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How to drive more app downloads

August 13, 2010

Brenna Hanly is mobile catalyst at Mullen's mediahub

Brenna Hanly is mobile catalyst at Mullen's mediahub

By Brenna Hanly

One of the most important decisions in launching a successful mobile application is determining how to drive downloads.

It is critical to support an application with all existing marketing assets, but this perspective is specifically about tangible approaches to mobile media support.

Based on experience launching applications for brands such as Timberland and Foxwoods, we believe in the following five mobile truths:

What is the right spend?
Mobile media support is important because you are reaching consumers already in the environment and mindset.

Through analyzing download trends and media spend across various advertisers, we have determined that the minimum mobile media spend is $200,000 over two days to truly make an impact and accelerate measurable downloads.

When should you begin mobile media support?
Day of week matters.

There are significant peaks and valleys for cumulative application downloads.

To leverage typical download activity, we suggest you launch your application and begin supporting it toward the end of the week – on a Thursday or Friday.

As a result, you will be able to build on the momentum of weekend downloads.

How robust should the application be?
As you are conceiving your application, keep in mind that the more robust you make it, the more likely that it will require Wi-Fi connectivity in order to download.

While multiple features such as video, pictures, gaming and maps make for a bigger experience, if consumers can only download the application and subsequent updates in certain Wi-Fi zones, it will unequivocally inhibit downloads.

Which is more important: creative or context?
In comparing the results of mobile campaigns with those of digital display, we have concluded that in mobile media efforts, the banner creative has more of an impact on performance.

Conversely, in online campaigns, context is typically more important.

Which devices should be included?
Yes, we all love our iPhone 4, Droid X or HTC Evo.

However, the uber-smartphone market represents less than 20 percent of smartphone penetration.

By including all phones that can access the Web, you will not only build scale, but also surprisingly, we have seen higher conversion rates from some of the less sophisticated devices.

AS A LAST note, the number of downloads is certainly not the only success metric for mobile applications, but it is an important one, especially in the minds of many clients.

Brenna Hanly is mobile catalyst at Boston advertising agency Mullen’s mediahub. Mediahub colleagues Katelyn Nugent and Katie Thompson also contributed to these findings. Reach Ms. Hanly at

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