Friday, January 22, 2010

The White House Joins the App Craze

It’s been a political week, so I might as well end the week on a political note. The White House must have been reading eMarketer also; it announced its own app on Tuesday.

The eMarketer newsletter (January 21, 2010) quoted a study by DM@PRO and Quattro Wireless that has a lot more good data on building and promoting apps. If you’re the White House, promotion isn’t that much of a problem, but the reasons for the app certainly apply. Think about it; they pretty much boil down to ‘it’s where our customers are’ and ‘it’s gotten a lot easier.’

I downloaded The White House app and it works as promised. Plenty of photos and videos; access to the White House blog, which is pretty informative. Apparently I can watch the State of the Union speech streamed live next week. After just a few days the reviews on the App Store are pretty good. It’s clean and quick and those who have used the streaming say the speed is good. Only real complaint I saw is that it’s not compatible with the first generation iPod, but to be fair, it says that on the store page. I’m a huge fan of the first dog, so I choose a screen capture that included him. The White House furnished several screen captures—they know quite a bit about promotion—and you can see more on Huffington Post.

The study says that Facebook is still the most popular venue for apps with 45% of the marketers surveyed having developed Facebook apps. iPhone comes in second with 42%. Our own site or community comes in third at only 36%. How do you choose? According to eMarketer:

Engagement was the top reason to choose either mobile or social as an app platform, but social sites were perceived as better for many top goals, including engagement, audience targeting, sharing and branding potential, and reach. Mobile scored higher on creative control and persistence.

Interesting! I recently ran across a Facebook app that lets you send a newsletter from your page—sort of. According to Nutshell Mail, you can “Automatically send the latest feeds from your page to your fans' email inboxes.” Not for me, thank you. It’s worth looking at, though, just to see what’s possible.

There are at least two take-aways here:

1. Apps are still in their early days and marketers are finding more creative, and even useful, ways to use them. Think branding, think pushing your message out to people who have indicated willingness to receive it.
2. Mobile is finally here, although it still has a lot of room for development and growth. Think about the moms described yesterday who are using smart phones to manage their lives, shopping included. Retailers were urged to take heed. Brand markets are also.

What’s next for The White House?, according to the blog.

What’s next for this app user? While I was looking for this one, I found a camcorder app that is getting pretty good reviews for 3G users who don’t want to spend the money for a 3GS. At $.99, the app is a much better buy. What else does that say about today’s mobilized world?

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