Digital marketing for mobile apps is quite a significant part of operations. Source: Shutterstock

Digital marketing for mobile apps is quite a significant part of operations. Source: Shutterstock

Digital marketing lessons from SOCAR for app-based businesses

MOBILE apps are a significant part of the core offering of many new-age businesses, and hence, digital marketing is a key focus for CEOs and business leaders at these companies.

Failing to attract users to install the app will definitely cause the business to collapse.

Last year, one such app-based business was launched in Malaysia and it used digital marketing to quickly gain a significant user base, building up more than 200,000 app installs.

Dubbed SOCAR, the app-based car sharing company claims it is among the top apps in its category on Android and iOS app stores.

What’s especially interesting is that the company claims that its cost per install is usually less than US$1 — significantly lowerer than the global average of US$4.08 per install.

To explain how SOCAR does it, Tech Wire Asia spoke to CEO Leon Foong:

“At SOCAR, our team understands the science of marketing, so they use programmatic buying, A/B testing, and other tactics to ensure we get the most out of our marketing budget. But we also appreciate that there’s another component to marketing — the art of marketing — that involves using research and insights to understand the customer with a creative flair.”

Truth be told, although app-based companies face significant competition in the APAC, the region also holds great promise. According to a new report, the APAC will account for 50 percent of global app installs by 2020, which is 3x more than in any other region.

In fact, the average mobile device view time has risen to 2.7 hours per day in the APAC, with countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia reporting averages of 3.9, 3.7, and 3.4 hours per day — explaining why mobile-apps are big business in the region.

While companies like SOCAR use outdoor marketing to a certain extent, they do have a strong focus on digital marketing as the latter helps keep marketing efforts targeted and ensure ROIs are met.

“Everything done with digital marketing can be tracked. From the moment someone clicks your display ads to the time they download your app. You can track the entire journey.”

“The beauty of it now, you’re looking at the same ads from multiple devices, multiple mediums, so the question now is how do we actually optimize the channels across all devices to get the end goal at the cheapest cost?”

Like Foong explained, the company focused on ensuring that the company uses insights about the customer to creatively think about their digital marketing efforts.

It’s why the company doesn’t just rely on evergreen ads to attract new interest and encourage returning users.

SOCAR leverages seasonality that takes key festivals and local insights (culture, ideologies, etc) into account to design ads and deliver campaigns that optimize their effectiveness and maximize their budgets.

At the end of the day, for app-businesses, digital marketing should not only be about big budgets but also making the most of their ad spends — and the best way to do that is to get creative with their ads and use insights to create smarter ads that better appeal to its target audience.