4 things marketers should consider before launching a mobile app

What do you need to know before developing a mobile app?

Given the fact that mobile development is so popular among enterprises these days, it's not surprising you're interested in releasing an app to engage your target audience.

Digi-Capital, an investment bank focussed on mobile apps and games, estimates the sector will generate more than $70 billion of annual revenue by 2017. In two years, apps built for non-gaming purposes will account for 51 per cent of business revenue.

In light of these figures, you may feel tempted to jump feet first into the mobile arena. However, doing so may not lead to the financial boost you're hoping to achieve. Before hiring HTML5, Objective-C, CSS3 and JavaScript developers, you need to analyse audience behaviour to determine whether they'll actually download your app.

Here are four factors one should consider before moving forward with a mobile campaign:

1. User loyalty is difficult to grasp 

Think of it this way, there are more than a million apps available on Google Play. Out of that huge selection, there's bound to be at least one app that delivers the same or similar function as your own. One of your competitors may have even developed it.

If you app suffers from any faults, no matter how minor they may be, there's a good chance your audience may opt for a better equivalent. A survey of 900 companies conducted by Perfecto Mobile (2014)  found that after one poor experience, the average app user will try a different option. In fact, 44 per cent of defects are found by those who downloaded apps.

Here's what you can do in light of this finding:

  • Make sure your app can function across the most popular operating systems. According to International Data Corporation, Android claimed more than 82 per cent of the smartphone market in Q2 2015.
  • Establish a strong testing environment. That means giving developers enough time and resources needed to assess your app for bugs.

2. Should you make your audience pay? 

Before launching an app, it's crucial to know whether the consumer group demographics you're targeting are willing to pay for it. At the same time, you need to ensure your company will receive a return on investment for your development efforts.

First, analyse what kind of business you're in. If you're an online retailer, it makes sense to release a free-for-download app, because those who use it will proactively search for products. However, if you're delivering a service, a subscription model may be more feasible.

In addition, consider the following insights from the Digital Advertising Alliance's survey (2014) of more than 1,000 adults:

  • 35.7 per cent of respondents favour low-cost apps that come with in-app advertisements
  • Only 8.1 per cent of study participants said they would download a free app again if they had to pay for it
  • Two-thirds of adults claimed they would prefer to control the type of data apps collect to deliver targeted ads.

Take what you will from these figures, but make sure you keep your business model and target audience preferences in mind.

3. Choose the appropriate download campaign 

Somewhat related to the previous consideration, analyse your audience profiles to figure out what sort of mobile app campaign you should launch. Google identified three types of initiatives, each of which appeal to different market segments:

  1. Mobile app installs​ consist of search network, display network and adwords for video campaigns. The goal is to increase app downloads by directing potential users to your app's Google Play or Apple Store page via clickable ads.
  2. Mobile app engagement utilises both search network and display network endeavours. The purpose of this strategy is to encourage activity among current app users.
  3. Ads in mobile apps show ads for your web page through your app. These consist of text and image ads.

Although the first approach aims to increase the number of downloads, the latter two are helpful when you already have users.

What should the ad consist of? Show your audience what they can do with it. Can they manage customer contacts? Save their favourite shoes? Receive coupons for particular services?

4. Provide your customers with something they can't get anywhere else 

This is where your customer data science capabilities come into play. What is it that you can deliver through this app that your patrons cannot receive anywhere else? Refer back to your segments and start with the basics, noting details such as their age, gender, location, income, marital status and so on.

Then, assesses their lifestyles and hobbies. How can your app complement their day-to-day routines? What sort of help will it provide? Answering these questions before discussing the features that make up your app will be a big help to the developers.

To drive the point home: don't commit to developing a mobile app unless you think it will contribute value to your business.

For some companies, spending the capital and labour creating a mobile presence doesn't make sense. Don't feel the need to join the herd if it's migrating in a direction that isn't conducive to enhancing operations.


Building a mobile app for your business?

Equifax can help you understand what aspects of your offer appeal to your target audiences, and adapt your service or product to what your customers want.

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