Thinking it might be time to create a mobile app for your brand? It’s more important for small businesses than you might think. Beyond that, there’s the option to advertise on mobile apps, both your own and someone else’s. Today, we’ll discuss why you should be spending more time with the mobile app movement.
Mobile Apps: Significant Investment, Great Return Value
It’s safe to say that apps will be a widely used and accepted tool for brands of all sorts in the years to come. According to Clutch’s 2018 Small Business Survey, younger business owners are developing and implementing them at far greater rates than are older business owners, which suggests that apps as a branding feature are here to stay.
Business owners of the Millennial generation specifically are highly likely to offer apps. While Baby Boomer and Generation X business owners do so only 13 and 42 percent (respectively) of the time, 55 percent of Millennial business owners now give their brands mobile apps.
Interestingly, the rate of mobile app adoption by small businesses is stagnant at the moment. For Clutch’s 2017 survey, 25 percent of small businesses reported plans to build an app before 2018, yet the amount of small businesses actually having an app in place is exactly the same as a year ago – 42 percent. Further, 23 percent report plans to build an app before 2019.
Experts aren’t surprised by the flatness of mobile app adoption. For smaller businesses, the cost requirements and employee needs involved can be obstacles, and may not be initially realized.
Still, you may want to consider the benefits of having one, and if those potential benefits align with your business goals.
For example, almost 30 percent of small businesses surveyed by Clutch built apps to attract new customers, which is misguided. Users don’t browse apps, but instead seek them out as particular solutions – which is why advertisers and marketers should concentrate on getting the word out on channels other than the app stores.
One of the best things a mobile app can do is build on existing client relationships with loyalty programs, rewards points and notifications about new deals. Said mobile app developer WillowTree Inc.’s vice president, Woody Zatzinger:
“When I think of a mobile app, companies with a lot of repeat customers benefit the most. If you’re going to have an app that lives ever-present on someone’s phone, it provides businesses with new marketing opportunities to reach out to customers again and again.”
Here are some points to examine as you consider maintaining your own app:
- Would certain touchpoints in your customers’ journeys be enhanced by a mobile app?
- Will an app truly impact your business by boosting sales, customer loyalty, etc.?
- Can you define the success of an app with metrics, such as how many customers will take a particular action after using the app?
- Can you deploy a simple, cheap app version first to delay over-investing in something that might not work out?
Building an app to keep up with competitors or just look good from the outside is not the wise move, Clutch says in closing. Yet, apps developed for the right reasons can go a long way toward growing customer relationships. If you decide to move forward, prepare to make a great investment, and anticipate significant value.
Time to Advertise in Mobile Apps?
Mobile apps aren’t just a place to enhance your brand and relationships with consumers. They’re also a viable option for digital advertising. So, should you start advertising within apps that are relevant to your brand and industry? Let’s dig a little deeper.
First, check out this mobile app advertising guide from Singlegrain. The major takeaway is the big options of owned or paid app advertising.
If your brand has its own app, you can advertise in it. When you own the advertising platform, you have a lot of freedom in every aspect of your advertising. And if you do have an app, you might still want to put some paid app advertising in the mix, as it’s a way to reach new customers (which can be tough, we as mentioned) and reconnect with existing ones.
Before you can benefit from advertising on your own app, you have to get that app installed on users’ devices. Last year we discussed how to Propel Mobile App Growth with Universal App Campaigns (UAC). The idea behind UAC is to simplify app advertising (a very competitive space) by generating ads for a range of platforms and automating targeting and bidding.
Wondering how in-app advertising differs from advertising on the mobile web? Check out this dive into user interactions with apps and the mobile Web to see which is right for you. Spoiler alert: In-app advertising might cost more, but the benefits range from targeting to visibility to conversion rates.
Finally, since we all want our advertising to be effective, read through our post from January on the 2017 Mobile Consumer Index, and learn how to get users to click on ads intentionally.
You have decisions to make about maintaining a mobile app and advertising on your own app or others’. Taking on mobile apps might mean an investment of time, money and people, but it’s likely to be well worth it in the years to come.