2016 has seen mobile marketing reach new heights. With more brands now utilising digital technology to reach, engage and retain their mobile-driven customers than ever before. SMS marketing, paid search and mobile apps are meeting these individuals directly on their smart devices. Leading  71% of marketers to believe that mobile is critical to hitting their targets. We’ve seen a number of companies launch brand apps in 2017, but did they get it right?

Mobile apps are particularly popular amongst consumers today. We are spending more time away from TV, radio and print media, and more time in front of their smartphone. It’s been reported that 89% of mobile media time is devoted purely to app usage. Giving brands the opportunity to strategically target their key demographic, and make that all important acquisition.

However, with the mobile app sector set to evolve further in 2017, what are the best practices for brands to follow next year and beyond?

So how can you build successful brand apps in 2017. 

Assess the business need

Many brands will head into 2017 feeling that they need to create a mobile app in order to replicate the success of others, yet this shouldn’t be the approach. As each business and each customer is different it’s important that marketers answer this key question; What is the sole purpose of my app? Is it increasing leads, retaining customers or enhancing brand awareness? Or perhaps all three?

Are you also looking to leverage your app as part of a wider marketing push? Perhaps you’re running a Christmas promotion, a Black Friday sale or a Valentines Day campaign. If so, how can your app successfully integrate with these?

If you can answer these questions and feel that there is a genuine need for creating a brand app, this will ensure that time and resources are well spent going forward.

Build a clear strategy

Like all marketing activity, it’s important that you outline a clear strategy before the big launch. This plan should include a detailed overview of your brand app’s purpose and format, along with specific, measurable goals to gauge its success. Here are some key factors that you should consider:

  • Content – what will the app contain? Will it be video content, interactive games or quizzes?
  • Costs – how much will your app cost to develop?
  • Resources – who will be responsible for overseeing the entire project and managing the app going forward?
  • ROI – how and where will your app achieve a return on investment?
  • Existing marketing – will the app integrate with existing social/PPC/newsletter campaigns? If so, how will this be done?

Building this strategy will also help you pitch your app to the board for funding.

Send push notifications

Marketers view mobile apps as advantageous because they establish a communication platform with consumers like no other form of mobile marketing. Push notifications allow brands to non-invasively grab the attention of their customers even if they haven’t got the app launched, alerting them of deals, updates and other important information.

With 65% of users returning to an app after having push notifications enabled, marketers should consider distributing these as part of their 2017 app campaigns. However, with consumers set to receive more push notifications than ever, it’s important to get the content, timing and message right.

Push notifications allow brands to non-invasively alert their customers

Instant messaging & chatbots

Consumers spend more time on mobile messaging apps than they do any other type. Subsequently, 63.9% of those wish for all brands to be contactable through mobile messaging and chatbots. By integrating this software it will allow brands to:

  • Appeal to the 24/7 consumer
  • Stand out in their respective markets
  • Add a personalised touch
  • Futureproof their businesses

Instant messaging and chatbot technology is growing ever more popular and useful amongst brands today, including Pizza Express’s ‘Shake The Tree!’ Christmas campaign. Therefore it’s important that marketers capitalise on the growing trends, and be there when their customers want them most.

Embed social media

No matter the focus of your brand, incorporating social media is essential to achieving maximum brand exposure on popular online platforms. In December 2016 Apple revealed that the most popular apps on their Store were social media-related, making app integration a no-brainer.

Brand apps must give their users the opportunity to showcase their app activity, whether this is uploading a photograph or confirming their attendance to an event. Much like a status update, consumers are willing to share something with their social media community if it serves true value to them. In turn, this will increase your brand’s reach and also encourage others to download your app.

As consumers become more accustomed to using apps, it’s important that brands get the planning, content and launch right first time round. For marketers, this means taking the time the carefully consider what their consumers want and how a mobile app will cater to their needs. With smartphone adoption rates expected to reach record levels next year, a brand app is a must for those wishing to remain competitive in their respective field, and appeal to today’s mobile-driven society.

If you’d like to speak to us about your brand apps in 2017 then send us an email. Or drop us a message in LiveChat window at the bottom right-hand side of your screen.