Mada co-founded Branch in 2014, masterminding the community-driven marketing strategy behind the company's early, explosive success. Mada currently leads marketing and new market development for Branch, and she remains deeply involved in the company's global culture initiatives, which have led to several industry awards.
May 27, 2020
After writing a post a week or so ago on simple organic strategies to drive growth in the age of COVID, I decided to do a follow up on the more advanced and creative strategies that some brands are using to drive organic growth and traffic to their app during this time of physical distancing. The overall trends we have seen are an increase in mobile app engagement in many verticals, especially those that focus on fostering human connection such as social media and video conferencing. In case you haven’t read my last post, here’s a quick recap of why when it comes to digital presence, the app wins. If you have a ton of web and app users, I don’t need to convince you that apps retain and convert users better than the mobile web. Getting a user to download your app is like going steady with them — by giving you a dedicated space on their home screen, they are entering a committed relationship — and on average, app users convert at a double rate and are twice more likely to return to your brand than a web user.
So now that I’ve convinced you that the app is better (which most of you already knew), let’s go over three advanced strategies for getting more users into the app as a follow up to the simple organic strategies we talked about last time.
One of the more advanced strategies that companies are using during this time is using QR codes to encourage users to download the app and to link to in-app content. Physical distancing has been tough to live through, but one thing is certain — it accelerated the adoption of technologies worldwide, including QR codes. I went to Peet’s the other day and used a QR code to get the app to order ahead from my local store. The best thing about using QR codes? You can track each QR code link independently to see which location or which product is driving the most engagement. Here is a video of my experience:
If you are thinking of using QR codes, here are some ideas and best practices:
Brand advocates are the loyal champions of your brand who organically promote and spread the word about your company, product, and services. They’re a type of influencer but don’t require any monetary compensation because they advocate for your brand based on their fondness for it. Influencer marketing — including the use of brand advocates — has been a go-to method for many brands to gain exposure, but based on a recent social roundtable I moderated, physical distancing is actually getting influencer marketing to grow even more — since we can’t try things out and we can’t shop, we spend more of our time on social media and make all of our decisions on purchases based on online content. I know I have bought a miracle pan, cookbooks, exercise equipment, and seven types of dog food all based on videos on various social media platforms. Some things to think about as you explore the use of and engage your brand advocates:
As I think about one channel that every single company can use to drive more growth, it’s probably SEO and intent-based marketing. So much of what we do as marketers entails creating demand, educating, and creating a need — which takes time. The magic of a user who performs a search query about a product or service is they’ve already shown interest and intent, so our job becomes a lot easier. That’s why conversions from leads that perform a search query are so much higher than conversions from display ads, or pretty much any other channels. As a test, if you compare conversions on ads shown in Google vs Facebook, the Google conversion rate is much higher, whereas Facebook achieves the same number of conversions by showing an ad to a LOT more people. Here is my advice:
As we looked at trends, one thing is certain: both desktop and mobile usage have increased greatly during the pandemic (though desktop activity has grown the most with spikes during the weekdays), and the balance between desktop and mobile is not equal throughout the week. I even noticed that I use my computer more to research things, shop, or consume entertainment during the week, but by the weekend I am on my phone even to do any work I might have.
That’s why, during these times, investing in cross-platform experiences is even more important, specifically converting desktop web users to mobile app users. One way to do that is through text me the app pages or banners that allow a user to text themselves or a friend a link to the in-app content they are browsing. Here are some examples of how companies are doing it below:
I hope that between these tips and my last article, you have eight new tactics you can use that can help boost your organic posts. In these crazy times, the adoption of digital presence — especially apps — has accelerated more in the past few months than it would have in years. This is the time to take advantage of those trends!