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Mobile apps need to be small, relevant

News, 04 October 2016

SINGAPORE: Asian consumers like using apps but the number available mean that they have little compunction about uninstalling them if they lack relevancy or take up too much memory, while notifications have been disabled on many that make the cut.

Research from Google and TNS, based on a survey of more than 10,000 people across ten countries in the regions, showed that the average smartphone owner uses six or more apps daily.

App usage is so prevalent, the research said, that in most countries, people turn to apps as often as the mobile web – and more so in Indonesia and the Philippines.

But marketers are being denied an important push messaging option as users in more developed markets have turned off notifications for almost half their apps, while in much of the rest of the region the proportion was around one third.

The answer, according to James Tan, head of performance products at Google APAC, is targeted ads.

"They can use mobile app engagement campaigns to help remind users how their apps can help," he told Marketing.

"By engaging your audience at the right time with content that's relevant to them, you can help your users make the most of your app – all while avoiding the "uninstall" button," he added.

And uninstalling is an ever-present threat in a region where many users have low-cost entry phones with limited storage. The top reasons given for deleting or uninstalling apps were that they were no longer relevant or useful enough or that they took up too much memory.

The last-cited is one reason that Facebook has just launched a pared-down version of its Messenger app: Messenger Lite delivers much of the same functionality of the parent app, while taking up less memory and also working better on slower telecoms networks.

Tan said that most people would use an app again if given a reason to do so, including 66% of users in Indonesia and 61% in India.

"By understanding when and how people engage with apps and using tools that help act on those insights at scale, marketers can stay relevant and become part of consumers' daily routines," he advised.

Data sourced from Google, Marketing, Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff