Is the App the Future of Digital Marketing?

Is the App the Future of Digital Marketing?

Is the app the future of digital marketing? As they emerge as a way for companies to reach out and communicate with customers in a direct way, apps are proving a particularly effective tool for brand engagement.

While on-site content is undoubtedly effective as part of an international marketing strategy, it’s important not to overlook the power of the mobile app. In fact, you might want to make it the central cog in your plans.

That’s for two reasons: one, apps are interactive, they do something. Consumers actively choose to download and use them. Two, users are switching from the desktop PC to the mobile device. More and more people are using smartphones, tablets and wearable technology to download and enjoy apps – at work, at home, on the go.

Developing an app as part of your attempts to expand your company and grow into new markets is a way for you to speak to millions of potential new customers. And the app could be anything: a version of your internet browser, social network, ecommerce platform, game, content hub to accompany a new campaign or an FAQ – all translated into a new language.

Apps are set to grow and grow.

Recent research by Gartner shows:

  • By 2017, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times, generating revenue of more than $77 billion
  • Mobile users will provide personalized data streams to more than 100 apps and services every day
  • Free-to-download apps account for 92% of all app downloads (and are a good way to offer advertising)
  • By 2017, wearable devices (like smartwatches) will make up 50% of total app interactions.

All very impressive. But what do the stats show us? That apps are getting bigger and bigger. So standing out from the pack is becoming increasingly challenging.

Why localise your app?

Using translation services to provide accurate, localised app content for your target market is the best way to start developing global brand appeal. If you’re an online retailer looking to expand into China, why develop an app only in English? Offering a translated Mandarin version means you can reach millions of new customers.

Research shows that localised apps are effective, too. A study by Distimo found that after just one week, a localised app saw a 128% increase in downloads and a 26% increase in revenue.

‘Official content channel’

“Mobile apps have become the official channel to drive content and services to consumers. From entertainment content to productivity services, from quantified-self to home automation, there is an app for practically anything a connected consumer may want to achieve,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

Launching an app in an international market

Here are three ways for getting started:

1.    Target smartphone hotspots

Apps are primarily downloaded through smartphones, so find out where the greatest uptake of the devices is globally. The smartphone world is expanding at a rapid pace.

Some time ago, China overtook the US as the largest market for smartphones by volume, according to Strategy Analytics. This year, China and India will add more than 400 million new smartphone users, a study by Mediacells shows.

2.    Test it out

To start with, you can take things steady. It isn’t necessary to go all guns blazing and have every facet of your app translated into a new language from the get-go. In fact, doing this could backfire – you might find that you’ve made a basic error that you can’t resolve without further investment.

Instead, do something simple like translate the title of your app, or the basic description of what it’s all about. Perform some analytics and see if the localisation has worked. If it has, you can start developing things.

3.    Target new distribution channels

You will probably launch your translated app through Apple’s App Store. But don’t neglect app hubs in other countries. Do some research and find out which app directories in popular in your target market.

Written by Yusuf Bhana
Yusuf Bhana
Yusuf is Head of Digital at TranslateMedia. He has an interest in how technology can help businesses achieve their marketing objectives. He's been working in digital marketing and web development since 2001 across a wide range of industries and clients.

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