Looking back on 2010, the only thing to grow faster than the development and download of mobile applications is unfortunately our federal deficit. Most marketers believe that the last thing they need is another media channel to consume their already limited resources. But native apps, especially those for tablets like the iPad, create a very rich opportunity for marketers to engage with consumers.
Let’s be honest, creating emotionally engaging advertising content within the world of the browser is a challenge. Engineers, not marketers, designed today’s web browsers. One of the foremost marketers and designers of our time, however, drove the creation of the iPad. This could be the long awaited mash-up of the best of the web and TV – seamlessly blending interactivity with a beautifully rich, video friendly format :-}
The Numbers Speak For Themselves
Apple’s App store opened in July ’08 with a little over a 1,000 apps. Let’s look at it today, a little over two years later:
Over 250,000 iPhone apps; about 35,000 iPad apps at iTunes (Source: Apple)
- Over 600 new apps added daily (Source: Apple)
- Approximately 70% of apps are paid for by consumers– yes that’s right, consumers are actually paying for digital content in this format (Source: Royal Pingdom)
- Over 2 million iPads were sold in just two months. In Apple’s most recent financial quarter, their best ever based on total revenue, they sold over 4 million iPads. This added $2.7B in incremental revenue or about 13% of Apple’s total revenue. (Source: Adweek’s Digital Hot List)
- The market for tablet apps is expected be over $8 billion within five years (Source: GigaOm)
- Early adopters spend more than 18 hours a week on their iPad (Source: NPD)
And if these numbers weren’t impressive enough, they don’t include apps created for other popular mobile platforms like Android, Symbian or Blackberry, or the fact that the market is about to be flooded with new tablet offerings.
Can You Afford Not To Have Experience Marketing with Apps?
I believe that few marketers can afford to NOT have experience in this growing channel. The combination of the incredible growth of apps with the ability to deliver an emotionally rich interactive experience is a new venue of unparalleled opportunity. Marketers who master this environment early will have a first mover advantage over their competitors and will likely own more of their consumers’ time in this space.
This is not to say this channel will replace any of our other key media channels. Just as radio didn’t kill print, TV didn’t kill radio, and the web didn’t kill TV, apps are not going to kill any other media channel. Apps will likely cannibalize some time from all these channels. Waiting to see “how big” the app trend gets, before getting experience with it, could be a dangerous mistake.
New media devices are reaching a critical consumer mass in increasingly shorter time frames. And because creating meaningful and high performing app content is no easy task, postponing this experience could mean giving your competitors an open invitation to engage with your customers in a space that you aren’t in. As with any new medium, there will be a period of exploration, or trial and error, and many marketers have already started to gain valuable experience with apps. It is much better to learn these lessons when we have less than 10 million iPads in consumer’s hands than when we have 30 or 40 million.
Additionally, consumers are spending more of their digital time inside “walled gardens.” While this is largely being driven by social media, mobile and tablet apps will only add to this. Marketing in a digital walled garden presents several unique challenges for marketers – not the least of which is measurability. This is yet again another reason to obtain some direct experience with this channel.
Some marketers have already embraced this new medium and created some outstanding advertising friendly apps – whether they are branded applications that are marketing vehicles in and of themselves (such as the new apps from The Gap and Victoria’s Secret) or apps that use display advertising as a monetization strategy.
A few of the favorites within our agency, Organic, are:
Cadillac and Coolhunting http://bbh-labs.com/introducing-bbhs-very-first-ipad-app-for-cadillac
The app uses the Cadillac brand to introduce great content to people in an integrated, non-disruptive manner.
Brands Creating Content
This offers a playful and engaging way to look at socks – yes, that right socks. The fact that a cool and engaging app can made for a product like socks speaks volumes about the potential of this medium.
Content to Purchase
Net-A-Porter provides great content and an outstanding selling experience with its dual-view, magazine-style app that flips vertically to bring consumers into the shopping experience.
Content with Utility
Kraft – Big Fork Little Fork http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/big-fork-little-fork/id379783460?mt=8
The app puts Kraft and Epicurious right in the heart of cooking and the family. Big Fork Little Fork is a resource for parents to use in teaching their kids about smart eating habits and have some fun while doing it. The new app is easy to use, has great pictures and contains lots of nutritional information and healthy recipes.
Gibson offers a free app that functions as a metronome or a guitar tuner. Though the company could be viewed as building tools that cannibalize its’ real-life products, it actually enhances the consumer experience. This could go a long way towards developing lasting brand loyalty with their consumers.
In my next installment of this two-part series, I will provide some thoughts on how to create advertising-friendly Tablet applications, the importance of content and insight on how to drive awareness for your apps once they are launched.
Steve Kerho, SVP, Analytics, Media and Market Optimization, Organic