While marketing apps has been a priority for most businesses over the past decade of the mobile revolution, the coronavirus has brought new attention and opportunities to app developers.
In this edition of The Skai 5, we explore five shifts brought on by COVID-19 that have changed the way brands approach marketing apps.
Mobile App Marketing Shift #1 – More time spent on apps means a bigger opportunity for brands
It hasn’t been a secret that COVID-19 and the cascading impact of global quarantining and sheltering-in-place have increased the time people spend on mobile devices. eMarketer estimates that US adults will spend, on average, more than four hours per day with mobile internet in 2020. With 88% of that time within apps, it is becoming imperative for brands to uplevel their mobile app marketing programs.
From a recent article on ModernRetail.com:
“Best Buy reported during its second-quarter earnings last week that the number of customers who have downloaded its app has doubled compared to the same time last year. Home Depot similarly experienced a record number of app downloads during the second quarter. And Abercrombie & Fitch reported that the number of visits to its app was up 50% year-over-year.”
More people = a bigger opportunity and why marketing apps has become a priority in 2020.
Mobile App Marketing Shift #2 – Food apps surge
As foot traffic to location-based businesses slowed down during the various quarantines, social-distancing, and sheltering-in-place periods, grocery stores and restaurants have had to rely on digital efforts to sell to consumers. This means a shift in the marketing budget from driving people to their locations and a bigger emphasis on getting consumers to websites and install apps.
This is especially true for grocery and food delivery apps. Nearly four out of five (78.7%) consumers reported in a recent survey that they have shopped online for groceries since the COVID-19 outbreak, up 39% from before the pandemic. 56.7% also said that they shop for groceries online more often now than before the pandemic.
More evidence of this acceleration was that Target’s digital sales increased by 275% in April, with some weeks topping seven times the typical volume. And Walmart’s grocery app was the top download among all retail apps downloads in April up 460% vs. its daily average in January 2020.
Many experts predict that this shift in consumer shopping behavior will persist even past the pandemic. As more and more consumers get comfortable with getting their food either delivered or via curbside pickup,
Mobile App Marketing Shift #3 – Some app categories are becoming more competitive
Marketing apps pre-COVID was highly competitive, but as certain app categories become more popular during the pandemic, marketing them effectively will increasingly become more difficult.
- Education apps are on the rise as teachers and parents look to supplement home learning with digital content
- The overall time spent on finance apps increased by 55% in the US in Q1 2020 as consumers looked to find stability during concerns about the economy
- With more time at home, home improvement and DYI apps have been a popular category—Home Depot and Lowe’s showed 195% and 205% increase in their respective app downloads at times during the pandemic
- With gyms and some public parks closed, at-home fitness apps were especially big at the beginning of the crisis
In these categories, marketing apps aren’t going to be as straightforward as they once were. Marketers in these app categories need to step up their games to compete.
Mobile App Marketing Shift #4 – New brands can fast-forward their growth
Brands have to get customers to install, keep, and use their apps on their mobile devices. And even when a brand is already well established in its industry, there’s no guarantee that’s enough to compete and compel in the world of mobile.
Hungry challengers know that the app landscape is a much more open playing field than the brick and mortar retail space and sometimes bank their entire growth strategy on app adoption first. If they can get consumers to use their app, the business can branch out from there—so app marketing is not just a best practice, but a core strategy.
With more people downloading and using apps at this time, the opportunity for new brands to fast-track their success via the app channel during COVID-19 is a real trend. For challenger brands, this is an opportunity they must try to maximize—for category leaders, this is a threat to their dominance and they should combat these rivals with their own up-leveled app marketing program.
Mobile App Marketing Shift #5 – With more app customers, marketers will need put more focus on monetizing them
Getting a consumer to download your app is one thing, but getting them to actually use it is another. While COVID-19 has driven more people to the mobile web, having more installs—generally the primary goal of marketing apps—is just the start. With most apps relying on in-app transactions to be profitable, driving engagement and usage must be an important focus.
“The average app loses 77% of its DAUs [daily average users] within the first 3 days after the install. Within 30 days, it’s lost 90% of DAUs. Within 90 days, it’s over 95%. Stunning. The other way to say this is that the average app mostly loses its entire user base within a few months, which is why of the >1.5 million apps in the Google Play store, only a few thousand sustain meaningful traffic.”
So, of course, if your app doesn’t get used, then it has zero value to your business. Apps shouldn’t be marketed like a product with a one-time sale. Apps should be marketed like a subscription service which knows that it must keep hammering home the value to its audience for repeat purchases or like a restaurant that wants its customers to keep coming back to eat.
Marketers can use channels such as Search and Social advertising to retarget downloaders of their apps with “deep links” that take users to a specific page on a website or a precise location within an app. This can encourage re-installs and app usage. For example, game app marketers can let people know that new characters and playable levels have been recently added. Food delivery and retail apps can promote discounts and deals.
How has COVID-19 shifted your mobile app marketing programs?
Has your app gone from zero to sixty in 2020? Are you finding it hard to keep up?
Skai Apps is the all-in-one, complete solution for app marketers to drive installs & increase engagement. Reach out today to schedule a free and quick demo to see how Skai Apps can help with your Apple Search Ads and other app marketing.