Mobile isn’t working. That’s a bold claim to make, and one not to be taken out of context. Mobile, as a platform, has proved extremely lucrative for many, and the figures that permeate the internet can’t be ignored.
However, there are two sides to every story. While Mobile App Discovery might be rampant and working well, Mobile Stickiness is not proving so effective. Mobile marketing and development is still relatively nascent, given the grand scheme of things. This is a field still looked at with caution by SEO companies and social agencies alike.
As Facebook’s social commerce / platform monetization product manager, Deborah Liu, had to say on mobile app installs: “This has been an offering that has been important to our developers and marketers. We’ve doubled the number of developers using this product. Now it’s being used by businesses and brands. The reason this was called out is that mobile is this huge problem for marketers, users are adopting it at a faster pace than marketers can catch up with … it’s very different than what they’re used to. This is really the early days in mobile engagement and advertising.”
What Do You Mean, Not Working?
Mobile is proving extremely lucrative for some, there’s no denying that. Facebook is case and point for that argument, as 78% of its U.S users are now mobile. There’s also no denying the huge impact that Facebook’s Mobile App Installs have had recently, driving over 145 million app installs from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
That’s not in question here, the problem, lies with stickiness. Stickiness is a term usually used to describe a social network’s retention rate. It’s what drives social growth, how often do users log on per day, per week or per month? How many actions do they take when they log on? How long do they stay logged on? These are metrics that no longer only pertain to social marketers, they are now of importance to the SEO company and the small business owner too; mobile is too important to be ignored any longer.
This is the problem facing the majority of companies and brands using mobile apps at the moment. Mobile App Discovery has seen great developments, but what happens after your app is downloaded and then shelved, never to be used again?
According to Localytics, one of Facebook’s Mobile Measurement partners, 66% of apps are only used between 1 and 10 times, ever. What does this mean? It means that the lion’s share of people producing apps still don’t know how to monetize their app. From a monetization stand point, having someone use your app once is far from great.
What’s The Bigger Picture Here?
The whole point of creating a mobile app in the first place, is to elicit a return on investment. Return on investment might not be the right word to use here, so I’ll use it loosely. Only a small fraction of mobile apps will be looking to drive purchases, the goal of many apps might be to encourage users to consume content, to play a game, to listen to music, or watch a video.
Whatever the goal in mind, the point is, this goal is still not being met by a huge chunk of apps out there on the market. The problem can’t be dumped on discovery anymore, as the figures show Facebook has been making leaps and bounds in that area, with their Mobile App Install ads driving over 145 million app installs.
The problem lies with stickiness, as discussed above. Facebook has been aware of this for some time, which is why they’ve recently unveiled their new App Engagement & Conversion strategy, at the forefront of which lies their new Mobile App Engagement CTA’s.
What’s A Mobile App Engagement CTA?
First of all let’s define a call to action. Most social marketers, SEO companies and businesses owners are probably well aware of what a call to action is, but it can’t hurt to refresh. A call to action is exactly what it sounds like; it’s asking someone to take an action. This might be to click on a link, watch a video, or a platform specific action, like ‘share’ a status.
Now to the Mobile App Engagement CTA’s. You might by now be familiar with Facebook’s Mobile App Install Ads, they’ve been around for some time now. You might have seen them previously but been unsure of what they were, or of their purpose. These little adverts appear in your mobile Facebook news feed, and are advertisements to prompt you to download an app, as shown below. These ads, I think it’s safe to say, are what has prompted the big increase in mobile app installs through Facebook.
Mobile App Engagement CTA’s are effectively the missing piece of the puzzle. The Mobile App Install ad prompted a surge in app discovery and installs, the engagement calls to action have been introduced to now follow up and monetize those installs.
These CTA’s are extremely powerful, as they allow brands to deep link users into their app direct from Facebook. Even from a search perspective, this is something that needs to be looked at. Google+ has become increasingly important for the SEO company as of late, this new development is too lucrative to ignore, especially with the rise of local search and much of this being done on mobile devices.
Facebook has rolled out 7 custom CTA’s, below are some examples cited by Facebook on their developers page, probably because they believe these will be the most widely adopted and most successful:
- Shop Now – A retailer advertises a 24-hour sale for purchases made within its mobile app.
- Play Game – A game wants to bring existing players back to its app to play newly updated levels.
- Listen Now – A music app wants to bring listeners to a newly updated playlist.
- Book Now – A travel app wants to promote cheap fares and getaways.
From these four examples, you can immediately see the potential for businesses and brands looking to monetize their mobile apps. If brands can allocate a mobile ad spend to drive increased engagement and retention for their app, they can begin to put dormant apps to work, and not only that, they can begin to bring in some major bucks from their existing apps with increased usage rates.
What’s Next For Mobile?
It’s hard to say at this point what impact this development will have on the bigger picture for mobile and mobile monetization. My personal opinion is that this is a clever move and one that will pay off big time, both for Facebook and the millions of apps out there. It’s now down to the brands and companies behind these mobile apps to determine how best to utilize these new mobile app CTA’s, and only time will tell how well they will be utilized.
What do you think of this new development, and of mobile marketing in general? Will this have significant impact for the 66% of apps still sitting on the shelf? I’d love to hear your feedback, so connect with me on Google+ and share with me your thoughts!