Oct 07, 2013
Sponsored Guest Commentary
There is no question that consumers love their mobile devices and are willing to pay for quality mobile content. App downloads continue to skyrocket with more than 800 apps being downloaded per second at a rate of over 2 billion apps per month in the App Store. And according to the latest forecast by PQ Media, consumer spending on digital media content and technology is expected to grow nearly 12 percent to $1 trillion this year. But it's a congested space, and today's consumers are distracted. If your brand wants a piece of the pie it's crucial to stop thinking like a brand, and instead think like a consumer.
Here are five ways to genuinely connect with your mobile app audience.
1. Understand your mobile audience
First and foremost, it's crucial for a brand to do the appropriate research and truly understand its audience. Tablet and smartphone readers are different than print and web readers. iOS and Android users spend 80 percent of their mobile time within apps, according to Flurry Analytics. Further research from Localytics shows that users are spending less time per session, but launching apps more often, which results in an increase in average daily time spent in apps. This means that people are consuming their app content in shorter bursts more frequently. So what does this mean for your brand's mobile products?
Each morning consumers begin a daily device relay, calling on different devices to perform different tasks. According to IDC Research, 4 out of 5 smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of the day. Tablets are used in the evenings, peaking around 9 p.m., for longer periods of time, while smartphones are used throughout the day in shorter bursts. Have you considered when and why your audience will be consuming your content? Will it be on the train during the morning commute? Or will it be at the end of the workday when they are relaxing at home? What can you offer them in that moment that has worth?
2. Create a product with a smooth user experience
Whether reading on a smartphone or tablet, touchscreen readers want consistency and the ability to be unencumbered when navigating through apps. Though bells and whistles can be tempting when creating your first interactive design, committing to a deliverable structure is key. If everything pops up, spins, and has an audio clip your reader will quickly become nauseous and leave the app. Remember, just because you can do it, does not mean you should.
Designers are more likely to get carried away on the tablet, simply because there's more space to work with. According to Matt Cokeley, Mag+ creative director, "You can't achieve as much graphically on a smartphone. It forces you to keep it simple and make the most of the delivery portal." Create an experience that is easy for readers to understand and keeps them coming back on a daily or weekly basis. New York Magazine does a great job of this by pairing daily content from the web with weekly magazine content. Readers want to come back.
3. Make your app easy to find
Now that you know when and why consumers will download your app, and you've created something that is useful or entertaining with a nice experience, you must make it easy for your audience to find. If you're creating an enterprise app you can privately distribute it to a select audience. But if your app will be in the iTunes App Store, Google Play, or the Amazon App Store, the competition is fierce! Not only are you competing with apps in your category, but also you are competing with Angry Birds, Bejeweled, entertainment apps and many other distractions. Make sure your app name is descriptive, select the right category, and most importantly, be sure to take advantage of keywords when you have the opportunity. Download the Mag+ App Marketing Tips Guide for more information on how to increase the visibility of your app.
4. Use targeted messaging within your app
In-app messaging, if done well, can be an extremely effective tool, and actually enhance the user experience. A push notification announcing a new issue is a great way to invite lapsed readers back into your app. But publishers can do so much more than that with today's technology. Tools like Appboyallow you to observe in-app behavior and create defined customer segments. The more you know about your audience the more you can tailor your messaging. You can, for example, send a special discount offer to all app users that purchase a certain product. A customer who receives a message personalized to him is more likely to respond positively.
5. Ask for feedback
What better way to genuinely connect with your customers than to ask them what they think? You may not like what you hear, but listening to customers is the absolute best way to improve your product. Today's consumers love to comment, like, re-tweet, and make their opinions known. Be one step ahead of them by asking them what they think, and how your brand can make their experience a better one.