Mobile App Marketing: What You Can Expect in 2016

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Before you take the first sip from your morning coffee cup, chances are that you have already opened 2-3 mobile applications. And who knows, you could be having coffee while reading news on an app or may be this article. In one of our previous articles on shopping micro-moments, we discussed how mobile has taken up the room where all doors open into. It is at the center of all our daily activities.
Also, apps have become a reflection of our lifestyles–a fitness freak’s smartphone would have all the health and fitness apps installed, while an entrepreneur’s smartphone would carry everything from on-the-go presentation maker to scanner to scheduler. A recent survey by Comscore reveals that the number of mobile-only internet users has surpassed that of desktop-only, with more than 50% spending their digital time on mobile apps.
Needless to say, but in the coming days the apps that position themselves as a lifestyle choice rather than a novelty will grab the most spotlight and maximum space in our devices.
Expect a fitness app to include a weather feature that tells the user if it is a good day to go out for a run, or a grocery store integration that could remind him if items from his today’s diet plan are available at the store and could be picked up on the run back home.
Close to 1798 iOS apps are being launched every day on iTunes alone. Imagine the number for free-to-use Android apps. With such massive proliferation of apps, which are mostly replicas of one another, the question arises,
“How to market a mobile app so that it gets the maximum attention, downloads and engagement?”
In this article, we will primarily be focusing on the new ways of discovering apps and how marketers can leverage this information to acquire more users.
What We Can Expect From App Marketers in 2016
Last year, Myntra turned an app-only ecommerce. Why? Because shoppers prefer to spend 86% of their ‘online’ time on a mobile app, rather than on the Internet. An app bypasses the need to go on to the Internet and make a purchase. Further, it allows marketers to hyper-personalize their marketing and customer handling efforts.
If you Google on your mobile for a product that is available on Flipkart, and click on the product’s link, you will find it automatically opening in the app (if it is downloaded) or a link to download it from Google Play in the SERP.
Similar are the expectation of Andrew Hubbard, Founder, SmartAppMarketer, “I think the biggest change in mobile app marketing that we will see in 2016 is a rapid shift towards app discovery outside of the major app stores. At the moment, apps are mostly found by users opening the App Store or Play store on their phone and searching for an app. But with over 1.5m apps in both the Apple App Store & Google Play Store, this has become an inefficient process and does not provide a great user experience.”
Apple has added new APIs in iOS 9 that allow content inside apps to be indexed. That means that iOS 9 can see content inside apps installed on the users’ phones and also inside those apps that they haven’t yet installed. When a user performs a spotlight search on their iOS device, the results can contain content that is inside apps. And better yet, clicking those results can take them to a specific place inside the app.
For example, if the user has a recipe app on their phone and they do a spotlight search for ‘blueberry muffins’, if there is a blueberry muffin recipe inside the recipe app, the recipe will appear in the search results, and clicking that result will open the app at the blueberry muffin recipe. If the user doesn’t have a recipe app on their phone, iOS can also search apps on the app store and show results from inside those apps.
As can be seen from the image above, Google also has similar app indexing and search technology built into Android. In fact, right now 40% of searches performed on Android return app indexed results.
Not just search on mobiles, Google now shows app-indexed results in Google web SERPs too!
This is true for Safari also.
“This has been the main topic covered in almost every mobile focused conference over the past 6 months. Mobile-app content now has the opportunity to rank on Google via mobile search. Businesses are, therefore, having to increase the number of deep links they are building to mobile-app content.
You may also start seeing a lot more mobile-only content, with exclusive offers just for people that arrived via the app on search.” says Tom Bourlet, Digital Marketer, TheStagCompany.
What we saw in 2015 were paid promotions like the one shown in the image below–apps promoted other apps.
We also saw apps coming from the same developers promoting each other, such as Lenovo’s ShareIt promoting CleanIt and CloneIt, and TrueCaller promoting TrueMessenger app.
2016 will mark a major shift in the destination marketers have been using for paid promotions of their applications.
Leeyen Rogers, V.P. (Marketing) of JotForm says, “Mobile apps in 2016 will be targeted more frequently through Instagram. Why? Because Instagram is used on mobile, not typically desktop, which makes it an ideal platform to get people to download your app. All it takes is a simple “download” or “get the app” button.
Additionally, the right people can be targeted for optimization, and you get someone’s complete attention and focus since Instagram shows people 1 post at a time.”
Both emerging and established brands would use Instagram or other social media which are mobile-based to promote their apps.
Sherry Chao, Customer Happiness Officer at Iterable feels, “Mobile app marketers will be reaching out to users in multiple ways–via in-app notifications, push notifications and email–in order to get users to complete desired actions.
Marketers will be designing marketing automation campaigns that will first send a message via in-app notification. If a user does not have the mobile app open, then a push notification will be sent. If the user has the push disabled, then an email will be sent. Using such multi-pronged approach to reach customers in their desired medium of receiving messages will result in the highest engagement.”
DigitalTurbine in their case study explains how they used Zip codes to increase installs of area-specific apps like Uber and Lyft.
With mushrooming of apps based on local businesses like Zopper, FoodPanda, Grofers, BigBasket, etc., geo-targeting will acquire significant ground in marketing as this also allows for region-based personalization.
The point implied is that the in-built features of smartphones, such as iBeacon, NFS, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, etc., would be used extensively to elevate marketing efforts, thus, requiring a major reshuffle in marketing investments.
“Video is become increasingly conspicuous, while Google has also announced you can expect to see video on search ads at some point in 2016. Video usage on mobiles is increasing heavily, however this is all coming from app usage rather than videos present on a mobile website.”, says Tom Bourlet, Digital Marketer, TheStagCompany.
One such example is visible here where Smule is using a video ad on Instagram to promote their app.
Also, carousel ads to explain the features and benefits of your app will lose to high-quality GIF images.
Tactics From 2015 That Will Continue to Rule
Using QR codes for discovery, promotion, downloads and offers.
PPC advertising
App store optimization
Incentivized downloads by tying ups with brands to improve customer experience; for example, Dropbox offered additional cloud space to Samsung users if they installed the app on their mobile device.
Brand-App tie-ups for pre-installation and immediate discovery and engagement; for example, Apple and Samsung’s tie-up with Flipboard.
Key Takeaways
App discovery would not be limited to app stores. So make your apps discoverable at all possible places. Have lots of pages on your apps and turn indexing on for search.
People use apps to survive from the daily grind. So if your apps provides continuous value then users are more likely to stick to it. In fact, 38% of the users are likely to install the app only when it’s essential to do so. However, half of them uninstall it once that task is done.
The easier it is to download, the better it is for marketers.

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