Direct Response Marketing and Mobile Apps


Of all the venues where direct response marketing can be applied, none are arguably as direct as mobile apps. The Kahuna Mobile Marketing Index, released June 30th, 2015, found that mobile users are spending more and more time on their devices, which was not particularly surprising.

What was more of a revelation, though, was that those mobile users aren’t just spending an hour here and there watching videos, they’re actually checking their devices 60 times a day on average! Even more importantly, 75 percent of those smartphone users surveyed use at least one mobile app every day, and the average user takes advantage of about a dozen apps each day.

With 3.5 billion smartphone users expected globally by 2019, the mobile world represents a huge opportunity for marketers who can navigate it properly. Mobile marketing offers challenges unlike anything found in television or online marketing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be rewarding.

The Future of Direct Marketing: Mobile Apps

With consumers spending increasingly more time on mobile, it only makes sense to show them ads on their devices. Whether you’re asking them to install a related app, click for coupons or sign up for future push notifications, mobile apps give direct response marketers unsurpassed opportunities to interact with the customer on a very personal level throughout the day.

Push notifications could be a new frontier for direct response marketing. On average, 62 percent of app users opt-in to push notifications, but they only want to see push notifications that are directly relevant to them. Apps that offer push notifications that are timely and relevant to the user in the moment are currently seeing above-average installation rates. Travel and transportation apps lead the pack in push notification opt-ins, followed by utility and productivity apps and games, but finance, sports and educational apps also see an above average opt-in rate.

Interest Doesn’t Generate Income

Unfortunately, high opt-in rates aren’t all there is to targeting the mobile app market with direct response tactics. Just because someone downloads the app or opts-in doesn’t mean they will ultimately become an income source. Even paid apps aren’t generating much income on the download themselves. According to Kahuna, up to 90 percent of installs won’t result in high-value users without a systematic engagement strategy.

By utilizing push messaging to interact with customers, you can bridge the gap between their initial response of installing the app and their eventual habitual use of it. While they’re turning a curiosity about your company into a part of their routine, you should carefully push messages about flash sales, daily coupons or other reminders that require a direct response and subsequent interaction with their mobile app.

You don’t need to send a push message every day, or even every week. According to the Kahuna study, companies who sent only one push message in the first 90 days after an app install retained 180 percent more users than those companies who didn’t. Companies that use messaging in the first 30 days can expect a customer retention rate of as much as 45 percent, a 125 percent increase over customers who don’t receive push messages.

Mobile Apps are a Direct Link

Few direct marketing methods provide customers a way as immediate and personal to respond as push notifications from their mobile apps. When you send out a push message to your user base and they elect to respond, you get immediate feedback – and that’s a great thing. This method of implementing direct response marketing could open up mobile in a way banner ads simply can’t.

Marketing is going mobile, and marketers are going to have to find more and innovative ways to use tools like push notifications and location beacons to reach their customers wherever they might be. As locator technology improves, push messages will have the power to go from a request from the website to a request from a nearby store, which could prove endlessly useful to shopkeeper and shopper alike.


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