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Mobile apps – should you include an app in your marketing campaign?

By / / In Insight /
Come on, get appy! Max Chekalov shows how brands are successfully using mobile apps in their marketing campaigns – and he tells why your business might do well to consider getting an app, to improve the customer experience and boost your sales.
mobile apps apple pay, loyalty cards go mobile article

As a society, we have become somewhat dependant on our mobile phones. Part of the appeal is that we can get an app to do just about anything we want. With the global spending on apps reaching $81.7 billion in 2017, it is clear that we are happy to be appy!

And this trend shows no signs of slowing down. That figure is expected to almost double by 2022. Feel like checking these stats? Check out your app store – there is probably an app for that.

What does this mean for businesses? A well-designed app can improve customer experience and can also be used to boost sales. They boast high engagement rates, thanks to the personalised experience they can deliver.

Mobile apps are important, even though a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy should utilise multiple channels of engagement.

But let’s see how a couple of top brands use apps successfully to boost sales. The numbers are impressive.


In 2014, Ikea launched its first catalogue app. Users could simply download the app, find what they wanted, and add it to their baskets. This simple app was downloaded around 6.2 million times. Since then, the company has been making improvements.

You can now use the app to get design ideas and it has a 3D feature that enables you to actually see what the furniture would look like in your own space.


The car manufacturer created its first interactive video in 2014. The campaign was a roaring success because users could easily just tap their screens to see more of the cars’ features. This campaign had a 93% engagement rate, which is something that is hard to achieve by any standards.

It highlights how powerful mobile marketing can be in conjunction with video.

Things to consider for your app

So, if you are sold on the idea of mobile marketing and are considering having an app developed for your company, you should consider a few things before you go rushing out to hire someone to develop it as fast as possible.

An app is, more than anything, a place where the user can have unique experience. It can be much more engaging than a website if it is designed with a solid concept in mind.

But that’s not all.

Will the investment be worth it?

mobile apps

Click the image to see the full infographic detailing businesses’ best use of apps.

If you want a decent app built, it is going to cost some capital. For a large brand store like Ikea, with millions of potential customers downloading the app, it makes sense to spend the money. But for the corner café, with far fewer clients, it might not be worth it.

For a smaller company, it might be a better investment to optimise its website for mobile and to create a meaningful social media presence. Text messaging can be another way to go.

Consider the business that you are in. What kind of campaign would work well for it?

App development doesn’t have to be extremely expensive, but will it be worth it?

The good thing about mobile apps is that even without many updates they serve for a long time.

What will mobile apps do?

This seems a bit of a crazy question, but it is something many businesses get wrong. If you answered “drive sales” or “improve sales”, you are getting it wrong as well. When building an app, the first priority should be to improve the customer experience and make it useful.

If you are something of an app junkie, you will understand how important this is. How many apps have you downloaded and then deleted because they just weren’t useful enough for you?

Things like making it easier for clients to be able to choose items from your catalogue and creating a payment platform might make your app more useful. But you must consider how to take it a little further. What can an app do that will improve your client’s interaction with your company?

Ikea’s app lets people know what the latest design trends are. Obviously, the app will use items available from Ikea to demonstrate what the trends are, but that doesn’t make it any less useful.

Provide something; one thing that your website cannot handle at all …or not all that well. Make the app stand out.

Consider alternatives

Mobile marketing is a very broad term and apps are just one way to engage customers. I already mentioned some of them – such as low-cost text messages, which can create immediate impact by distributing exclusive offers, for example.

Another thing modern phones are highly suited for are QR codes. Many shoppers use them to compare prices, but a QR code can serve many purposes. It can grant access to a specific offer or disclose a discount voucher, for example.

Both QR codes and text messages are very budget-friendly approaches that can create decent customer engagement. In fact, utilising these two approaches can be a fine precursor to the eventual development of a mobile app. They can show you whether your client base uses smartphones the way you want them to.

So, is it time for your company to get appy?

It may very well be. There is no doubt about the popularity of apps in our culture today. That said, we have little tolerance for apps that don’t work really well. There are plenty of them out there to choose from, why should we settle for less than the best?

If your company is not quite ready for an app yet, there is nothing wrong with that – there are plenty of other ways to use mobile marketing to your best advantage. All you need to do is to find the campaign that will work best for your target market – starting with a smaller commitment might be the right move.

Have an opinion on this article? Please join in the discussion: the GMA is a community of data driven marketers and YOUR opinion counts.

Max Chekalov
Author: Max Chekalov
Appgeeks |

Max Chekalov is a prolific digital marketer with considerable skill in graphic design and writing. He describes his “endless thirst for knowledge and communication” as being “only sated by the dynamically changing world of social media” and is thus always on top of the latest trends and development in social media marketing. Contact him via: or find him here:

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