only the rise of ad blocking, but more importantly, the massive transition from an Internet of Websites to an Internet of Things and Mobile Apps world.
While media outlets have been in the news as of late, the impact of this shift is being felt by nearly every brand and across all vertical markets, placing a greater importance on building one’s app presence. Consider the following:
- According to Flurry, time spent on mobile devices was up 117 percent in 2015 compared to 2014
- 78 percent of millennials spend more than two hours each day using their smartphones
- Mobile app usage is accelerating and mobile app store revenue worldwide is projected to grow to $76.5 billion in 2017, according to Statista.
With the spotlight shining so brightly on mobile, how can brands embrace this systemic change and maximize their apps’ success?
Here are some of my top tips to acquire, grow and retain your mobile app download investments:
1. Implement splash screens and smart banners to convert mobile web users
With the growth of mobile search, links to mobile websites offer brands an opportunity to drive app downloads and convert visitors to app users.
Build a strong mobile website and invest in optimizing your mobile site presence. Index your content and design an experience that can encourage and drive users to your app via badges, a splash screen (i.e. “view in the app”) or a smart banner.
2. Give desktop users easy app access
For desktop users, proximately display and promote the app’s value proposition where relevant: top landing pages, contextually-relevant pages tied to feature relevant functionality, registration pages and post-purchase splash pages. In addition, provide functionality to promote greater conversion.
3. Invest in app discovery
App discovery is a major challenge for app publishers. According to Forrester research, 63 percent of apps are discovered through app store searches, requiring a better understanding and investment in App Search Optimization (ASO).
ASO requires an ongoing investment of time to improve your search results. Attention to the title and keywords important to your target audience are critically important to improving your search rankings. In addition, the app icon is your first impression. Make it count by designing an icon that stands out, and is memorable to your target audience.
Invest in encouraging engaged users to rate and review your app to help improve your results, as will the total number of downloads (see tip 5). Consider testing discovery tools such as AppShopper. Last, but not least, invest in app indexing, app linking and deep linking efforts to allow people to find your app easily and move between search results and the app seamlessly.
4. Promote your unique value proposition
Let’s face it, mobile downloads and usages are tied directly to an app’s utility. One of the reasons banking app downloads and usage have skyrocketed can be tied directly to the convenience factor. Why visit a branch when you can take a photo of a check to deposit it in your account via the app or transfer between accounts on the go?
Feature innovation to drive utility and usage is on the rise and being promoted aggressively, be it Walmart’s Savings Catcher or Discover’s “Freeze It” feature, to name a few.
In addition, robust functionality is on the rise. Increasingly, loyalty programs and credit card management capabilities are also being integrated into retail apps in an effort to provider greater utilities and management capabilities for loyal consumers on the go. Some of these unique features also help fuel the viral nature, buzz, and sharing of the app by consumers.
5. Leverage existing media/assets
To increase awareness, downloads and usage, leverage your existing media, communities and digital assets to promote your app and its unique features and benefits.
Use your customer database to better understand customers or prospects who engage with you over multiple channels, such as email, by matching email addresses and tailoring the message accordingly based on the customer profile, behavior, loyalty and activity.
6. Analyze and optimize
Utilize analytics to refine and optimize the app experience and communication relevance including messaging frequency over time. Monitor competitors and proactively conduct surveys and focus groups to help drive innovation and assure your app is consistently meeting the needs of its target consumers.
The shift to mobile is accelerating, requiring brands to aggressively invest in building great mobile experiences and apps. Promoting these unique experiences and encouraging the shift to apps will help marketers to reach and engage their customers at every mobile moment.
Finally, remember to leverage critical data from mobile interaction to inform better, more relevant communications across all channels.
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