Simon Baptist, director of business development at Tune, explains the concept of ‘mobile-best’, and why it’s so important for marketing your brand.
The rise of ‘mobile-first’ companies has changed the way people watch, listen, play and buy. The likes of Uber, Instagram, Tinder and HotelTonight – companies born in a mobile era – disrupted business models and dominated the mobile experience. However, the halcyon days of app discovery are ending, driven by app store saturation and the accompanying cost barrier associated with convincing audiences to download more apps.
It’s not just mobile-first marketers who have noticed that app downloads are slowing. Longstanding brands are feeling the app download pinch too, and are searching for mobile marketing best practices and new ad partners in the hope of jump-starting downloads. The real question they are trying to uncover, though, is this: are the rumours of the ‘death of the app’ true?
If that sounds shocking, it shouldn’t be – we live in times of increasing marketing complexity and noise. Not all is lost, however. There exists a new opportunity to capture attention, streamline engagement and build life-long brand loyalty.
Cutting through the noise
Amidst all the noise, brands need to keep one simple rule in mind: what’s best for your customer is what’s best for your brand. That’s the essence behind the concept of ‘mobile-best’.
Mobile-best is the ability to engage with customers in the most impactful way, be it on the web, mobile web, in app or on other emerging channels. Being mobile-best brings the best of all channels together, while keeping the most ubiquitous and personal computing platform ever created – mobile – at the core of every marketing programme.
Tune is on a mission to help brands become mobile-best. We see ‘mobile’ not just as app, but as web and app together. Apps deliver customer insights, customer engagement and customer share-of-wallet in a direct and powerful way. They also provide instant and real-time updates to your customers on a one-to-one basis. As the top mobile marketer at GameSpot told us, the brand’s app customers are more valuable than top-level customers in its loyalty programme.
But apps alone do not make for successful marketing. Savvy brands like GameSpot use the mobile web as a discovery and new customer acquisition channel, before migrating those customers to the app, which is their retention tool.
The mobile-best reality
Because we’re nearing peak app, it’s not realistic to expect that everyone will install an app for every brand they do business with. In fact, very few will – so your mobile web experience needs to be top notch. In a mobile-best world, the mobile web is for prospects, casual customers and some loyalists, while the app is for loyalty, engagement and retention.
When melded into one cohesive strategy, mobile web and apps cater to different customers’ needs. This is especially true when trying to capitalise on new technology coming our way, such as voice search devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo, connected TVs and chatbots.
A recent Tune report found that Fortune 1000 companies defined as ‘mobile leaders’ had higher valuations than their competitors. Companies that had more than five apps outperformed those that didn’t by 8.5 per cent, while those with over 5,000 mobile customers were ahead by 15.1 per cent. Mobile leaders in the F1000 are also twice as likely to lead in stock price growth.
If you look at many FTSE 100 companies, they’ve been around the block. They make actual, real, physical products. Their products are industrial, B2B or resource-based. And yet, these companies have a modern mindset. They think deeply about technology. They build and deliver modern mobile apps. They ensure their websites work brilliantly on mobile devices. In short, even though they are not mobile-first, they understand mobile-best.
Three tips to be mobile-best
The average UK mobile user spends 66 hours a month browsing the web via a mobile device, yet competition to get that same mobile user to download an app is fierce. There are an estimated 5m mobile apps to choose from, and it’s really difficult to pack amazing purchasing or ad moments into such a small bit of digital real estate.
This is where app search, app store analytics and optimisation play a vital role in winning and keeping mobile users. To win mobile users, you have to win in search first. To crack the top 150 apps in the Google Play store, app marketers need to use 15-25 different search terms to grab enough users. For the iOS App Store, it’s more like 25+ terms to crack the top 150 in a given category. Savvy app marketers use app store optimisation software to carry out keyword analysis, in order to figure out what people are searching for, and then optimise accordingly.
1. Think Organic
Organic traffic is the most valuable traffic because, as intent is high, conversions in app will be high too. There are tools you can use to optimise your titles, keywords and descriptions. You can run experiments using Google or Tune to optimise your design assets. The app store listing should be optimised as much as your web homepage to maximise conversion.
2. Marketing acquisition
Make sure you have an attribution tool to measure the quality and effectiveness of the various channels you use. Make the most of your own assets: website, customer support, social communities and shops. This will give you loyal customers at very low cost. Paid acquisition should look at quality of traffic beyond the install. Did you acquire a potential customer or a pool of dead downloads? There are a lot of partners out there ready to sell you installs at good CPI, but the quality isn’t always there, so be clear about your KPI and optimise, optimise, optimise.
3. Marketing retention
Don’t be fooled: a download does not represent a user or a customer. Engagement and retention are the keys to success, especially when you consider that, just a week after download, two-thirds of potential users don’t come back to the app. App onboarding requires a product tutorial, a CRM push and paid advertising. The goal is to build engagement until that magic moment when customers can’t live without your app.
Our advice to app developers is to make a great app that makes customers’ lives better. If you haven’t done that, then don’t bother marketing it. Once you’ve built something that’s truly great, take a mobile-best approach to marketing it – configure your marketing efforts to catch people in app, in others’ apps that use deep links, or on the mobile web. Ultimately, the goal is to build a connected set of touchpoints with your mobile customers that reinforce how great the app is, and keep them coming back for more.