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Mobile Applications: The New Way to Brand Loyalty

2014 is the year of the mobile, right? I think I have heard that line since I started in this industry.

Mobile phones (smart phones in particular) have become such an integrated part of life (with over >65% penetration in Aus) that they should be considered as a mass channel just like TV – and according to Google 29% of smartphone users would rather give up their TV.

But how should advertisers be using mobile?

Since the introduction of smart phones and mobile applications in 07/08 we have seen advertisers trying to crack this medium with different banner sizes, video, social, HTML5 the list goes on. The rise of mobile applications has taken the world by storm with over 35 billion apps being installed onto user’s smartphones and tablet devices.

As an advertiser – we are tasked to make people to watch a piece of content, to increase social engagement’ or to get people to download a branded application. With the increasing amount of time people are spending on their mobile phones there is more opportunity to make this happen.

But when a consumer downloads a branded app this opens up new ways for a brand to engage. It no longer becomes about broadcasting your message and drilling it into a consumers head, but about engaging with potential consumers in a functional and more personal way.

Consumers will offer an exchange of data if the perceived value from a brand application is high. Moving from a passive application – to a 2way engaging application is a brands key to building customer loyalty in the future.

Have a look through your smartphone pages – what is your first non-default application? How many applications have you actually used in the last week?

My first app is TripView and out of 54 apps I have used approx. 6 in the last week.

But my other 48 apps which I haven’t used in the last week are far from dead. They are still serving a purpose. They are still sending my location information, contacts and photos and the brand is still pushing messages to me when it wishes.

This is because I have allowed these applications and brands to access my personal mobile information. They are the brands I know and trust. I value the benefits I receive from using their applications; so allow for data sharing. I am loyal to their brand!

Brands and advertisers need to understand the 3 different types of consumer interaction with mobile applications. Passive, Receive and Full. Understanding the role of each will allow for a better user experience to build the loyalty to a brand.

1/ Passive App interaction – When data access has not been granted by the user. The application therefore lives on the users’ mobile with a closed environment. Typical applications can range from games, mobile extension from developed websites, standard applications etc. These apps, more often than not, will be sitting on one of the last pages of your apps list.

2/Receive only interaction – When limited data access has been granted in the form of ‘push notifications.’ This allows a message/communication to be sent to a user when the brand chooses providing a new platform for marketing communications and can be used to send through relevant & tactical information.

A great example of the use of ‘push notifications’ within apps is the SunSmart App on iOS and Android.

The SunSmart app lets users know when you do and when you don’t need sun protection, making it easier than ever for users to be Sun Smart (pardon the pun)

Users set a default Location to quickly access information for their local home town.

The app also offers a reminder function that alerts the user of their daily sun protection needs, when it’s safe to get some sun for vitamin D and a sunscreen calculator.

iphone commbank3/ Full app interaction (Share & Receive) The true brand loyalists. These consumers love your brand/application and are willing to not only receive ‘push notifications’ but also are willing to share with you their personal information. From photos, contacts, calendar info and even their location. Although once a user has granted access to their personal information they expect more back in return.

The Commonwealth Bank – Property Guide application uses augmented reality and a user’s location to help home buyers tour potential homes and research details ranging from home prices to neighbour-hood property value for 95% of Australian homes.willing to share with you their personal information. From photos, contacts, calendar info and even their location. Although once a user has granted access to their personal information they expect more back in return.

Commonwealth Bank created value by being a utility for the consumer a one-stop-shop for purchasing a property. The bank makes the home shopping decision easier for digital consumers, and empowers them with relevant data.

 

So, in the future, how loyal a user is to a brand will be determined by how much of their personal mobile information they are willing to share with that brand and how much information they are willing to receive.

If a brand application drives users to share their personal data brands will be able to develop deeper consumer insights which will lead to higher user re-engagement, Geo-targeted mobile messaging, Social alerts, Transaction messages and Update alerts.

In the future, brands will house their users’ data to become data warehouses… But that is another blog topic!