2012: Rise of the social apps
It goes without saying that social and digital media are now one of the main business channels available to us as marketers. But one of the questions we are all asking is how do we use these platforms to not only gain trust from our fans but to convert them into advocates?
In the last year usage of social media has sky rocketed. In fact it is estimated that one in every nine people in the world is using Facebook, with the average user spending 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site. Twitter has also seen massive growth and now averages 190 million tweets per day.
With these kinds of stats, it is not surprising that much of our Social Media Week panel discussion last week centered on the importance of creating interesting, shareable content across these various platforms. And while much of the discussion focused on the use of Facebook, Twitter, and the latest rising star, Pinterest, it is also important to look at the role apps are playing.
App usage has already started to increase dramatically in the last few months. In fact Facebook’s most recent figures show that their users are now installing 20 million apps every single day, and then of course there is Spotify. The popular music streaming service announced recently that they would be leading the company in a “new direction” with the launch of apps.
Apps can provide new customer acquisition and distribution channels, so it is no surprise that more companies are looking to apps as a way to make the consumption of their product a better social experience. In Spotify’s case this means extending the social listening experience beyond merely being able to show your friends what you’re listening to on Facebook.
One of the best examples of how marketers have used apps this year has to be the Super 8 app. Made to support the J.J. Abrams film of the same name, the Super 8 app is not just another generic collection of teaser content, but rather it turns your iPhone into a Super 8 film camera. The app allows users to film their own content and apply scratch-and-dirt, shake, vintage lenses and effects. Of course there were some hidden viral clues about the movie too.
The app received great publicity and allowed fans to engage with the film in a fun and innovative way, all while providing the studio with an additional revenue stream. We have also seen a lot of brands partnering with existing apps as a way of tapping into their fan base. The best example of this was probably Angry Birds: Rio.
But it’s not only mobile apps that offer marketers real opportunities. With Facebook currently rolling out Timeline we should expect to see all kinds of new social apps emerge. One of the leaders in these new kinds of apps is the Guardian. They launched their new social reader app in September. Since then the app has been installed by more than 4 million users and has driven up daily page impressions by almost 1m. Interestingly the app is also helping to push their content out to a “young” audience: data shows that 56.7% of the app’s users are 24 or under, and 16.7% are 17 and under.” (Guardian.com)
However, as with all social media strategies, and as was discussed at length at our ‘Not Just Another Facebook Page’ event last Tuesday, it is vital to ask yourself what you hope to achieve with your app and whether or not it strengthens the consumer’s relationship with your brand.
Laura Scott is a digital strategist, Addiction London