The research has several key takeaways for apps publishers, mobile advertisers, device manufacturers, mobile ad networks and wireless operators trying to fuel (and profit from) the growth of mobile apps.
A is for Android and Ads: Android owners show a clear preference for free apps. This may be due in part to the browsing interface on the Android Market, which makes it easy to browse free titles exclusively. However, we also know that Android owners tend to be younger and less affluent than iPhone users. Either way, they are more likely to click on an ad within an app, and that spells a clear monetization strategy for anyone targeting the fast growing Android user base.
B is for BlackBerry: Despite a huge installed base, Blackberry app usage lags the iPhone. It remains to be seen whether RIM’s new devices and revamped store will persuade BlackBerry owners to embrace mobile apps.
C is for Consumer Convenience, Carriers and Credit Cards: Consumers crave convenience, security, and consolidated bills when it comes to paying for their mobile apps. Carriers and credit card companies should already have consumers’ trust and are eager to carve out a central role in a world often eager to pass them by.
T is for Teens: The young continue to be more receptive to mobile advertising than their elders. Will they continue to be more receptive as they age due to their comfort with technology, or will time temper their openness to mobile ads? Alternatively, will older generations become more receptive as they gain more experience with mobile? Future research should shed light on this issue.
T is also for Third Parties: Apps users value the recommendations of third parties, whether it is a family member, a friend, or a site or service offering ratings and reviews. Those seeking to market mobile apps would be well advised to emphasize two tactics: Word-of-mouth marketing (including social media) and securing favorable ratings and reviews.
Perhaps most important, apps are still a very young market and the leaders of today may become the laggards of tomorrow. There remains plenty of room for innovative newcomers, and new categories will emerge with applications we have yet to imagine. One nascent category to watch is augmented reality, in which views of real-world environments are enhanced or augmented by computer-generated images or information.
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