future of media: 10 top tips for mobile apps

Mobile applications are high on every digital marketer’s agenda at the moment. But what exactly are they for and how can you get the most out of them?

Following on from our ten things you absolutely have to know about mobile advertising right now, the IAB has once again collaborated with our mobile council and other IAB members to come up with ten things you absolutely have to know about mobile applications right now.

1. Only do apps when you need more
Compared to browsing, mobile apps offer a richer level of user interaction allowing more complex graphics, media and information to be presented. They also provide a more robust and secure environment for user engagement. But, if you can deliver what you are trying to achieve through a browser you will be able to reach far more consumers.
Jeremy Copp, CEO, Rapid Mobile Media

2. Tell people about your app
Don’t just rely on app stores, you can distribute apps via mobile sites, operators and through multiple ad placements and formats for maximum impact and reach.
Theo Theodorou, EMEA Sales Manager, Mobile Advertising

3. Think further than the iPhone
The iPhone offers fantastic functionality for developers and users alike, and apps developed for the platform are eminently PR-able, and are often shared virally. It has a fast growing user base, and reaches relatively wealthy 25-44 year olds who actively use mobile media very well; but also developing a java version, optimised to work over a wide range of handsets including BlackBerry will give you a far greater potential reach.
Mark Angell, Business Development Director, Marvellous

4. Getting the balance right
There are 2 fundamental balances to achieve. Firstly, business objectives vs user needs-for the application to be effective the business needs must carefully consider the user as well as commercial objectives. Secondly, the three E’s (Engagement, Entertainment and Effectiveness)-functional apps often outlast the usage of entertainment based apps.
Paul Taylor, Strategist & Planner, COI

5. The average app user
There are 8.7 million people who have used a downloaded app in the UK which is 18% of mobile users. 60% of these users are playing games that they have downloaded. The median age of an apps user is 32 years old and 43% are female. 36% of app users own smartphones compared to 15% of the total market.
Alistair Hill, Analyst and Mobile Products, Europe, comScore

6. Brand-building vs sales
Free applications get the most downloads, where as paid-for applications generate revenue. Knowing whether you are branding or selling is a key point when launching your first application.
Ross Butler, Creative, Parrott and Miller

7. Product longevity is essential
Every service needs a roadmap, no matter how basic. Customers will quickly get bored with a uni-functional app which has no new features or capability added over time. By adding functionality as time goes on you can create brand advocacy.
Christian Harris, CEO, Gorilla Box

8. Send them in the right direction
Ads in existing applications are a great place to advertise, but make sure that the destination site is optimised for mobile. If you don’t then you risk low conversion and a poor perception of your brand.
Jonathan Abraham, Brand Sales Director, AdMob

9. Test, Test and Test again
If a customer can access it on their handset it needs to work. If it doesn’t it will do more damage than good to your brand. Invite feedback and always read customer reviews (don’t just ask friends to write them!) to ensure you’re meeting the needs of your consumer.
Oliver Newton, Head of Emerging Platforms, i-level

10. Be on brand
Just like with any form of communication ensure that your app is ‘on brand’. Tone of voice, brand values, message, production values and brand fit are essential in making a great brand app.
Kieron Matthews, Marketing Director, IAB

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