Forget the high street, have you got a Facebook branch?
A study from Verto Analytics this month measured the cross device behaviour of a sample of 5,000 UK adults. It found (don’t hold your breath for surprises here) that communications and social media apps account for a dominating 44% of all mobile app time.
This may reflect the increasing shift away from apps for all, but definitely highlights our most umbilical digital relationships (who has space amongst those lovely hi-res photos of friends and family for something that promises that we could get 10% off shampoo the next time we’re in the chemists?)
Other insights from the report paint mixed prospects sector-by-sector. The games category fell from 18% share of time to 13%. In contrast, entertainment has grown as an app category – reflecting the popularity of streaming services like Netflix.
Noting that the top three categories now account for 78% of all mobile app time, Dr. Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Vertu Analytics, said: "The continuous growth of messaging and social apps mean that the total app time is becoming dominated by just a few sectors."
We can see companies realigning their mobile and digital strategies accordingly, recognising that if digital remains at the frontline of great brand experience for their category, then they can’t seek to control that experience through their own native environments. Instead, they must push out into the ‘hub apps’ like Facebook which dominate.
Santander, for example, are demonstrating a new approach to Social Media strategy that shifts from brand awareness marketing tactics, to integration of Social with customer’s wider digital customer experience. Instead of relying on their own apps alone, they want users within an app like Facebook to be able to undertake core online banking tasks.
With Global Web Index claiming teens are spending up to nine hours a day on Social platforms, Santander’s UK chief marketing officer Keith Moor told The Drum, “Why would someone bother coming out of an app when they can do most of their stuff within the app experience. We need to be part of that ecosystem.”
The increasing dominance of a handful of apps may point towards the next frontier for Facebook and fellow giants, who have already held the advertising industry to ransom by dominating attention. Not only will your brand need to communicate there, it seems increasingly possible it’s also where you’ll need to transact.
Thalys Scents of the City:
To encourage customers to visit new destinations on their rail network, French train company Thalys created a travel agency like no other. Collecting iconic scents from three different cities, they then infused these into tubes to create a travel agency where you smell your destination before you know exactly where it is. Utilising the strong connection we all have between smell and emotion, they took on a tour of different cities using their noses. Challenging consumers to see travel in a new way and encouraging them to get out and explore somewhere new.
Sweden on Airbnb:
Sweden has taken an unusual step and listed itself on Airbnb. At almost 173,000 square miles, it’s a little different from your average Airbnb listing. Visit Sweden has engineered this stunt to highlight the benefits of Allemansrätt, which roughly translates to “the right of public access.” This freedom to roam is an established part of Sweden’s constitution allowing both locals and visitors to access any land (with the obvious exception of private residences) within a certain distance of a “dwelling house” or farm plot. Inspiring adventurers from all over the world to come and make the most of this and explore Sweden.
Peru is another country taking unique steps to attract tourists to its shores. Instead of paying for advertising space, the Peruvian Ministry of Tourism has created a range of luggage carried by some of its most travelled citizens. The suitcases display some of the Peru’s famous tourist destinations and iconic landscapes. Carried by many different Peruvian citizens, the suitcases appeared on baggage carousels around the world, and you can now even order them via Facebook. Getting the Peru brand out to the travelling audience, without breaking the bank.