Mobile Ads are OUT, apps are IN


I cannot stand mobile ads. While mobile remains ‘one of the marketing channels’ to reach potential and existing customers, I strongly argue that mobile advertisements are really not the right way to spin the bottle towards you in today’s time. So then, if not mobile adverts, what exactly is it that can tap the explosive potential of mobile marketing which has never been more relevant than today.

The global mobile marketing budget is expected to cross $ 74 billion by 2017. Consumers download as close to 60 mobile applications in their smartphones, android phones and i-phones but use only about a maximum of 4 apps regularly which implies that brands are increasingly struggling to make it to these top four apps. According to what I think is the perfect explanation to what a brand must seek while finalizing any app that the brand wants to invest into Mobile marketing are three principles primarily- principles of Convenience, innovation & value.

Your mobile marketing strategy has to be separated from your overall marketing objective, not being completely misaligned though. While I understand the ages ago mobile advertisements driving the marketing budgets since the very beginning which would go as synonymous to mobile marketing in the 90s; things have changed, and for good. Today, the advertisements that I see when I log in to the Times of India app irritate me, even while I am playing Candy Crush, the pop-up ads for other games do irritate me even if I do not even pay a glance to what exactly it is about. Clearly, mobile ads do not work. So how can brands reach out to their customers better? I believe that all the three principles- convenience, innovation and value to the consumers (both in terms of usefulness and social value), if aligned together and woven into a simple download friendly mobile app, then the brands can reach out to a much larger share of the mobile consumers market.

Here are some brands that used mobile apps to build brand engagement and convey messages right on the nail.

A luxury watch maker Chopard, celebrated their anniversary of sports watches with introducing an app that allowed customers to personalize their own timepiece and explore other custom creations. Watch the clip here

De Beers has done similar with their engagement rings.

The “Range Rover: The Trail Less Traveled” app gives consumers the chance to virtually experience riding in the vehicle in a variety of different settings and viewpoints.


Ford created a lot of online buzz in 2010 when it introduced its 2011 Explorer on Facebook. This app, which is no longer available, was designed to create excitement for the reveal of the 2013 Fusion on Jan. 10 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Activated by capturing the Ford logo, the app let fans access a virtual course, where they could test drive the car. A new course was added every day from early December until the reveal.

Starbucks connected its product to the act of waking up in the morning. They launched an app, called ‘Early Bird’. The idea was to encourage people to wake up on time. If the app users pressed ‘wake up’ instead of snooze, they would earn a discounted coffee or other drinks at any Starbucks store within one hour of waking up. This was a fun way to connect with the target audience while helping them get up on time. 


My favorite is the Heineken cheers app. A jokey app with a somewhat useful function, “Cheers” lets you simulate the “clink” sound of two bottles with your smartphone.


In my next blog post, I am going to investigate some of the proven tried-and-tested mobile app marketing techniques with a hint of my own opinion to what succeeded in reaching out to the right audience with most importantly, the right punch to the bang-on messaging. Stay tuned.