2016 Mobile And App Marketing Trends

Thomas Husson

In November, Forrester released its mobile predictions for 2016, highlighting how mobile will act as a catalyst for business transformation and explaining why the battle for mobile moments will redefine the vendor landscape.

Let’s now take a closer look at how mobile will impact marketing in 2016.

A year ago, Forrester argued that most brands would underinvest in mobile in 2015. This is likely to remain the case this year, since too many marketers still have a narrow view of mobile as a “sub-digital” medium and channel. This is good news for the 20% of marketers who told us they have the budget they need and for the 33% who said they know how to measure mobile ROI. In 2016, this growing minority of leading marketers will start to fully integrate mobile into their marketing strategies. These mature mobile marketers will measure the impact of mobile across channels, see a clear opportunity to differentiate their brands, and increase their investments in mobile initiatives. Here’s what else we expect to happen:

  • Integrating mobile into your marketing strategy will become a key differentiator. While most brands are trying to mobilize their ads, few are going the extra mile: serving their customers in their mobile moments by transforming the entire customer experience. Only those that do go that extra mile will differentiate their brands via mobile. Leaders will also start measuring the impact of mobile on offline channels and will end up allocating up to 20% of their marketing budgets to mobile.
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Five Myths About Mobile Apps

Thomas Husson

Time spent on mobile is skyrocketing. Since about 80% of that time is spent on apps, many marketing leaders have quickly jumped to the conclusion that the only way to reach and engage their customers is through their own branded apps. Wrong! Here are five — often ignored — good reasons for marketing leaders to broaden their mobile approach beyond their own apps:

1.   Branded apps are relevant. Yes, some of them (Starbucks, Nike, and many others) are success stories. But more often than not, branded apps don’t deliver real mobile benefits and engage only a small subset of customers. It's about time marketers connect their apps to their marketing and CRM systems to personalize and contextualize the brand experience. Marketers should launch fewer but smarter apps.

2.   Apps offer real engagement opportunities. Yes, but only for a minority of apps, according to Forrester’s App Engagement Index. Several of the most engaging apps — Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and WhatsApp — either don’t have or only recently introduced mobile advertising offerings. Marketers must identify the overlap between the most engaging apps and the most popular apps among their brand’s customer base. Then they have to mix content and context to tell a story that is relevant to customers in their mobile moments. It will not be about ads but about sparking a conversation instead of broadcasting a marketing message. Marketers should select the most promising partners evolving their apps as marketing platforms.

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With iOS 8, Apple Increases The Value Of Its Ecosystem But Only Marginally Improves App Marketing

Thomas Husson

My colleague Ted Schadler explained here how Apple's iOS 8 focuses on developers building new mobile moments.

Once again, Apple increases the value of its ecosystem and will create more stickiness and loyalty by enabling developers and marketers to build new app experiences. The first building block to tap into the new opportunities that wearables and connected objects are opening up is to create a service ecosystem. That’s the reason we haven't heard any product announcements yesterday.    

From a marketing standpoint, Apple introduced some new App Store features for developers, like app previews and app bundles. Marketers will be able to let users buy multiple games or apps at once and for a discounted price. App listings can now include feature video demonstrations to showcase the value of your app. The new “Explore” tab - including the trending topics and the vertical scrolling - will also facilitate app discovery.

However, in comparison with the great iOS differentiated innovations announced to create new app experiences (e.g., HealthKit, HomeKit, Swift, TouchID, and open APIs), Apple mostly implemented incremental changes to its App Store marketing. Most marketers sill complain about Apple’s black box and the lack of transparency about Apple App Store’s ranking algorithm and ratings and review systems.

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