Today Mobile engagement is the holy grail for many companies. With the amount of time spent on mobile devices often outnumbering the amount of time spent browsing content on desktop computers, being able to engage with this growing audience is vital.
However, this is not something that is always done effectively, through either poor design or a lack of understanding of what people want. This is demonstrated through the number of apps that will never be downloaded, or used only once then ignored. In 2012, of the 1.4 million apps available on Apple's Appstore, 400,000 were not downloaded once.
This is just wasted time and money, an unused app is a useless app.
So what can people do in order to improve their mobile engagement? We believe that there are four key rules that should be followed in order to maximize this:
Do You Need An App?
An app is sometimes like a Ferrari, something that is nice to have and makes you feel flashy, but is unnecessary.
Take Textizen as a prime example of why. They are a company that allows people to text rather than needing to use complex apps. It means that companies can communicate with their customers effectively and get their feedback without needing to develop anything new.
Although the number of smartphones in the world is increasing all he time, the truth is that practically every single mobile device can send and receive text messages. Being able to engage with people on mobile may be as simple as getting them to send you a text message or visa versa.
Mobile engagement is not only about using the internet and complex technologies to get them to look at a website or particular piece of content. It is often about literally engaging with them through their device.
Make It Practical, Not Necessarily Flashy
People need to remember that apps all have one purpose, which is to make somebody’s life simpler. My favourite app, Citymapper, simply shows me the best way to get from one place to another via a selection of transport options. It is simple to use, useful and practical. It does not try to get me to buy tickets through it, like their page or anything more than what I want it for.
Creating an app to simply have something that looks good, is never going to win over new customers or improve your relationship with the ones you already have. Your app needs to give them something, ease of access to something that they would normally need to use a browser to access, look at their bank balance or check the latest news. If it is something they are going to use once then never use again, is it worth their time downloading it and your time in creating it?
Make It Fit For Purpose
Nothing is more frustrating than downloading an app only to find that it doesn’t work for what you need it for. It means that the app that could have improved your relationship with the company has instead damaged it, as the promise of something which is unfulfilled is more damaging that not making the promise at all.
To avoid this, it is essential for companies to fully test their apps to breaking point and make sure that the user interface works. This may mean cutting out the more complex and sometime even the most impressive parts of an app. The most important element of any app is that it does what it needs to do.
It is first about what you can do, then how you can do it.
Focus On Needs, Not Wants
Before looking at the ways that you are looking to improve your mobile engagement, setting out what you need to get from the programme for it to be a success needs to be established.
This is absolutely fundamental to making any programme you have a success and should be the first task undertaken before anything else is planned or implemented. Companies tend to become obsessed with the potential that a programme, app or marketing drive could have rather than the fundamentals of what it must do. If it must drive people to your mobile site, how do you do this? If it is to increase your mobile conversion rate, what are you doing to make it easier for them to do so?
Looking at what makes for the best ROI on any mobile engagement project is essential to starting off a longer term goal in the correct way. It sets the foundation for the more complex operations that you would be looking at as an eventual target.