What Marketers Are Getting Wrong About Apps

July 13, 2018

not in browsers [1]. As you could expect, marketers jumped on this trend. Now a total of 47% of marketers have developed an app [2], and an estimated 65% of them are in the process of developing one, now. [3]

There’s a problem, though, and it’s how marketers approach the apps …

The Problem: It’s not about the content

60% of marketers who saw an increase in app downloads attributed it to “exclusive content” according to a study by Forbes and Adobe. [4] This, in basic terms, means that marketers are offering content that cannot be found online through their apps.

There is a flaw with this, though, and it stems from the fact that although exclusive content may be a great way to encourage downloads … it’s not really what users are looking for.

There seems to be one major dominant player with content-focused apps and that’s Flipboard. The app makes it extremely easy to browse endless amounts of content which then gives users no real reason to use any other seeing that it already does it all.

Even when News Corporation tried to get into the app game with their “The Daily” it could barely break even. Sites like Wired which has over 20 million visits to its website a month only pushes about 100,000 users on its’ app.

People are spending 86% of their time in the app … they’re not using the apps to browse the content.

Take a look at these numbers by Nielson [5]:


The “content” that is so highly praised by marketers is actually buried within the news/info stats which has it 2% in the U.S., 5% in the U.K., and 5% in Japan. A pale shot compared to the major attractions of apps like communication and productivity.

What makes matters worse is that news is actually one of the slowest growing categories according to research by Flurry.


The up-tick is that content apps do actually keep users more engaged than others because there is always something new versus a hot, new app to pull people away from the communication ones.

News Apps

Where there’s a silver lining there is still the darkness that looms overhead, however, and by this chart put out by Mailchimp it’s actually email that still does best to retain users when it comes to content.


Overall it seems that your best bet is to stick with email marketing than rush off to build an app focused on content delivery.

But …

There is always room to play and this is especially so if you can offer an app that falls into the productivity and utility category.

Look back at the chart and you can see that it’s one of the fastest growing segments of the app marketplace. It provides real value for its users and those that use the apps generally stick with it longer than others.

There have been big wins in this category including:

  • Starbucks using their app to allow people to pay for their coffee
  • Halifax Home Finder which uses augmented reality to show homebuyers properties in the area
  • Charmin’s Sit or Squat which let people review public bathrooms on cleanliness

So to recap …

Content apps are very easy to develop because marketers already have a slew of content to deliver. However, they’re not always the best performers. An app which provides a service (utility) are ones more likely to be adopted and used.

It also matters how quickly you can get these apps into the hands of your prospects. An aggressive campaign to expose your app to users can literally make or break its success because of the sheer mass of competition.

When it comes time to put things in high gear we’d recommend you get in touch. Our expertise in advertising, marketing, and app downloads are at the top of their game. Our process will ensure you’re directed and aligned to your goals and audience. One campaign can be all that it takes to break from the app store mess and into the regular use of your target audience.

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