An App is an App, or is it really? How Apps Drive Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategies

By: CJ Enos

We live in a world of apps.  Our day-to-day activity at some point revolves around an app.  In the beginning, apps were primarily used for gaming.  Today apps have evolved to much more and, for the most part, whatever you want to know, track, play or do, there’s an app for that.

If you have a tablet or smart phone then you have used an app for one reason or another.  Banking, driving directions, keeping notes, music, gaming, reading, shopping and the list goes on.  These corporate branded aps are changing the way brands are connecting to consumers and the company’s marketing approaches.  In addition, apps can have a large impact on a company’s bottom line.  It has been estimated that the average person spends about 30 hours per month using mobile apps and 40% of smart phone users browse app stores for apps to download.  Apps are a key role in the, “I want to know, go and buy” moments.

A study from Iowa state university showed a direct link between app use, purchase behaviors of consumers and an increase in sales.  The study also found, the more engaging the app, the more time customers will spend using the app, and thus the more money customers will spend, whether direct or indirect purchase from the app.

The study was conducted on a mobile app used for a loyalty reward program.  The study looked at data, such as number of times consumers looked up their points balance, transaction history, and reward items available to them and location check INs at stores affiliated with the rewards program.  The goal was to see if spending was influenced by the interactive features on the App.

The results found a correlation between consumer behavior and the bottom line of the company, even without apps that included a purchase feature.  The interactive features were enough of a draw for consumers to use the apps and drive sales.

Key takeaways from this study are corporate branded developed apps should not be ignored by companies.  (It is estimated that by 2017 the number of apps will rise beyond 268 billion.) Branded apps are a powerful way for companies to build a deeper relationship with customers.  Apps also change the marketing strategy in that they can complement a brands offline experience with in store special offers, drive sales and help connect the brands with its customers.

I agree that apps are a powerful way for brands to build deeper relationships with customers.  I also agree that they can significantly increase the bottom line.  If I can use an app that is readily at your fingertips and it is engaging enough, then the first place I go is to the app.  Searching websites, and logging onto websites, for me are a thing of the past and I only use a website when I have to.

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