Marketers to Rethink Free and Incentivized Apps

As consumers continue to discover the best ways to search and shop using their smart phones, they’re also downloading apps. This acceptance of free apps is the first step in connecting marketers to shoppers. But many shoppers say they click on ads in limited situations.

A recently published survey from Lab42 found that about 80% of smartphone users have downloaded free apps. The other 20% of consumers do not download free apps because they find ads annoying and intrusive. About half, 51%, of smart phone users have clicked on between 1–5 ads and 50% of these consumers remember what the ad was for. By comparison,  31% of smart phone users have clicked between 1–5 ads in the past 3 months while 21% have clicked between 6–10 ads.

This survey also reveals that, for now, consumers are more accepting of TV ads. Consumers say the following ad formats have the biggest impact on their purchasing decisions:

  • TV ads: 38%
  • Online video: 19%
  • Online ads: 20%
  • Print ads: 7%
  • Radio ads: 3%
  • None of these: 11%
  • Other 2%

Some marketers have attempted to make their apps more appealing by offering incentives. But only 3% of smart phone users actually use the apps often. Another 62% are downloading these apps solely to obtain the promised reward and never use the app again.

Consumers say they prefer to get free apps as opposed to paying for them but they have preferences about ads formats in the apps. These consumers want to stay in the app instead of being sent to a mobile browser. They’re also concerned that popup video ads will “increase the cost of their service plan.”

Zephrin Lasker, co-​founder and CEO at Pontiflex, the shop which originated the study, cautions marketers to find ways to build “non-​intrusive mobile app advertising solutions” to build a better relationship with potential customers.

[Sources: Advertising ‘Apptitude’. Blog​.lab42​.com. Fall 2011. Web. 4 Jan. 2012; App Usage Survey. Pontiflex​.com. 13 Dec. 2011. Web. 4 Jan. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.