It's no surprise that mobile is becoming a dominant force in marketing, with global spending on apps expected to hit $35 billion this year. And, it's no wonder brands are scrambling to get a piece of the action: 86% of mobile usage is spent in apps, according to the Mobile App Engagement Index.

But there are 1.3 million apps to choose from and only 224 million monthly active app users in the US, so brands are also working hard to figure out how to get—and hold—consumers' interest.

With so much competition for time and attention, building a branded app is only half the battle. Maintaining engagement is critical for justifying the investment and making the app "sticky" enough to do its job. In other words, the adage "if you build it, they will come" certainly does not apply.

Although the amount of time users spend on apps is skyrocketing—now over 30 hours per month—the average number of apps they use is growing only slightly, now at 26.8, up just 0.3 over the year prior, according to Nielsen.

If 27 apps is the saturation point for consumers, becoming one of those favorite apps is a tall order. Breaking into the top 25 requires cracking the engagement code with a savvy mix of design, promotion, and technical prowess.

To help increase your odds, here are a handful tips for helping to maintain engagement for your branded app.

1. Create a killer app your customers will love

You get only one shot to make a great first impression. Though app usage accounts for over half of all time spent with digital media, consumers are fickle, deleting more than 70% of apps they install—within the first 30 days.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Dennis Mink

Dennis Mink is VP of marketing at mobile app marketing and retargeting firm Liftoff.

LinkedIn: Dennis Mink