With the increasing penetration of mobile, apps are gaining both users and prominence on an almost daily basis. Whereas apps would once have perhaps been considered a niche interest, today people of all ages are downloading and using mobile apps on a regular basis.
EXPONENTIAL MOBILE GROWTH
This trend is reflected in the growth of mobile platforms. By February 2013, they were already 1.5 billion smartphones in the world; no less than one for every five people on the planet. Additionally, the introduction and rapid popularity of the apple iPad created a similar public appetite for tablet computing. The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph recently reported that tablet computing is the fastest growing technology in human history.
Apps have become a massive part of this mobile success story. It has been demonstrated quite emphatically that smartphone owners prefer using apps to mobile browser. It was reported by the IBTimes in 2013 that the downloading of apps on the Android platform had reached a total of over 100 billion globally. With Apple passing the 45 billion download mark for apps at roughly the same time, the overall figure has long since gone beyond 150 billion, and may now even have exceeded 200 billion.
Consumers also tend to pay more attention to apps than mobile websites. But to increase consumers’ loyalty, marketers have to consider their app carefully, and build its content strategically. Adobe’s “Mobile app and content marketing” reports demonstrates the importance of creating an experience with immersive branded content delivered through an app.
INCREASE CONSUMER COMMITMENT
Giving the figures listed above, one can easily add message that Mobile platforms offer companies involved in the tourist industry a great deal of commercial opportunity. However, to take advantage of this opportunity it is important to understand the behaviour of consumers while using mobile platforms, and also what they hope to get out of them.
Consumers now regularly use their mobiles as a tool to help them to plan their holidays, make a variety of decisions before venturing abroad, to compare prices on all elements of a holiday, to read reviews about various locations, hotels and restaurants, and to consult friends and seek their advice via social media. Consequently, marketers need to develop their presence on a variety of mobile channels, and develop personalised communication to suit a range of consumer interests.
Apps can be particular valuable to marketers, as they enable companies to more readily identify with a brand, and thus encourage commitment and loyalty. In fact, 71% of consumers have stated that an app makes them feel significantly better connected to a brand. Within an app, marketers can create a complete brand experience with distinctive content, photos, videos, and games all included with the intention of in communicating the value, identity and ethos of the brand.
PROMOTE THE APP
Developing an app can be an extremely valuable process for any business, but developing it is only the first step. In order to use an app, consumers need to be able to first find and download it. So the number one challenge for marketers is to promote their app and raise awareness about it.
The most basic and cost-effective way to do this to utilise corporate websites and social channels, and newsletters. Viral marketing via social media sites can be extremely effective, and both Facebook and Twitter have recently updated their functionality to include a portfolio of features aimed at helping users build vast contact lists of potential customers.
Social sharing features within an app can also help increase brand awareness, as users can share content to their social networks, and therefore become brand ambassadors. Also, the importance of using targeted keywords and relevant content during the development of an app cannot be overestimated. So-called Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing, often referred to as SEO and SEM, are essential to help your app rate highly in the Google rankings.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MONITORING
To be attractive to consumers, apps have to be user-friendly and content has to be regularly updated. This is especially the case for destination apps, which often require seasonal content, and events promotion which must be kept up-to-date for obvious reasons.
Thus, it is important to monitor the results related to your app and website, and collate and categorise relevant data. This will enable your company to obtain an insight into the actual users of your app, and how the app is actually used by customers. This will assist in the process of improve the feature set of an app, enabling you to make it more user-friendly and relevant for consumers, with relevant content that satisfies your core customer base.
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