Apps Are Better Than Ads, Hands Down

Apps Are Better Than Ads, Hands Down
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Today’s generation isn’t going to sit around idly during ad breaks, argues Paul Lin, CEO of mobile strategy and app development company Buuna. Companies need to up their app.

We grew up watching the television, dutifully absorbing advertisements between shows. There may have even been that favourite ad we waited for – for me it was the Cottee’s cordial ad from the mid ’90s. However, the kids of today will not patiently wait out multiple ads in the way that we did. They’ll skim past, irritated at the distraction that stands between them and what they’re trying to view. This is the behaviour of a generation raised on mobile.

Estimates of how many advertisements the average urbanite sees per day remain widely debated. Claims range from 35 to a whopping 3,500 ads daily. Whatever the amount, they slide like water off a duck’s back, the odd one sneaking through, permeating our memory. Decades of ingrained filtering have taught us to remain largely unengaged and uninterested.

As companies scramble to find new ways to hook in audiences, the pressure is on to think beyond traditional advertising methods. Apps are a relatively new way to reach audiences and already companies are clambering to develop the next new app sensation – something akin to KFC Snack! in the face, Virgin’s Game of Phones, and even, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app. These are all apps that, unlike ads – are not providing just a mere message, but actual functionality and fun for the user in order to promote in-depth brand awareness and engagement.

With more than 70% of the Australian population now owning a smartphone, advertisers have been slow to catch up, but that won’t remain the case for much longer. The prospect of having a direct and ongoing relationship with an audience is too appealing for businesses to ignore.

While companies should be applauded for getting in on the app game, eagerness can be a downfall. Rushing into an app and not considering what exactly you are trying to achieve can be costly and ineffective.

It’s important that you don’t lose focus of why you are building an app for your company. Sure, it’s great to have over a million users, but what is the end goal? Whatever your reason for moving to mobile, stay focused.

The average company is largely ill equipped to understand the needs of integrating an app into their business – how much will it cost, what will it do, how will it integrate into the wider plan? A mobile strategist provides the road map that takes you from conception to end product.

So is it time to slash your advertising budget and invest in an app? In my opinion, the answer is yes.

Apps capitalise on a moment in a way that traditional advertising cannot. It provides an immediate functional solution to a users need, as soon that moment arises. Whether it’s boredom on a train and the desire to play the latest game, hailing a cab, paying a bill, looking for a date for Saturday night, buying a new dress, or ordering pizza – we’re not going to wait around. Companies need to get in on the mobile game.

Advice for transitioning to corporate mobile:

  • Talk to your customers. How do they interact with mobile?
  • Consider why your business needs an app. Think beyond achieving high download rates. Consider your objectives and what strategies you have in place.
  • Check out your competitors. It’s good to know what they’re up to. Look to successful companies and other industries. What are they doing with mobile, and what is applicable or relevant to your business?
  • Don’t get to stuck on a concept. The more flexible you are, the better the end product will be.
  • Recognise the trend away from desktop. Mobile now accounts for a quarter of all web traffic. Consider how this move may affect your business in the future (employees, customers, clients) and start integrating this into your decisions.
  • Don’t think of an app as a project-based investment, but a business infrastructure investment. An app is not a standalone product but something that needs to be integrated into your business process.
  • Do your research! Talk to mobile experts and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The technology and approach is not your traditional digital marketing or IT. 

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