Happy National App Day—that traditional time of year when we pause (briefly, between swipes) to reflect on just how much the world and its purchases have gone mobile. For everything from entertainment to fitness to fertility, we now look to apps to meet our most basic needs. We spend 87% of our mobile time in-app, and when we shop, 70% of our mobile transactions occur in-app, where conversion rates and AOV are higher than mobile web, and basket rates are significantly lower.
And where the spending goes, so go the ads. The in-app advertising market is expected to reach $220 billion by 2025. But here’s where the story takes a twist, because while spending on mobile and in-app advertising continues to rise, its influence over consumers is actually on the decline.
Rethinking apps and advertising
In-app advertising can only take you so far in an economy where consumers are more connected and empowered than ever. With shoppers bombarded with ad messages and their attitudes and behaviours changing, organisations need marketing channels more aligned with today’s buyer journey. While consumers are increasingly wary of traditional sales messages, they are more than ever open to the opinions and recommendations of third parties whom they see as expert and/or credible.
For example, nearly half of consumers say they depend on influencer recommendations, which is one reason the partnership economy is exploding. Progressive businesses are building referral partner networks with influencers, bloggers, content creators, reviewers, publishers, and affiliate sites to drive unprecedented growth. In fact, partnerships now represent an average of 28% of total enterprise revenue for businesses with mature partnership programs.
And when apps and partnerships are used in tandem? That’s the one-two punch of customer experience that will define mobile ecommerce in the future.
My app or yours
When your referral partners can funnel their valuable traffic into your app, you create the perfect environment for conversion and for LTV.
Ticketmaster, for example, has capitalised on native integrations that allow users to purchase tickets directly from fan pages, concert listings, and music streaming apps like Spotify using Ticketmaster’s vast trove of event and venue data.
Target has a mobile partnership with Samsung, where a Target quick-access link is pre-installed within the web browser on Samsung devices. Samsung can make recommendations through its quick-access web browser to refer Samsung phone users to buy Target products. The company also has the option of targeting users by device, browsing history, geographic location, and demographic data. This partnership is available on 50 million eligible Samsung devices, with the Target quick icon viewed an average of 580 million times a month. Users click through 1 million times per month, driving direct store sales through the mobile app’s placement.
The rise of the deep link
Emerging technologies are helping to make these app-enabled partnerships more streamlined for users and lucrative for partners. Deep linking, for example, enables partners to drive prospects deep into a mobile app experience where purchases are most likely to be made. Users who are simply dropped off on the app homepage are significantly less engaged than users who are deep linked in the app, and users who are deep linked are much more likely to become daily active users.
App partnerships and generation Instagram
Where the world of apps and partnerships are most intertwined is probably on Instagram, one of the most downloaded and popular apps on the planet, with about two billion monthly active users who spend nearly an hour in the app each day. Instagram has become the platform of choice for a generation of social influencers and their fans and partnering with those inspiring personalities has become a top priority for brands. While traditional B2C advertising on Instagram remains big business, increasingly the marketing and brand-building power of the app is as a vehicle for referral partnerships.
Few areas of our lives haven’t been touched by the mobile app, including how we shop and where we look for guidance on those purchases. Mobile partnerships offer a way for businesses to tap into that power in a way that aligns with changing consumer behaviors and attitudes. So, as you celebrate National App Day with a Starbucks pre-order, raise that coffee cup in a toast to partnerships, too.
Alex Springer leads the Sales and Solutions Architects teams for Impact and is a passionate advocate of the partnership economy. He works with brands to implement advanced tracking and crediting and increase return on ad spend realised through partnerships. He has worked in the affiliate and marketing tech industry as a Solutions Architect, Product Specialist and Sales Director, growing Impact’s business in the US and Europe. Alex found his way into the performance industry from a background in cloud and on-premise infrastructure consulting, holding certifications in AWS solutions architecture and systems administration.