How to develop a mobile app that will get used again and again

Which mobile apps work and which miss the mark?

Which mobile apps work and which miss the mark?

Last week I attended Puget Sound AMA’s monthly luncheon where Scott Townsend of Urban Airship spoke about mobile marketing apps.  Here are a few pointers I gleaned from the presentation:

Why should marketers invest in mobile marketing?

  • Mobile is personal – it’s nearly always with you
  • It has a built in payment option
  • Mobile is plugged into our social network
  • And it’s always on – but people not always open to receiving your message

A few points to remember about mobile marketing:

  • In the old days advertisers could get to listeners/viewers through a fairly consolidated channel – any TV will play any channel. Now things are much more fragmented – iphone and android never mix.
  • 60% of mobile time is spent in apps
  • The average app has a one month life soon and are opened, perhaps, twice

Key considerations when developing a mobile app

So how do you move from a one month shelf life for your mobile app and get it opened again and again?  Scott offered up these pointers:

  • Use your app to bring customers closer to your brand (instead of selling them something new).  Ex. Nike plus help runners learn more about their exercise experience and share with friends.
  • Provide personalized news feeds. Ex. ESPN app
  • Create conversions in your thinking.  Ex. Politicians notify constituents when they will be visiting a region and ask questions so they can customize the conversation when they get there
  • Develop an app that pushes notification out to the user so they don’t have to remember to visit.  Ex. Hootsuite notifies you when you have a new mention.
  • Apps must solve a problem for the user (not the brand)

Mobile apps development do’s:

  • Do be personalized. Build in preferences so each use can personalized for them.  What is motivating each user segment?
  • Do use location to your advantage. What patterns lead to interaction with brand?  Go beyond “you are here.”
  • Do send appropriate information to users at the appropriate time. Tell people when it’s time to pay attention.
  • Do deliver information based on preferences.
  • Do experiment with mobile commerce.
  • Do get users to download the app first by offering it free, then sell afterwards through subscriptions and upgrades.
  • Be social.  Have your users engaging with people (friends), not the app.
  • Do measure results.  Download and stars have nothing to do with how people are using the app or how effective it is at selling products.