Mobile App Ecosystem: Tap Into Audience Attention

4 Marketing Options In The Mobile App Ecosystem

Mobile App EcosystemAmericans spend almost a third of their waking hours on their smartphones! Of this 4.7 hours per day of smartphone time, 88% is spent in mobile apps and 12% is spent on the mobile web according to comScore.

For the astute marketer, this obsession isn’t a surprise. In a contextually relevant world, your marketing must be mobile first.

Whether or not you have (or plan to have) a mobile app, the key marketing question is:

  • How can you tap into the mobile app ecosystem?
    It’s where your audience spends a significant portion of their media time.


Mobile App EcosystemMobile App Ecosystem

Mobile apps account for the lion’s share of mobile usage. As a marketer, you must be present across relevant devices and media entities.

ComScore-Apps Vs Mobile Web

Your target audience has a mobile app inner circle and breaking into it is difficult. US smartphone users accessed 26.7 apps per month in 4Q 2014 according to Nielsen.

Further the usage lines have been staked out: 70+% of the total mobile usage is coming from the top 200 apps.

On average people download 8.8 apps per month.

Mobile App Ecosystem: Average apps used-Nielsen-

Mobile App Ecosystem: Average apps used-Nielsen-

Further, there are 280 million mobile addicts (people who use 60+ apps per day) in 2Q2015, up 59% since 2014 according to Flurry’s App Lifecycle study via Yahoo.

Worldwide Mobile Addicts - Yahoo Advertising

Actionable Mobile App Ecosystem Take-away:

  • Get to know your target audience and their mobile usage habits. This is key to being contextually relevant with your marketing message. Even if you don’t have a mobile app, consider what else is competing for your audience’s time and engagement. Look for potential partnership opportunities.

Improve your mobile app marketing by understanding app usage through out the day.

Mobile app usage changes through out the day. Mobile app usage is greatest in the evening and peaks at 8:00 pm. Note that mobile app usage rises to 60% starting at 6:00 am and remains high until 11:00 pm. App Use Peaks at 8pm — Localytics

News, travel and weather apps peak in the morning when people check the information they need to start their day. People seek the major headlines, travel and weather. These habits have moved from television, radio and newspaper to mobile.

Mobile Apps The Peak in the am — Localytics-1

Business, finance and music apps during the workday. People stay connected to business after work hours. Music provides background sound that’s particularly important in open environments.

  • Don’t underestimate potential for podcasts! 

The 2016 App Marketing Guide — Localytics-1

Evening is me-time for entertainment and social media mobile apps.

Mobile App Usage Peaks at Night — Localytics-1

Actionable Mobile App Marketing Take-away:

  • Understand your mobile app audience’s usage patterns to target in-app content updates and advertising. Your goal is to increase utility and engage.

Mobile app attention is at a premium70+% of apps are kept less than 1 day.

Deliver value to the person downloading your app while staying ahead of substitute app functionality. Your mobile app will be deleted if you don’t.

Perform or die. It’s the Second Moment of Truth.

Average Mobile App Retention Rates - Second Moment of Truth

Average Mobile App Retention Rates – Second Moment of Truth


Actionable Mobile App Marketing Take-away:

  • Create a welcome process to encourage and support first use. This isn’t a new marketing concept.

60% of US smartphone users clean out their apps periodically. They average 18 cleanouts per year. 73% of users clean out their apps due to storage concerns. (Source: Yahoo/Flurry)

Mobile App Deletion Reasons-Chart- Yahoo Advertising Research-1

5 Reasons people delete mobile apps

  1. 55% stop using the app.
  2. 53% find a better app.
  3. 52% get bored.
  4. 46% receive too many ads.
  5. 45% have memory issues.

12 weeks is the average app dormant period before deletion. It’s 11 weeks for Millennials and 19 weeks for Boomers. This difference is attributable to having more expensive phones (ie: more storage) and being less tech savvy. BTW, content apps clock out at 11 weeks.

Actionable Mobile App Marketing Take-away:

  • Get downloaders to use your app ASAP. Competition for your mobile app attention isn’t just your competitors. It’s everything else vying for their attention. If your app isn’t used, functionality is better elsewhere, or they’re bored, it’s gone. Minimize the amount of memory your app consumes.

4 Mobile App Marketing Alternatives

From a marketing perspective, the mobile app ecosystem is expensive and complex. In large part this is attributable to the fact that the top apps control most of the attention. Further, getting your mobile app visibility comes at a hefty price.

Unlike expensive traditional media formats such as television and print, it’s difficult to avoid the app ecosystem since it’s where your audience spends a significant amount of their attention, all day long.

Here are 4 mobile app marketing alternatives that can help you to engage your audience.

1. Build a mobile app that taps into your audience’s existing habits and needs.

Assess why you need an app and how your audience will view and use it.

Determine what your mobile app goals are and are they worth the investment.

Among the elements to consider are mobile app creation, mobile app promotion (pre-launch and after), encouraging mobile app usership and on-going mobile app messaging and updates.

Once your audience has downloaded your mobile app, you’ve got to get them to launch your app 3 times in the first 3 days according to Localytics.

Micro-target your messaging. Like email your messaging has to be relevant and provide value to your audience. 

2. Create an app for a targeted need

Face it—most mobile apps have a limited lifespan. Build your mobile app to fit specific needs that enhance your audience’s experience.

You have to fit into their mental calculation:

  • Is this mobile app download worth my precious time?
  • How will it make my life better or save me time or money?

An event app is a perfect example of a targeted mobile app need.

As the marketer, you’ve got your audience’s contact information and can build excitement around app usage and functionality.

MarketingProfs did this at their 2015 B2B Forum. They mentioned the app at every major session, integrated social media, spotlighted users, and gave away great prizes to participants. A grand prizewinner got a free ticket to the next year.

3. Think inside the mobile app

Take a page from Andrew Davis’s Brandscaping.

Is there an established app you can partner with to create a mutually beneficial outcome?

Just as major television advertisers add product placement to keep their product visible, smart marketers will consider how to create deals that integrate with existing mobile app players.

Understand that these deals require being innovative and testing new waters. Further you must be willing to put up value for your partner.

4. Maximize your marketing reach by advertising on mobile apps, especially social media

Assume you need to pay to get attention. It’s MadMan advertising 101.

While the media landscape continues to change and evolve with new technology and players, marketers still need to pay for visibility.

See other advertisements and their results on the mobile app before jumping in. Check whether dayparting is available.

Test how and where you send mobile app viewers to maximize results, especially with social media apps. Do you need to get people to your social media presence as a step towards purchase?

Based on app usage, assume your ads will wear out faster than other media formats.

The mobile app ecosystem bottom line:

Your audience is spending more and more time on mobile apps. Therefore you must figure out how to tap into this important form of media consumption to get attention for your marketing.

Use one of these four marketing options related to the mobile app ecosystem to be visible.

How are you tapping into the mobile app ecosystem? What type of results are your efforts yielding?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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