Kelly McGuigan, Director of Product Marketing, Kenshoo
Learn what it takes to stand out—and profit—in today’s crowded field with these app marketing insights
You’ve created an app—great! Now it’s time to sit back, count the downloads, and smash your business goals. Well…maybe. After all, apps are more popular than ever. As the chart here illustrates, this is the first year that mobile devices outpace TV in terms of time spent. And of the 3 hours and 43 minutes spent on mobile devices, 2 hours and 55 minutes is spent in apps—that’s a whopping 78.4 percent!
Here’s a dose of reality (and it requires slightly butchering a much-loved movie quote): While the “If you build it, they will come” approach might work for attracting bygone ballplayers, it doesn’t when it comes to consumer downloads. There are a few app marketing insights you need to take into account before your developers get to work to make sure you hit it out of the park with your app.
Ten years ago, Apple’s App Store had approximately 500 apps. A company that built an app was a novelty, and many users would download it just to see what it did. These days, there are two million apps in the App Store. Clearly, your customers have a lot of options.
Here’s the good news: if your app provides value, your customers are more likely than ever to use it. According to a recent study, consumers are downloading retailer’s mobile apps at double the rate of years past and conducting more in-app purchases. Specifically, 67% of consumers have downloaded a mobile app from a retailer within the past year. And further research shows that 57% have used a retailer’s app while in the store.
So what’s a brand to do in terms of standing out in a sea of apps? The key is figuring out why audiences would use your app. Or to be perfectly blunt, why they might never use it in the first place. Apps are no longer a novelty and customers are likely to delete apps they never use.
Last year, the Google Arts and Culture app rolled out a new feature to help audiences determine which famous piece of artwork they most resembled. It was a huge hit, with more than five million downloads. However, in the year since the app became a viral smash, it’s worth wondering how many of those five million people kept the app and continued to use it.
About 80% of all app users churn within the first 90 days of downloading a new app. And while, of course, attracting new users to the app should be a priority, studies show that the top 20% of successful companies are the ones that focus on lifetime value, rather than last-touch metrics such as conversions and ROI.
Understanding which customers are actually coming back—and why—is the key to creating an app that adds value and maintains engagement. Dig deep into data in order to see how existing customers are actually using your app.
It’s probably safe to say that those users who un-installed your app did so because they simply stopped using it. Why might that be? Was the scope too narrow? Did you rely on a gimmick to get them to download? Did you stop innovating to keep them coming back for more? That last point is often the heart of the matter. Re-focusing your efforts on creating a customer-centric app that adds value, rather than a brand-focused one, is a smart move.
For example, recently hotel chain Hilton wanted to retool its app to provide more value for its customers. In the process, Hilton realized its brand marketing, digital marketing, and e-commerce teams were not aligned and had competing priorities, resulting in pain points for its app users. By developing an app that combined the objectives of all these teams, the friction was removed. The update resulted in a single, useful app that allows users to select rooms, skip lines, and even unlock doors—and most importantly, a 90+% retention rate. Hilton then went on to partner with companies like Foursquare and Netflix to build location-based recommendations and streaming entertainment right into the Hilton app, to deepen engagement even further.
Whether your brand already has an app or you’re looking to build your first one, these app marketing insights can help ensure you get the most out of this investment.
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