Monday, November 7, 2011

Driving Mobile Application Downloads

With iTunes now carrying 225,000 apps in its "curated" collection and Android up to 100,000, it is no wonder that app discovery is a major issue for application developers.  

Undoubtedly, one of the key decisions in launching a successful mobile application is determining how to drive application downloads.

Based on experience launching applications working in several mobile startups, I believe that there are at least six key mobile strategies to consider for driving adoption:

  1. Why is mobile media support needed? 
    • Mobile media support is needed since we need to reach consumers who may already have a mindset or may already be used to certain types of applications (i.e. facebook, twitter, etc). There may also be a need to educate users on issues such as privacy, security,  and so on.
  2. What should be the average marketing spend?
    • As a result of analyzing download trends and media spend across various advertisers, several marketing experts have determined that the minimum mobile media spend is $200,000 over two days to truly make an impact and accelerate measurable downloads.
  3. When should you begin mobile media support? 
    • The day of week apparently matters.  To leverage typical download activity, it is suggested to launch your application and begin supporting it toward the end of the week - on a Thursday or Friday. This is allow you to build on the momentum of the weekend downloads.
  4. How robust should the mobile application be?
    • It is critical to make your application robust because "first impression" matters. If an application frequently crashes or if critical functionality does not work properly, then it is likely that your application may not be subsequently used.  While multiple features such as video, pictures, gaming and maps make for a bigger experience, if consumers cannot download the application and subsequent updates in certain WiFi zones, then it will most likely inhibit downloads.
  5. Which form of advertising is more important: creative or contextual?
    • Based on mobile campaigns with those of digital display, marketing experts have concluded that in mobile media efforts, the banner creative has more of an impact on performance.  However, in online campaigns, contextual is typically more important.
  6. Which mobile devices need to be supported?
    • If you want to maximize coverage, then it is recommended that your application must be cross platform (i.e. must support iOS devices such as iPhone 3, 3GS, 4 and Android devices such as Droid X and/or HTC Evo).  However,  keep in mind that the uber-smartphone market represents less than 20 percent of smartphone penetration.  Therefore, by including all phones that can access the Web, you will not only build scale, but you may also experience higher conversion rates from some of the less sophisticated devices.
Driving application downloads is not the only factor for launching a successful mobile application, but it is certainly an important one.

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