How mobile apps are driving social media into the heart of large organisations

Mobile apps used to be seen as a luxury but recent research and the changing demographics of both consumers and employees are driving them into the heart of...

mobile for internal communications

Mobile apps used to be seen as a luxury but recent research and the changing demographics of both consumers and employees are driving them into the heart of marketing and communication strategies.

The Guardian published a post this morning highlighting an established fact for businesses today: mobile apps are a crucial new marketing channel.

The piece cites the case of lingerie seller, Victoria’s Secret, which already has two apps, but expects to launch more. Why? Because a certain demographic, namely Generation Y and younger, are completely hooked on them.

Analysis indicates that the average Gen Y consumer spends two hours a day on their mobile phone and uses 6 apps per day. So if your target market includes anyone under the age of 30, apps need to be on your marketing radar. If you add social media to the mix (55% of mobile phone users engage in social networking) you’re really maximising engagement.

Apps don’t have to be expensive and they are likely to achieve better results than your website – even if the latter is optimised for mobile (i.e. fully responsive). Research from Adobe published last year indicated that users of tablets spend an average of 24 minutes in an app, four times that of a typical website visitor. Mobile users spend over 13 minutes on apps – so the gains of having apps for both mobile and tablet are pretty obvious.

Another interesting angle to this is the use of apps for internal communications. I’m going to be hosting a webinar in two weeks time with Dave Shepherd of Barclays Bank. His story is a compelling one for any large organisation. A few years ago Barclays realised they were struggling to communicate with their 13,000 branch staff across the UK (many of whom fit the exact demographic I cited above).

Rather than creating an email newsletter or reworking their Intranet, Dave and his team created a mobile social app which staff could download and use, whenever, wherever, on their own phones. The idea was to make it really useful – and it met that requirement to such an extent that, at times, it’s been used by over 10,000 of their staff.

Now, there are downsides to using apps internally. Security can be a nightmare and some staff have reported feeling disgruntled about having to use their own mobile phone for work. A recent survey found that 54% of staff who use their phone for work purposes receive no reimbursement from their employer – something I think is likely to change in the coming years as mobile apps become more dominant in internal communications.

Join me for a fascinating webinar discussion with Dave Shepherd of Barclays and Richard Hughes from BroadVision at 3pm on 27th November. Book your place here.

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