The modern trends for online socializing and instant convenience have pushed the boundaries of marketing into a new territory. Social media giants have reported a steady rise in app usage year on year, while traditional store-front businesses such as Tesco are increasingly adapting their businesses to meet the app demand. With consumers now spending 85% of their smartphone usage in apps for messaging, GPS, games, and shopping, it is more important than ever for marketers to wise up to the possibilities of effective marketing through apps.
As hardware technology evolves and adapts to consumer demand, the style of marketing must evolve with it. The increasing popularity of tablets and smartwatches demonstrates that consumers prefer integrated, responsive devices with all the practicality of individual apps, rather than traditional clunky web browsing. As screens get smaller, the usual processes for navigation and data entry must adapt to remain effective, this is where apps shine. They provide easy, direct access to the product or service, one-touch convenience, ease of transferability across most interfaces and all without the aid of a mouse!
And it’s not just consumers who are obsessed with apps. Big industry players are starting to take note of the trend towards instant technology, such as Google who are now indexing apps in the same way that they index traditional websites. If a business offers a well-reviewed app along with its product or service, they tend to appear higher in the search engine results than competitors without one. This comes as little surprise, however, as the average adult spends approximately 2.5 hours per day on their smartphones. The trends towards mobile accessibility are clear and are only predicted to continue, as the younger smart-tech generations who are more comfortable with app technology will start to dominate the consumer market. Conversely, companies providing products and services to older generations may be better off focusing on their website, as traditional web browsing using search engines like Google is still the favored way of finding products amongst most seniors.
You only need to look to the exponential rise of brain training apps to understand the gravity of effective app marketing. Now a billion-dollar industry, brain training apps are touted as the best way of getting your mind into shape and restoring memory functions to their former glory. Designed by neuroscientists with a focus on enhancing mental fitness and preventing age-related memory decline, it is understandable that the app's claims appeal to so many. The interesting part is that most of the studies do not test whether the results persist and transfer across into real-life cognitive function. So, technically, the jury is still out on whether the apps are a good way of keeping our intellects sharp.
While this doesn’t mean that business owners should rush out and pour all their resources into app R&D, it is worth noting that traditional websites may be on the way out when it comes to certain technological hardware. With 83% of mobile users saying that a seamless experience across all devices is an important priority, a key to effective marketing is to remember that what works for one device may not translate so well to another. Web browsing on a smartwatch, for instance, is not exactly a match made in heaven. But as anyone who remembers the fiasco of Windows 10 will know, apps have a long way to go before they will work as well as traditional web browsing on a PC interface. For this reason, business owners can rest assured that the app takeover is unlikely to happen overnight, though it’s always good to get a head start on the competition.