The day of traditional marketing practices has come and gone. Marketing has to answer to the needs to an always-connected audience who access the world from the palms of their hands. In this new digital landscape, mobile marketing has taken a step forward.
Brands can’t merely tell a story to grab the audience’s attention – the audience wants to be a part of the message. Mobile apps have grown in popularity for marketers worldwide because of that ability to engage their audience. Just about every brand from education to finance owns or is developing an app. As of July 2014, there were over 1.3 million apps in Google Play and over 1.2 million apps available in the Apple App Store.
How do these apps make their money?
There are 3 ways:
1. Free apps with in-app purchase
2. Paid apps without in-app purchases
3. Paid ads with in-app purchases
Here’s a breakdown of the worldwide app category revenue distribution by business model. This model represents the shift in digital from print publications well. No longer does someone have to go to the newsstand to read the Sunday paper. Over 99% of newsstand apps are free. The upside: no more paid subscriptions. The downside: accidentally clicking on the advertisement between news articles.
The Multi-Million Dollar Problem: Children Using the Apps
Many apps found in the categories shown above are making millions of dollars on in-app purchases. But what happens when children are able to run up hundreds of dollars in in-app purchases? Ask Google Inc., who in September 2014 agreed to pay $19 Million in a settlement brought down by the Federal Trade Commission. The agreement was issued after bill payers incurred charges by app users who were less than 18 years old.
The agency’s chairwoman, Edith Ramirez added, “As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it’s vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.”
The FTC has also filed a complaint with Amazon.com for purchases in the company’s Kindle Fire and Apple Inc. who agreed to pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to consumers for similar in-app purchases. Just as quickly as new apps are created, the mobile environment is changing. It is important as a marketer to stay on top of new practices as they are developed.
Remember, the goal for any Mobile Marketer is to keep the audience engaged. In-app purchases could lead to incredible profits while allowing purchasers the ability to customize the product as they see fit. But the profit potential for Mobile Marketers in apps does not stop with in-app purchases like Candy Crush™ Goodies or extra lives.
Google AdMob: Get Acquainted with It!
Google AdMob is not the only mobile platform designed to incorporate third-party advertising within mobile apps, but if you already know the ins and outs of Google Adwords it’s a great place to start. With a plethora of competitors like Mojiva, JumpTap, BrandPort and Mobile Theory – this network of mobile advertising is alive and well. In fact, if you have ever downloaded the popular music app, Pandora®, you have probably noticed the advertisements in between songs. Like many similar free app platforms, Pandora® allows advertisements to interrupt music programming in an effort to create a revenue stream. As a brand, there is a huge potential for profit gains by taking advantage of company apps as advertising space. As an advertiser, AdMob creates another way to reach an audience through geographically targeted messaging. This targeted messaging is key when attempting localized marketing (also known as distributed marketing) campaigns, which refer to national brands with local sales and/or marketing entities who also represent the brand (i.e. distributors, franchisees, agents, affiliates, producers, agencies, etc.). After all, 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results and 61% of those searches result in a purchase.
AdMob by the numbers:
- Over 650,000 apps using AdMob
- $1 billion+ paid since July 2012
- 200% increase in CPMs since 2013
- 200 billion global ad requests per month
- 1,000,000+ Google advertisers
The marketing power you hold in the palm of your hand- and your audiences- is only getting stronger. By the year 2016, the Yankee Group estimates that the global mobile advertising revenue will expand by three and a half times its present size. Forty-seven percent of marketing companies plan to increase their efforts in mobile apps in the next year, and according to Forbes.com, “Mobile has, without question, taken over as the most preferred medium for research and consumption of content on the Internet.”
Isn’t it time to step up your mobile marketing game?