November 23, 2015

“Web-to-App” Marketing is Critical for Reaching Today’s App-Centric Consumer

Go to any marketing conference today and you will hear a lot about breaking down marketing silos. No more marketing fiefdoms in the form of search, display, email and affiliate. The mobile obsessed, non-linear consumer journey has forced marketing teams to work closer together especially when it comes to cross-device marketing and attribution.

It is now well documented that consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices compared to desktop and they spend most of that time in their top five favorite apps. In a few short years, we will all be living and working in a very different world when it comes to advertising and ecommerce. That will become very clear in 2016 when digital spend significantly outpaces desktop.

So what is an omnichannel marketer to do as shoppers become ever more app-centric?


The most important thing marketing teams can do today to embrace this trend and break down the silos of desktop and mobile commerce is to think about every marketing channel as a potential vehicle for driving traffic to mobile apps. Creating “web-to-app” strategies via mobile deep linking will help create an “apps-first” mindset among marketing teams while placing the brand where customers spend their time. Take these steps to get started:

  1. Give marketing departments control over deep linking to apps vs. websites.
    For many multi-channel marketers, whether a link opens a mobile app or website is an afterthought which is a big mistake. Marketing should decide at the campaign level whether a link (display, search, email, affiliate) opens a mobile app vs. mobile website. This includes both brand apps and social apps. Understanding what percentage of your audience has your brand app and the mobile apps for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest installed is a critical first step for adjusting targeted marketing strategies over time.
  2. Don’t send loyal app users to mobile websites.
    Once you get someone to download and use your brand app don’t make the mistake of sending them to your mobile website. Similarly, a significant percentage of your audience have the mobile apps for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram installed on their mobile devices so why link to the respective mobile websites? Links for search, display, email and affiliate should always check for brand and social apps and open them when found or give users a choice between the app and the mobile website. Campaign managers need to control and test fallback web URLs when the app is not found and the optimal time to prompt users to install the app.
  3. App vs. mobile web: continuously optimize, test and learn.
    For any retailer, there are many different reasons to link to mobile apps vs. mobile websites and vice versa. Certain product categories may, for example, always convert better on a mobile website vs. mobile app or certain promotions and offers may be available “in-app” only. When every marketing link across channels gives users a choice between mobile web or mobile app, you can gain an understanding of your shopper preferences for more targeted campaigns in the future. Marketing leaders should cultivate a “test and learn > app vs. web” culture and encourage campaign managers to think creatively about “web-to-app” strategies for every link embedded in every marketing tactic across channels.

As retail and other mobile apps mature, the industry will become increasingly focused on ways to connect to (and from) all different types of mobile apps and target audiences. In the meantime, a “web-to-app” marketing approach will ease the transition to a more app-centric marketing operation.

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  1. Uh, mobile web va. app: I guess, that’s a neverending discussion.
    Here’s some European input: In my opinion, the European market and the behaviour of users in Europe is different. Here the mobile web is much more important, because the app usage is much lower. (It checked that here:
    I guess a combination of app and mobile web can be a solution: creating content in one CMS and deliver it to different platforms.
    I wrote about it here:

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