• Advertising
  • Media Consumption & Trends

How Marketers Should Be Using Mobile Apps

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
5 min read
Posted on October 07, 2019
How Marketers Should Be Using Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps are Critical for Understanding, Identifying, Engaging and Acquiring Today’s Consumers

As I’ve already mentioned, today’s consumers are mobile first and mobile centric — and they use apps very differently (and much more frequently) than they use mobile web browsers. But what does this mean for marketers? How can today’s marketers use this knowledge to further their goals? How can they provide their message to the right audience and deliver a great brand experience?

I firmly believe mobile apps can and should be central to helping marketers more effectively understand, identify, engage and acquire mobile consumers. Here’s how.


Using Apps to Understand Consumers

Mobile can yield vast amounts of data — so long as it can be appropriately gleaned. Here are some examples to consider:

  • You can often tell a lot about someone from where they spend their time. For example, people who are often found at airports on Mondays and Thursdays are generally business travelers, while those found at stadiums and arenas on weekends are likely sports fans.
  • When available, knowledge from carrier data can help you truly unlock your customer's DNA. Check out this blog post to see what this data reveals about pizza consumers.
  • Mobile apps can be a great way of getting direct feedback from consumers. This is especially the case with younger consumers, who are much more likely to see and fill out a survey from their phone than they are in person. In fact, both Lenovo and Cars.com have used consumer surveys pushed out through apps to gain a deeper understanding of their audiences and market positions.

Using Apps to Identify the Right Consumers

Mobile apps can be a highly effective way to identify your key audiences using aggregated real-world data. By combining a variety of mobile and app-based data sources, you can easily discover the common traits among people who are actually likely to use your products and/or services.

For example, let’s say you’re a clothing brand looking to grow. Data from mobile and apps can be leveraged to see who visited stores or used related e-commerce apps over the past 30 or 60 days; using that data, you can get a much better sense of what your target audience actually looks like in aggregate.

Using Apps to Engage Consumers

As I’ve previously mentioned, Americans will spend close to three hours a day on average in app in 2019, according to eMarketer. This makes in-app advertising a highly effective medium for running engaging advertising campaigns.

“Advertisers that fail to fully appreciate the power and magnitude of in-app advertising are doing themselves a great disservice,” Anne Frisbie, SVP and GM of North America for InMobi, wrote in Advertising Week 360 last year. “Compared to other modes of advertising, reaching target audiences through apps is uniquely valuable and beneficial, capable of providing significant ROI no matter the brand’s ultimate goals.”

Here are some great examples of how brands have used in-app advertising to effectively engage with their target audiences:

  • Wendy’s leverages in-app video advertising to stay top of mind with consumers between 18 and 49. They have seen great success from this, with video ad completion rates up to 90% and higher.
  • A major financial services brand wanted to increase its awareness in five major U.S. markets - New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami - through in-app brand advertising. Even within these highly targeted and competitive geographies, InMobi beat industry viewability benchmarks by 8%. This provided the financial services company with key peace of mind to ensure that their target customers were indeed seeing their messaging and becoming more familiar with the brand.
  • One of the world’s biggest and most iconic food and beverage companies in the world uses mobile in-app advertising to ensure their brand continues to have a positive perception in the marketplace. Their in-app ad campaigns beat their delivery, viewability and performance goals by 25% or more.

Using Apps to Acquire High-Quality Customers

When it comes to acquiring new customers, there’s a lot to like about mobile apps. Not only can performance marketers use innovative, action-oriented creative like interactive rich media formats, but they can also retarget existing customers or consumers who are on the fence.

Here are some examples of how other brands have successfully turned to mobile apps to acquire new customers:

  • In order to promote a new line of breakfast foods, McDonald’s recently ran an in-app advertising campaign. The creatives first touted the new food items, and then displayed a dynamic map that showed them where the nearest McDonald’s restaurant was located. This helped them boost store visits by 23% and improve overall sales by 4%.
  • A major coffee chain uses in-app advertising to drive target consumers directly to the app stores to download their app. Not only does this help them more easily drive app downloads directly onto mobile devices, but it’s also ideal from a cost perspective since they use partners that only charge them when someone is proven to be a loyal app consumer.


Interested in Learning More About the Mobile-First Nature of Today’s Consumers?

Be sure to check out these resources for additional insights:

About the Author

Richard Thomas is the Head of Brand Marketing, North America at InMobi. He has over 15 years of experience working with some of the world's largest B2B and B2C brands. Richard's advertising and marketing career has been spent building brands by telling their stories across integrated campaigns.

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