As an iPhone user there’s always one thing that keeps on amazing me. Their App Store. There are so many things Apple did exactly right when they created this new mobile store. And by doing all these things, they showed the world how mobile phones will undisputedly become more than an instrument to stay in touch.
Future of mobile connectivity
At first, Apple has showed the world where the future of mobile connectivity lies. Which is a blessing for people in the mobile marketing industry. As a mobile marketeer, evangelizing is an important part of your job, you basically have to convince every single soul of the purpose of your existence. Last year the iPhone has become an important and very convincing actor in that story. Where many people always assumed that all Internet activity on phones had to happen in a browser, like on PC’s, this is not how mobile Internet will evolve. You have to think of a browser as an application that uses the mobile internet connection. It’s about connectivity.
Why am I emphasizing connectivity? Because the future of mobile lies in Internet utilizing applications. We don’t go to facebook.com, we open our Facebook App which is quicker, easier and tailormade for our phone. The same scenario applies to LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail, YouTube, PayPal, Last.fm, BBC News and probably a lot more services and websites. The ‘apps’ don not only enhance the user experience, but also integrate other functionalities of the phone in the application, such as the camera, GPS, telephone, SMS, e-mail, motion sensor and MP3 player.
Apps as an image boost
Secondly, Apple has proven that people are still prepared to buy products and services through their mobile phone. The mobile content industry was infamous for all the bad stories of teenagers buying too much ringtones, wallpapers and games, which drove their parents mad. Their image could definitely use a boost, which was exactly what the App Store gave them. iPhone users are downloading massive amounts of applications, it took approximately six months to reach the 500 million downloads mark. Something which iTunes needed two years for!
My expenses on mobile content tripled
If I take myself as an example, during my pre-iPhone life I spent maybe 10, 20 euro on mobile content, a number that’s already been tripled since I own an iPhone. With one big difference, as opposed to the money spent on ringtones during my teenage life, the money I spent in the App Store seems well worth it. Oh, how I love to play Super Monkey Ball when I can’t sleep, writing to-do’s in the tube with Things, reliving Mario Kart on the airport with Crash Kart Bandikoot or checking tube delays and routes with MyTube before I get out of bed. I can’t do without them anymore. But that’s not the main reason of the App Store success, that’s the great amount of free apps ready to be downloaded. In an environment where many things are offered for free, it can be very tempting to just pay a little fee for the stuff you really want.
But what’s the commercial value of all of this? Well, all those applications are waiting to be monetized through either banner advertising or more bespoke solutions. Mobile advertising company AdMob is already offering mobile inventory in iPhone App and Carling has showed a more bespoke solution with their famous iPint (the most downloaded free application in the App Store).
So if you were wondering: ‘But iPhone users surf the normal Internet, right? How can mobile Internet be big then?’ Your answer: It’s all going to be about apps. So as soon as most of us have iPhone like devices with App Store like stores, mobile marketing will be a very very significant industry.