06-Aug-2012 15:55:10
by Josh

Direct Marketing for Mobile Apps

Direct Marketing for Mobile Apps

To me, smartphones have changed the way advertising operates. It turns every advert, no matter where, into an instantly actionable engagement with a brand.

Whether it’s Nike using a hashtag to encourage the public to #makeitcount, or charities looking for instant donations via text; if an advert is in a newspaper, billboard or on TV you’re guaranteed to have your mobile with you there and then to respond.

If you’re promoting a mobile utility, the fact that an advert can be responded to in the moment brings up an even greater opportunity. Can you convert a person whilst they’re looking at your advert?

This is the challenge that Masabi is working with transit agencies to answer. If you’re standing in a queue for a ticket, for example, and it’s communicated that you may never need to wait in line again, will you take out your mobile, download an app and change your broken behaviour permanently?

You will if it’s communicated correctly. To get it right, these are the must-haves of direct response mobile app marketing.

The Benefits

Your product may have great features, but what does that mean to me? How will it satisfy me – fix a problem I have, make me better, faster, stronger?

The ability to buy tickets on your mobile is a feature; the fact that it can help you avoid queues forever is a benefit that resonates with everyone.

The Call to Action

Clear, concise and immediately actionable. Your call to action is an instruction that should communicate how to acquire and take advantage of your product.

A smartphone is a creative call to action tool. Users have a wealth of options available to them to action your instruction – so which to use?

Text response
The one response mechanism that my Mum could use, text messaging is ubiquitous amongst mobile users. Texting a ‘keyword’ to a ‘shortcode’ delivers an SMS back to the user with a link to access your product. It’s used everywhere from TV quizzes to radio conversations; here’s an example of how best to message it:

Never queue again with mobile ticketing
Text NEVER to 88888

A few rules there

  1. Try to make the keyword relate to the benefit, making it memorable.
  2. Keep the keyword simple. Mobile’s can still be fiddly, so you want to avoid any misspells or auto-corrects to the wrong word.
  3. The format here is tried and tested. Put the keyword in caps and along with the number make them bigger and bolder with ‘Text’ and ‘to’ smaller. My trial and error hopefully means you avoid the pitfalls of people writing the full sentence, or including quotation marks!

Text response is great for most forms of media, with the exception of not having time to take down or remember the necessary details. In that case, consider…

App Store
If you’re product is an app then the way that most people will discover you is through the app store. It’s certainly where they need to end up so taking users there directly has distinct benefits.

The charts are a competitive though, and their broad categories often make it difficult to be discovered. Furthermore, there are many different app stores – iOS App Store, Google Play, Windows Marketplace, Blackberry App World and more, so you need to communicate where your app is found.

I’d follow one or both of the following;

  • App Store icons – This is pretty simple - create a graphic showing the icons for the app stores you support. This indicates you need to visit an app store to download, and if you have a good range of compatibility then indicates it’s ‘not just for iPhone’ as many are.
  • Search for… - Telling your users what to search for works well as an instruction, the core principle of a call to action and helps avoid errors. It also means customers don’t need to scour the charts to find you.

Let’s start with the statistics. In late 2011, 64% of UK consumers didn’t know what a QR code was – that’s a pretty significant part of the market that you will be excluding by having a QR code as your call to action.

That said, 19% of people have scanned a QR code – nearly 1 in 5. If your advert received that level of engagement alone you would be onto a winner!

So – what’s the best thing to do? Use a QR code, sure, but don’t make it your primary call to action and most definitely not the only call to action. They are great indicators of an advert being interactive and capture people’s attention but used on their own you lose too much of the market.

A lot of people choose to send users to their website. If you’re running an advert for a mobile app, this would not be my preference – for those with a smartphone they might as well visit the app store, for those with feature phones it’s a poor experience.

However, for a multi-channel campaign it’s understandable – just make sure you have a mobile optimised website that clearly links to your app, and ideally a short URL to allow for quick input.

Keep it Simple

Much like your mobile app, your advert must be simple. Focus on one primary benefit and one primary call to action, with up to two benefits and call’s to action in reserve.

Finally, ensure your direct response mobile app advert is somewhere with reception to allow users to connect and download instantly.

Written by Josh

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