While there are hot debates over which type of app brings in more money – totally free ones; those that cost money; free apps with ads; or free apps with in-app purchase options – it is safe to say that developing and providing free apps is more than worth the investment in the long term. The reason why we’re saying this: mobile advertising exposure and opportunities. Offering customers useful services, unique features or simply the aesthetic pleasure derived from an elegantly designed and user-friendly app, creates a buzz that significantly increases brand awareness while nurturing strong brand loyalty.
If your brand calls for a push to reach out to its customers, a marketing app can be a huge help. Below, we present some inspiring examples to provide you with some insight into the types of apps available and their capabilities, in order to help you to evaluate what may work best for your particular business:
1. Paper – stories from Facebook
The recent iOS 7 version of the “Paper – stories from Facebook” app for reading and sharing stories from friends took a chance introducing a completely new interface design, and it was met warmly by the audience: Paper is currently the 107th most downloaded social networking app in the US. The engaging origami-like paper-folding motion-graphic effect used in the OS version even captivated Android mobile developers, who tried to repeat it on the Android platform.
2. Le Monde d’Hermès
We have previously mentioned this app when writing about promotional apps for the fashion industry. The mobile version of the spring/summer seasonal magazine, Le Monde d’Hermès, serves as not only the official go-to source for news about the brand, but also as aesthetically-pleasing display of “eye candy” – delighting users with charming origami figures that fold together out of the magazine’s digital pages at the touch of a fingertip.
3. Audi Start-Stop
Just like the Audi Start-Stop energy-saving system works in a car – powering down the car’s engine at idle, e.g., at a traffic light – this marketing app saves on actual phone battery life. It monitors all apps that may be running in the background, detects energy-hungry ones that have been idle for a long time, and notifies the user to close it.
By helping to conserve a phone’s most valuable resource – its battery life – the app gracefully promotes the company’s principle of eliminating unnecessary waste while increasing brand loyalty and promoting a postive, eco-aware company image.
4. Audi interactive encyclopedia
Again from Audi, this time with an interactive encyclopedia, or “Your front-row seat to the exciting world of Audi” as it’s referred to on their official website. With all the high-gloss video and graphic material offered by the app, virtual customer interaction with Audi vehicles and their advanced technologies becomes a highly engaging and stimulating experience.
5. Land Rover's Trail Less Traveled
The Trail Less Traveled (338-megabyte!) app by Land Rover, a pioneer in the automotive industry, presents an interactive commercial of the iconic Next Generation Range Rover in the form of a driving app. The eight-stage interactive journey through stunning scenery becomes a pleasant way to learn about the vehicle’s new features and view interior and exterior video footage.
From steep, rocky slopes to deep-water crossings, the new Range Rover brings users to places unreachable by other vehicles. And so does the app – all the virtual features are the result of genuine, all-terrain action – real-world tested.
6. IKEA catalog
The recent IKEA catalog for iOS and Android delivers the magical, almost addictive user experience of instantly “furnishing” a home with virtual decor through the app’s use of of augmented reality (AR) technology.
In order to visualize whether a particular sofa offered in the catalog is appropriate for their living-room, users just need to physically place the printed IKEA catalog where they intend to put the sofa and scan it with a mobile device.
What could be next?
The apps above might seem sophisticated and too expensive to develop, but our experience has shown that no matter how challenging an app’s UI or feature requirements appear, the use of modern design tools in the hands of savvy developers allows for the implementation of some amazing, market-rattling app feats – at a reasonable cost and within a manageable time frame.
However, where the real challenge lies is in trying to hit upon the right idea and feature set for the marketing app that will result in strengthening brand image and boosting your target market’s interest...
Image & video credits: Audi, Land Rover, IKEA, Hermès, Facebook.