I recently hosted an Econsultancy roundtable discussion where senior client-side marketers shared their successes and challenges in regards to mobile marketing.

The roundtable was subject to the Chatham House Rule so attendees will remain anonymous.

However I can say that the session was joined by marketers from a variety of industries, including financial services and travel.

Each of the brands get more than 50% of their site traffic from mobile, and each has at least one native app.

As the moderator I’ll use this blog to pick up on the main challenges the group face. We split the session into four topics: developing strategy, video content, driving value from apps and managing efficient mobile advertising campaigns.

Mobile strategy – are you managing expectations? 

The group agreed that mobile strategy is all about “creating mobile experiences which consistently provide value to the user, and using analytics to learn where users are finding most value.”

Whether managing apps, responsive sites or messaging platforms, the real challenge is deciding who owns the strategy, and making sure both marketing and development teams have a shared vision of what customers like or dislike, and how to provide the best user experience.

This group was well versed in using analytics to track the features which users love most, but there was a surprising lack of face-to-face focus groups to get feedback direct from users.    

Managing expectations is the big issue here – particularly when managing app projects.  

If the chief executive expects to see all app investment deliver big returns (e.g. additional sales, repeat usage) it’s important to push back and point out that essential maintenance and responding to feedback is equally important – to keep users on board, and to get the best ratings and reviews.   

Video content – one size fits all or personalised video?

With Mary Meeker predicting that 74% of all internet traffic will be video by 2017, and with mobile watch time on YouTube already surpassing desktop, video was sure to feature in our discussion.  

Developing ideas for branded content and coming up with ways to create trully customer-oriented content is the easy bit.

We heard about an excellent personalised video created by Thomas Cook with staff at a Greek hotel recording a thank you video for their guests, ending with an invite to come back next year. That works wonders for repeat bookings.

[Editor’s note: Thomas Cook gave us permission to break the Chatham House Rule on this occasion]

The group has got to grips with streaming services like Facebook Live and Meerkat, so video is delivering on many fronts.  

But one wrinkle exists – download speeds and data costs still prove a barrier to video adoption, particularly for users abroad, and those with no WiFi access.  

Driving value from apps 

We started by discussing the business case for developing native apps – what can a native app deliver that can’t be delivered through the browser?  

Developing a stellar app is just the start. What sets apart the successful apps with a long lifespan from those which hit an early retirement is an engagement plan to reward users for their time and loyalty.  

We heard an example of newly launched app supported by a search, PPC and YouTube campaign.

Download results were rapid and could be clearly attributed to the app marketing channels used. The success was rewarded with an eight-fold uplift in marketing spend.  

Other apps lacked marketing support, and saw usage numbers flatline.

In the retail space, app commerce company Poq tracks the most effective ways to boost engagement and spend in its App Commerce Report

For example, adding a ‘Wishlist’ button can inspire repeat purchases. Users who add items to their wishlist have a 1.8x higher conversion rates than average, and spend 3.6x longer browsing.

Furthermore, adding share buttons can boost referrals.

Shoppers who use social sharing are twice as likely to keep using the app, and deliver over 3x higher conversion rates than the average.

Managing efficient mobile advertising campaigns 

Of the topics discussed, mobile advertising presented the widest range of views.  

While some saw the obvious upside in carrying ads on their sites and apps, there was a strong sense that the spread of pre-roll video ads and interstitials are invasive, and not welcomed by their customers.    

We ended by weighing up the case for outsourcing mobile ads to third-party trading desks and building in-house capabilities, which stirred recurring questions about transparency and trust with agencies and trading desks. 

Last word 

We’d love to hear from you with recommendations for video compression tech and partners.  

If you can share experiences of app marketing which builds loyalty and revenue, please leave your comments.