Guide to Mobile Apps for Brands – Part 4

You decided to develop a branded mobile app. You conducted your market research. You identified your mobile app strategy. Now, it’s time to market your mobile app and analyze its performance. That’s the topic of Part 4 of the Guide to Mobile Apps for Brands series, and it’s a critical component of ensuring your mobile app has a chance for success.

mobile apps for brandsMarketing Branded Mobile Apps

Before you create a marketing plan for your branded mobile app, you need to understand how people find mobile apps. Jonathan Carson, CEO of Telecom, explains that word-of-mouth is the most common form of discovery for branded mobile apps. Additional factors that are critical to consumers’ decisions to download a branded app are brand affinity and third party endorsements via ratings and reviews. Following are complete stats related to how consumers find branded apps:

  1. Friend/family = 28%
  2. Searching the application store on my phone = 21%
  3. Third party website = 17%
  4. Television ad = 15%
  5. Newspaper/magazine/radio ad = 13%
  6. Apps promoting other apps = 9%
  7. Email tips from my carrier = 6%
  8. Device homepage = 5%
  9. Carrier homepage = 5%
  10. Sync software (iTunes, etc.) = 4%

Therefore, your marketing efforts should focus on the key ways that consumers find branded mobile apps. Remember, a branded mobile app is a product that needs to be marketed just like any other product or service. Even if it’s free, it still requires you to communicate with consumers and help them understand the perceived and real value associated with downloading and using the app. You can’t assume that they understand how great your app is. You have to tell them.

Promotions are a great way to raise awareness and trial of branded mobile apps. Free app days and contests with a social media component offer great opportunities to build buzz and awareness of a new mobile app. For brands, tapping into existing advertising budgets can help spread the word about a mobile app. It’s essential that your mobile app is included in your fully-integrated marketing plan. Your mobile app is a product, but it’s also a marketing tool that offers a unique brand experience.

heineken rugby clubhouse mobile appSponsorships have provided an excellent venue for brands to spread the word about their branded mobile apps. Heineken has had great success sponsoring sporting events and tying Heineken branded mobile apps into live game play. For example, Heineken launched an iPhone app called Heineken Rugby Clubhouse for the Rugby World Cup 2011, an event that the brand sponsored. Game play tied directly into the live match as it happened.

Measuring Branded Mobile App Performance

When you think of measuring the performance of your branded mobile app, tracking the number of app downloads is just the tip of the iceberg. The truly useful data is found below the surface of the water.

Measuring downloads is more useful in evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing efforts than determining whether your mobile app is a success for your brand. That’s because 1 million people could download your app, but if 999,999 use the app once after downloading it and never use it again, all of those downloads are worthless. Unfortunately, research from eMarketer reveals that 63% of mobile marketers don’t measure the performance of their apps beyond the initial download.

Of course, the exception to that statement is people who launch paid mobile apps with a goal to make money off of downloads with no other goals. For brands, that’s not usually the goal. In fact, creating a mobile app simply to make money from paid downloads is a mistake for brands because it inevitably leaves consumers unhappy and creates negative brand buzz.

Therefore, the really interesting information comes after your app has been downloaded in three primary forms of data:

  1. How frequently people use the app (including how many people used it once and never used it again).
  2. How long they use the app each time they open it.
  3. What they do with the app when they use it.

The fourth piece of the performance analysis puzzle is related to conversions. If one of your goals for your branded mobile app is to drive some type of conversion (e.g., sales, leads, inquiries, etc.), then you need to track those conversions, too.

Remember, the most successful mobile apps keep people coming back again and again and offer enough brand utility that people use the app for more than a second each time they open it up. When you create your branded mobile app, make sure it’s developed with performance tracking mechanisms in place.

If you missed previous parts of the Guide to Mobile Apps for Brands series, follow the links below to read them now:

Image: Sean MacEntee, Heineken

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.