To say that the mobile landscape has changed over the past couple of years would be a huge understatement. As cofounder and VP of marketing at Branch, I see it every day — new rules and regulations are being enacted, new innovations are being created to complement them, and mobile app users are receiving better, smoother experiences. For those of us in the industry, the continuous stream of progress is on full display every day.
I was fortunate enough to be able to give PandaConf’s keynote speech at Web Summit 2021 and share some of my insights about where mobile is and where it’s going — as well as how to stay ahead of the curve. You can check out my speech here, but if you’re in a hurry, here are some of most important trends and pieces of advice I discussed:
Trend 1: The mobile landscape is getting more complex.
Privacy is now a prerequisite for web companies, with Apple and Android introducing new regulations designed to protect users’ information by making digital fingerprinting a thing of the past. With companies creating their own measurement programs in the name of privacy, the walls around giants like Facebook have become higher, forcing brands to play by their rules. Governments have also gotten in on the action, with new regulations recently popping up in China and California. Finally, COVID is still driving people to use their phones more and spend more time in apps. The result is that it’s harder for mobile brands to succeed… but not impossible.
Trend 2: Budgets are following measurement, with marketing teams looking to justify their existence.
Brands can only gauge their marketing success using available metrics — so that’s where they focus their efforts. Apple’s new ad tracking rules have made collecting data more difficult, so some brands are buying Android installs. That said, iOS users worldwide spent twice as much money as Android users did in Q1 2021, so Apple is still a priority — and with Apple Search Ads functioning as the only privacy-compliant advertising platform for Apple, brands are spending less with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms.
Trend 3: Companies are reinvesting to create amazing app experiences.
With more of a focus on mobile than ever before, brands are under pressure to build apps that stand out from the pack. We trust that you’ve got that covered.
These trends are playing a major role in the mobile landscape right now. That said, there are some perennial guidelines that can always help you get more users. Here are five tips on that note:
Refocus on owned and organic channels.
While these can be difficult to maximize, the work is worth it. Organic channels have higher retention rates and ROI than paid channels. Use tactics like sales incentives (as seen in the example from Robinhood, below) for recruitment and your own customers can spread the word for you.
Lean into new behaviors.
QR codes skyrocketed in popularity during the contact-free days of the pandemic. You can use QR codes to drive traffic from other channels, such as desktop computers, television, and physical objects.
Craft user journeys with bite-sized steps.
Measuring your progress in increments will allow you to better evaluate the success of your efforts at every turn. You can see the multiple-step process below, in an example from Sephora. If you create an ad or a piece of content, make sure to gauge the ROI accurately.
Retain and reactivate users.
Focus on winning back inactive users before trying to acquire new ones. Popular methods for winning back churned customers include email marketing, push notifications, and ads.
Get users to participate in their journeys.
Fingerprinting was always imperfect. With Branch’s NativeLink technology, users enter their own destination links, which are copied to and pasted from a clipboard to ensure 100% deferred deep-linking success.
It’s truly an exciting time to be innovating in the world of mobile — I can hardly wait to see where the industry goes in the years to come. However it evolves, we will ensure the best experiences for marketers, advertisers, and customers alike. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of Branch.