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Brand apps make comeback

News, 17 August 2016

NEW YORK: Smartphone users sometimes complain about the proliferation of apps taking up space on their device, but that hasn't stopped brands and telcos from continuing to pursue this option for data and monetisation purposes.

Baskin-Robbins, for example, has launched a standalone app as part of the ice-cream brand's efforts to deliver more personalised marketing campaigns, while Verizon is reported to be offering to install brand apps on subscribers' home screens.

According to Carol Austin, VP/Marketing at Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin Brands, the brand's research has shown that customers want to "know everything from where the closest store is to when there's an event happening that they can participate in with the brand".

The new app is an ambitious attempt to not only supply that sort of information to brand fans but also, via a Facebook login integration, give Baskin-Robbins an insight into consumer preferences and the opportunity to tie the brand to consumers' personal events.

Ultimately, the aim is to integrate the app with users' calendars, while geotargeting, purchase tracking and push notifications will help to close the loop on point-of-sale data, Ad Exchanger reported.

Max Fresen, SVP creative director/experience design at DigitasLBi, which developed the app, acknowledged that "people don't want to add a ton of stuff to their phones, and if they add it the chance they'll keep it on is relatively low".

"What's hard," he said, "is that most of the time people are spending time on six or seven properties."

And those would be the properties they find most useful, which are often different to those pre-installed on the phone – so called "bloatware".

Advertising Age highlighted a new threat of "brandware" as agency executives reported that Verizon has been touting deals to install major brand apps so that they download to new devices when these are activated for the first time – at a cost to the brand of between $1 and $2 a time.

"If a user is not interested, they just delete it without activating, but you're still billed for it as a brand," said one agency executive.

He added that it was great for marketers seeking a lot of verified downloads over a short period, "but if you don't have a follow up strategy for engagement then you'll probably have a lot of waste".

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff