Monday, April 6, 2009

iPhone/ SmartPhone Apps: Data, Market Successes, What’s Next

You won’t be surprised if I told you that there are no established authorities on the subject (yet). There are no clear do's and don’ts. I came across an interesting industry report The Apps Store is Born: Smartphones Enable New Marketing and Advertising Opportunities Worldwide
by David Chamberlain from In Stat
. It goes for $2,495 unfortunately, but fortunately there are a few articles quoting stats from it.

Smartphone App Use Set to Quadruple
by Michelle Megna is one of them. Chamberlain is projecting the number of devices supporting mobile applications to hit over 140 million by 2013. Even more intriguing is that mobile app-centric smartphones – such as the iPhone and Android-based handsets, will reach more than 30% of the global smartphone market. No wonder some established brands are entering the smart phone app markets will great apps. Take the Virtual Zippo Lighter
, which got over 3 million iPhone downloads
since last October. The app was developed by Moderati
. According to TMC Net
, most apps have a shelf life of thirty days in the Top 40, so Zippo’s top 40 position for the last five months make it really impressive. Why is the app so popular? It seems because it captures the “Zippo Encore Moment” and lets concert-goers customize its design. How did it get so popular? Well, this is a trickier question – my guess is, mostly word of month. It is easy to find the app in the app store, so it is easy to spread. If you don’t have a brand like Zippo, try embedding links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, so people can easily promote your app. This is precisely what Smule

Zippo also did quite a bit of publicizing the app – they had a strong PR campaign, hitting legit app review outlets such as CNET, TMCNet, ZDNet, TechRepublic, and a lot of bloggers. Then Adweek
picked it up. (According to AdWeek, most brand applications failed on Facebook because brands need to compete with “armies of scrappy developers building apps for nearly every conceivable need”. Coca-Cola, for example, is competing with a dozen apps, all spin-offs of the spin the bottle game Coke chose for its own app in January.)

Part of the problem is that most app are not that useful - according to Pinch Media, an iPhone analytics company, less than 5 percent of downloaded iPhone applications are kept longer than a month. You can’t market a flash in the pan – and if you tried, you would only get a flash in the pan adoption results.

I also connected with Mike Alvarez from Avantar
- they have two popular apps - Showtime
and Yellow Pages
, which according to Mike have jointly got hundreds of thousands of downloads. Mike says a few techniques have helped him and his team promote the apps - banner swaps with other iPhone developers, reviews by legit iPhone review sites such as
, as well as posting a press release for under $50 to PRMac
. Check this list out as well -
9 Places To Publicize Your iPhone App

(thanks for the tip to Kevin from

What’s next?
1. A lot more apps and a lot more competition – from scrappy developers to established brands, vying for our attention.
2. A lot more bloggers and media reviewing apps – and perhaps a new independent apps monitoring body that will help establish and regulate some meaningful measurement standards.
3. A lot more analytics – apps will come in with built-in analytics – it is a way to measure usefulness, adoption, snatches with the apps, and ultimately ROI.
4. A lot more mobile advertising – which of course will make the effectiveness or the usefulness factor of app go down.
5. More money behind marketing apps – no longer just the meeting ground for scrappy developers, apps and app stores will be serviced by a growing ecosystem – of brands, marketers, digital agencies, PR agencies, social media mavens, development shops, consulting companies. Yup, it will be more expensive to be successful, the barriers would be higher – except for the occasional brilliant app that will defy all laws.

Have more iPhone/smart phone marketing tips or thoughts? Leave me a comment or reach me on Twitter @sallyswimsalot



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  2. Great article! Feel free to check out our site for iPhone App Reviews as well. Here's a link to our review request page if you've got an app that you'd like to be reviewed.


  3. RIP for Microsoft. Apple is beating them slowly but surely.

    Sincerely yours,
    Allen Carlos