Feel the love

Ruth Manielevitch, Director of Business Development EMEA at Taptica, considers what marketers can learn from Love Island’s hugely successful mobile app strategy.

Whether or not you love or hate the true Marmite of the TV world, Love Island, no one can deny it resulted in enormous commercial success for any brands willing to put in the graft.

Direct sales as a result of partnerships with the show were palpable, with headline sponsor Superdrug reporting a 112 per cent year-on-year rise in sun care sales last week, and Missguided’s sales spiking by 40 per cent during the show, as fashion-lovers swarmed to the app to purchase ensembles worn by contestants. With over three-quarters of the British population using a connected device while watching TV, rising to 93 per cent in the under-25 age group, it was the official Love Island app working in tandem with the show that proved to be the match made in heaven.

Given the show’s 4.4m viewers, and its constant reminders to download the app and vote throughout, it’s no real surprise the app had incredible download rates, but the real challenge for marketers lay in keeping people using the app regularly in between the shows.

And the show perfected the fine art of building and sustaining a mobile audience, with a record-breaking 3m people downloading the programme’s app to follow updates, and even more consumers engaging with content across social media platforms. The app almost became a social network in and of itself, offering a heady mix of exclusive daily content, videos, and shopping that drove traffic and got people talking. As a result, last year the app resulted in 17.5m total content views, 4.6m clickthroughs to sponsored content and £1.5m of in-app merch sales, and this year it’s predicted to be way higher.

So what can other marketers learn from Love Island’s incredible mobile engagement rates?

Quick fling versus long-term romance
ITV tasked the app developers, Monterosa to create an app that would grow daily engagement amongst the younger audience and build higher interaction through exclusive content. As a result, the company developed a number of features that would attract and maintain audiences, offering voting and polls, an eCommerce platform where users could shop the look of the contestants, and access to exclusive photos and videos.

In addition, other brands who were keen to flirt with the young app audience were also able to book ad placements within the news feed, meaning users could further explore exclusive offers, video content and discounts, adding value for both the users and the brands involved. But what was perhaps most effective in keeping people coming back was the fact that the app sent notifications to users, giving them warnings before the show and votes and teasers about what was happening, causing people to reopen and interact with the app even further.

As a result, Mobile Marketing Magazine reported that the average Love Island app user opened the app more than 12 times this season, with an average of eight minutes, nine seconds per session, spent in the app. To put this in the context of other apps, Love Island fans spent seven minutes on WhatsApp; six minutes, 24 seconds on Facebook; and four minutes, one second on Twitter. The app also had more active users (76.2 per cent) than the likes of Uber (60 per cent).

Notifications can act as a highly effective ‘nudge’ for consumers to keep them coming back and experiencing what you have to offer afresh.

Keep the relationship fresh
The Love Island team’s shrewd understanding of its audience, coupled with its ability to tap into timely events with targeted creative, resulted in unparalleled success for its mobile strategy. This year, Love Island ventured slightly away from the traditional marketing route of TV ads, jumping on memes as a way to build engagement. Content of Dr. Alex falling over – cue hilarious GIFs of his doll baby being thrown across the villa – was turned into memes and shared widely, encouraging followers to share the content and create their own.

While a lot of this content was mainly across Love Island’s social channels, the process and idea can be used across all brands’ mobile channels. Brands should be ready to tap into funny, noteworthy cultural moments at a moment’s notice if they’re to be successful. This requires a mix of creativity, technology and round-the-clock monitoring to see what’s trending.

Share special moments together
Another thing Love Island’s marketers were fantastic at was creating shared moments, and providing a collective experience that people could share and enjoy together. Although perhaps easier for a TV show that appears on the same channel at the same time every night (except Saturdays of course), creating shared moments at crucial times is a very successful strategy for mobile campaigns.

If consumers feel like they’re part of a club or group that not everyone is involved with, the experience feels intimate, and they’re more likely to come back for more. Using reminders or creating ad content that invites consumers to be part of a shared experience will encourage users to become involved and continue returning.

Better than soccer
On the day Germany was kicked out of the World Cup, more people tweeted about Eyal and Zara’s dumping from the villa. Whether you love or hate Love Island, it sure is a lesson on how to show your mobile strategy some love.