Smart developers understand that selling apps is a serious business. But a raft of research suggests a singular focus on driving downloads is patently flawed. It’s really how well app developers can persuade us to make their app part of our regular routine that will make or break their app business. Winning is all about making the right choices to delight us again and again.
The bottom line: app developers need to work out a strategy to increase engagement, not just downloads. To provide them a blueprint to follow as they take these first critical steps I have produced a new white paper — ap(p)tly titled Achieving App Impact: Using SMS to encourage interaction, drive loyalty (sponsored by Tyntec, a global mobile interaction service provider). CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
When it comes to cultivating and continuing a conversation with people on their personal mobile devices, text messaging is a direct marketing channel that delivers real impact.
Indeed, the vast majority of people open and read text messages within minutes of receiving them. (Mobile Squared/Singlepoint famously reported in 2011 that “about 90 percent of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of their delivery – and over 99 percent of all text messages are read by the recipient.)
Supercharge marketing with SMS
But people aren‘t only reading messages; they are answering a call to action. Internal research from Optism, a mobile marketing solutions provider, reveals the vast majority (59 percent) of people respond to text messages within the first hour of receiving them. Moreover, 41 percent of people responded to text messages within just 10 minutes of receiving the communication.
Text messaging is ubiquitous, universal and widely regarded as the true native language of mobile. It‘s the simplicity, pervasiveness and sheer dominance of text messaging that has made it the world‘s leading data communication tool.
People everywhere on the planet can (and do) use their mobile phones to send and receive text messages. (And you can read some great coverage showing just how much mileage is left in SMS on this must-read destination run by the fantastic Emily Turrettini.)
Today, SMS can reach over 5.4 billion people around the world — over 77 percent of the world‘s population. Veteran mobile author and analyst Tomi Ahonen estimates people sent a whopping 6.1 trillion text messages in 2011, up from 1.8 trillion in 2007.
Meantime, other analysts predict total traffic by 2015 will reach between 9.4 and 11 trillion messages.
But the real power of text messaging is its ability to connect up and amplify other marketing formats. From display banners to push notifications, text messaging is the way to continue an ongoing conversation once you get our attention in the first place. (Even better if marketers get our permission first.)
Reach and reactivate app users
The white paper also recounts the successful app marketing strategy of Qeep, one of the world‘s largest mobile social discovery platforms connecting more than 16 million users in over 200 countries. The app allow community members to meet new friends around the globe, chat, flirt, share photos and play live multiplayer games. (Qeep can be downloaded for free at qeep.mobi or via the Google Play Store.)
Qeep has baked text messaging into its comprehensive app marketing strategy to deliver valuable content, drive traffic to the community website, and reactivate users who haven‘t interacted with the app in while. In this scenario, the user receives a personalized SMS suggesting they check out the new features, for example.
What‘s more, messaging allows BLUE LION to reach out and connect with app users — even if they have deleted the app from their devices. (By way of background, push notifications can deliver a message when the app isn’t opened on the device, but they cannot deliver when the app has been deleted altogether.)
For the white paper I caught up with Christian Schulte, co-founder of BLUE LION mobile GmbH, the company behind Qeep and a winner of the Red Herring 100 Europe Award (recognizing it as one of the best technology startups in Europe). As Christian puts it: “If users used your app, loved your app, and then — for whatever reason — deleted your app, then we see that. Our last attempt to reactivate this user will always be an SMS.”
App marketing & more
Drawing from interviews and research the white paper presents app developers with the 3Rs, key scenarios where text messaging can deliver value — and results. These are Relationship, Recommendation and Reactivation — and you can download the white paper to read more. For more on how app makers can build a serious business (to make serious money) watch this space for more white papers in the series sponsored by Tyntec.
These and other insights will also appear in The Everything Guide to Mobile Apps, a new book slated for release in March 2013 that represents a collaboration between myself, Jennifer Moranz (a top producing marketing executive with deep knowledge of the mobile app ecosystem who currently leads marketing for Crittercism) and an amazing and extensive roster of guest contributors (app practitioners and authorities) including (in no special order):
Andy Bovingdon at Bango, Daniel Appelquist at Blue Via, Yasmina Haryono at Fjord, Jez Harper at Tús Nua Designs, Scott Townsend at Urban Airship, Jack Philbin at Vibes, Sam Chan at WIP, Magnus Jern at Golden Gekko, Asif Khan at the Location Based Marketing Association, Phil Hendrix at immr Gary Schwartz at Impact Mobile, the Mobile Entertainment Forum, Paolo de Santis at Chupa Mobile, Itay Gadot at Inneractive, Akash Sureka at Hoopz, Moshe Vaknin at YouAppi, Matt Lutz at Appclover, Alfred DeRose at Tego Interactive, Martin Wilson at Mobileweb Company, Chris Jones at CodeNgo, Christine Perey at PEREY Research & Consulting, Viki Zabala at Fiksu, Heini Vesander at Blaast, Jonathan Kohl at Kohl Concepts, Inc., Joy Liuzzo at Wave Collapse, Lisa Ciangiulli at Optism, Martin Rugfelt at Expertmaker, Stu Arnott at Mindings, Ryan Morel at Placeplay, James Cooper at Mobyaffiliates, Paul Poutanen at Mob4Hire, Mike Anderson at Chelsea Apps Factory, Matos Kapetenakis at VisionMobile, Linda Daichendt at MTAM, Derek Newell at Jiff, Rob Woodbridge at untetherTV, boomer research expert Suzie Mitchell, Helen Keegan (who needs no introduction!) and social media guru Ken Herron.