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Mobile App As a Brand Marketing Channel

Benefits Apps Provide to Brands

It’s important for brands to be visible to their customers and follow advertising trends. There are many effective marketing channels for brands: TV, outdoor advertising, endorsements, sponsorship.

Why should brands go mobile?

We live in an age when almost everyone on earth uses a smartphone. According to App Annie’s recent report, the total time spent in apps increased by 50 percent globally from 2016 to 2018, reaching nearly 1350 billion hours per year. In the United States, the average user spends almost three hours a day in mobile applications out of less than four hours a day spent on mobile devices.

First of all, such growth is related to the growth of the mobile audience itself. A lot of experts say that the era of mobile applications is ending and new technologies are replacing apps. Perhaps. But for the moment, apps are far from fading away. Conversely, we’re seeing the growth of mobile app usage. And if you’re still not among those who exploit this platform for marketing, it’s time to think about its effectiveness.

Smartphones are the one niche where you can find everyone in your target audience. Why not use the opportunity to reach your customers with a mobile app?

With mobile apps, brands can enhance their customers’ offline experiences, connect with their loyal audiences, and boost sales. According to a recent report by CodeBroker, 75 percent of consumers will engage more with loyalty programs that provide rewards in a mobile-friendly way. 

Offering rewards via a mobile app ensures this. Brands like Starbucks push out promos through their apps. Customers can download discounts that render well on mobile screens and are easily scanned.

Five major benefits of mobile platforms as marketing tools

1. Increase brand awareness

Marketing agencies are constantly looking for new platforms through which to advertise brands — or at least place logos. Imagine that every time users unlock their phones they see your brand’s logo. By increasing your brand’s visibility, you can increase your customer base.

2. Collect data about users

Since your application (hopefully) solves a problem for your users, they’re more likely to share their data with you. You don’t need to send an email asking users to fill out a form for a bonus. Your application itself is already a bonus, so it’s easier for you to get data about your users’ preferences.

Methods of collecting data depend on the type of app, but there are several basic options:

1. Onboarding. You can collect information about users with a small questionnaire during registration. You might ask questions about age, preferences, habits, and so on.

2. Questionnaires for bonuses. If your application offers discounts, bonuses, and special offers, you can provide these as a reward for completing a small questionnaire.

3. Analysis of in-app behavior. This is the most advanced among powerful ways to collect user data and is the most common method for loyalty apps. When your users make purchases or leave reviews of your products, you can collect data about their behavior, analyze that data, and adjust your brand development strategy based on it. The Starbucks mobile app helps Starbucks collect user data, try out new ideas, and roll out targeted data-driven initiatives. The company’s personalization and customer satisfaction efforts are reaping excellent rewards. As of April 2019, Starbucks boasted 16.8 million active loyalty program members.

3. Increase loyalty

A mobile app for your business is a perfect tool for increasing loyalty. Starbucks is a clear leader in successful brand building through mobile platforms. They’re commonly cited as a perfect example of how a brand can tap into a mobile-app-consuming audience. You can read about how to build a brand loyalty program in our article on designing a successful customer loyalty program like Starbucks, Kohl’s, and Chick-fil-A.

4. Grow your audience

A mobile application can serve as a way to attract new customers. Chipotle spotted the opportunity to attract new customers by means of a delivery service offered in its app. Delivery has helped the company attract and retain new customers who prefer not to go to the restaurant. Thanks to new customers, the company’s digital sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 grew 65.6 percent compared to the same quarter in the previous year and accounted for 12.9 percent of total sales.

5. Increase sales

By making the buying process easier, more convenient, and more intuitive, apps can facilitate the customer experience — which, in turn, improves sales. But an app can increase sales not only by letting customers make purchases through the app itself. 

An app doesn’t need to offer online shopping to be effective. Loyalty programs and additional services, as in the case of Chipotle, can improve sales as well.

Domino’s Pizza had a serious sales issue in the mid-2000s. Their stock hit an all-time low in 2008, going for nearly $3 a share. Today, it’s worth $246. In addition to making improvements in product quality, the company decided to take advantage of digitalization. 

Seeing the market was going mobile, Domino’s took a mobile-first approach. By creating a branded mobile app that provided an extremely responsive experience, Domino’s shifted their business model. The Domino’s app contributed to half of the company’s online sales in 2015, with online sales making up over half of total sales.

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