Last week's App Marketing Summit in London brought together representatives from a wide variety of brands with key thought leaders from the mobile marketing world and beyond to explore and discuss the challenges and opportunities available when it comes to native apps.
With the majority of time online now spent in apps, it's more important than ever for a brand to have a presence in the app store. But it's not just about creating an app that suits the needs of your firm and your audience; it's also about making sure your app is downloaded, and remains engaging, transforming one-time users into loyal customers.
If you weren't able to make it to the event, here is a selection of the best gems of wisdom shared.
"A commerce business may want to understand all the different decisions that drove a user to a store; a travel brand may want to know all the adverts and touchpoints that led a person to booking a holiday. Knowing what attribution model is right for your business is half the battle."
"We asked some of our biggest brands about where mobile stands for them, and they all said more or less the same thing: they still treat mobile as its own entity. When it comes to mobile, their key tool is A/B testing different ad sources, different ad creative, and using this data to fuel retargeting. The primary method of attributing on mobile is based on last click. That only gives you part of the story."
Alex Cooper, senior sales manager for the UK at Adjust, began the day by exploring the world of attribution, and how getting a more accurate model of your customers' journeys can open up a world of data, and enable marketers to make more informed decisions about their advertising spend.
"If you're looking at where to go and get customers, the first important thing is geography. Apps are global, even if your business isn't, so you need to look at the entire world. Second thing that's important to understand is your customers, or your competitors' customers, if you want to approach it that way. With apps, you can understand more about your customers than any other marketing channel. If you know what other apps they're using, you can easily build up a picture of who they are."
"App reviews are the most used form of customer feedback, and people aren't just writing about the app there. The information you can harvest from them goes way beyond app design and development. It can inform your entire business strategy if you approach it correctly."
App Annie's territory director for Northern Europe and the Middle East Paul Barnes shared some valuable statistics with the crowd on the power of apps, and explored some of the preconceptions that exist around how apps need to be marketed.
"There are quick wins with ASO (app store optimisation), but you need to choose your strategy carefully. Metadata helps visibility, but optimised creative helps conversions; thing about your business before you start working. Don't just look at this as an acquisition channel. Yes, it's great as an acquisition channel, we can get people to convert and install, but you can also get people to re-engage with the product."
"The app store is not a brand channel, it's a performance channel. By hook or by crook, they've got there, so the important thing is converting them. We look at the app store as a shopping mall; once they're inside, they're going to buy something, so standing out is important. Don't just be wallpaper."
James Bott, founder and CEO of The ASO Co, was our guide to the complex world of app store optimisation, providing valuable guidance on how to make your app perform for you within the unique ecosystem of Apple and Google's app stores.
"Focus on engagement, retention and advocacy. Only 20 per cent of users retain after 90 days, so if you can boost that figure by 30 per cent, you're making every penny you spend on user acquisition 250 per cent more effective."
Founder and CEO of Yodel Mobile Mick Rigby provided his insights into how the rules of app marketing invert much of the commonly held wisdom surrounding digital marketing, and how a focus on user loyalty can pay big dividends when it comes to generating long-term value from your app.
"We've studied 88 different ad networks and as far as I'm concerned, there's not a clean network in the world. If you use Google, Facebook, Snapchat, it doesn't matter - they're still exposed."
"Lots of fraudulent app installs originate in Asia or Russia, but if you're looking at where those campaigns are run, it's a global problem. Games and gambling lose the most money, but as a result they've developed relatively tight controls."
Gary Danks, managing director and founder of Machine, offered a worrying look into the world of app install fraud, and helped the audience understand the need for vigilance when it comes to fighting fraud and minimising the amount of ad spending wasted.
"Being a mobile-only company, we give a lot of importance to the location of users. Wherever you open the app, if you allow us, we know where you are, and we can offer different prices based on where you are. So a hotel may want to target people who are currently at the airport, or may be seeking to get more guests from a specific country."
Our keynote brand speaker was Giovanni Zacchia, engagement marketing manager for EMEA at HotelTonight. He told us how the native features of the company's app provided them with unique insights into customers, and also allowed them to run innovative marketing campaigns that were far more personalised and engaging.