Mobile Apps

It’s an Apps, Apps, Apps, Apps World

Coming off another hot holiday season of smartphone sales (did Santa get you that new 6+ you wanted?), there is more evidence that mobile apps are the currency of Web 3.0. If the fact that 86% of smartphone usage is on apps, compared to only 14% on browsers, wasn’t enough to convince you of how crucial mobile apps are to business in 2015, research firm Fiksu recently reported that app downloads hit a record high for the third straight month. The Top 200 free iOS apps were downloaded 9.2 million times.

So the good news is that Americans continue to use their mobile devices more and more. Time spent is up, number of apps per device continues to grow, and number of apps used daily is also up.

But here is the dark side of success: Costs to market those apps, drive downloads and usage (particularly usage over time), are growing. It now costs, on average, $2.10 to get a user to download and then use an app at least 3 times.  The cost per install has also grown to about $1.50. So for the average mobile app getting and keeping a large number of users – the kind of numbers that make that app monetize-able – is getting pretty expensive.

But radio mobile apps aren’t “average” mobile apps. That’s because they come with a built in, 24/7 marketing channel called a radio broadcast. For a station with its own app, there is an incredible opportunity to get people to use that app.  That marketing channel is something that other apps would have to spend big bucks to replicate. But from what we’ve witnessed, stations tend to give their app a big push when they first go live, then forget about them, and wonder why their installed base isn’t growing much.

This is about more than just using on-air time to promote your new app. What really makes the chase to build a great audience on mobile is giving your listener lots of reasons to engage with the app. Invite them to connect with you via social media, give them information on upcoming promotions, concerts and other events, let them learn more and talk back more. Create an on-going context for this, so that it isn’t something that’s “special” but, rather, an everyday part of the communal flow of your programming.

As it is movie awards season (and as indicated in the title of this post), I will weave together a couple of movie references: the audience is listening, but just because you built it doesn’t mean they’ll come, so use the force of your broadcast. Because do or do not. There is no try.

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