Why the sun may still shine on TV for boosting your app

(c)iStock.com/RyanJLane

With over two million apps on both the App Store and Google Play, it has never been harder to acquire new users. Unless you are a big developer, cutting through the noise is increasingly difficult. Added to the number of apps, expectations with apps and mobile games are increasingly high, with people expecting better experiences and more innovation, often for free.

In many ways, creating an app is the easy part. Getting people to find out about it, download and then come back is where the real struggle begins. Each day, around 1,000 apps are uploaded to Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Many developers are using mobile, social and online advertising to promote their app which ultimately means they are all competing for the same inventory and the same potential audience.

As developers look for new routes to market, TV is becoming an increasingly appealing option and contrary to popular opinion, the imminent demise of TV as an advertising medium has been greatly exaggerated. This may surprise many developers. Results are showing that  TV advertising remains one of the most effective ways to not only build an app’s brand but also to drive downloads.

Here are the top reasons why this is the case:

TV outperforms digital and offline channels

TV is twice as effective, per impact, as any other medium. This is according to ThinkBox, the UK marketing body for TV advertising. For every £1 spent on TV advertising, brands who use TV effectively see a return of £1.79.  

When adverts are creative, TV is 12 times more efficient at driving market share. TV just works.

Overall, TV is more engaging. Unlike video ads that pop up on websites or in apps which many people find disruptive, on TV, it is the medium they expect. TV advertising can also be far more creative. This helps developers to show the gameplay experience, as opposed to just a static image.

Compared with mobile or online advertising, there is also much less chance that users will accidentally click on an advert. With TV, people have to search for your game, making the intent to download and try the app, far higher.

Reach a new audience

In the UK, TV reaches 83% of the population. In Germany, commercial TV reaches around 92.8% of the population in a week. France, 93%. Italy, 89%. It goes on and on.

Whilst many younger people may claim ‘not to watch live TV’, the statistics say otherwise.  It’s also a part of the population that may not spend as much time using Facebook, or other digital channels. For many developers, this provides a new captive audience.

And then there are the second screeners. According to Statista (http://www.statista.com/topics/1906/mobile-gaming/), smartphone and tablet games are most often played at home. Many people who may not ‘watch TV’ spend their evenings on the sofa, playing games, with people who are watching TV. Indeed, a Google report from 2012 revealed 81% of TV viewers use their mobile phone at the same time.

Picture credit: Google

TV has a ‘halo effect’ on other marketing channels

TV by itself may not be the silver bullet to gaining more downloads of your game or app. What TV does, more than any other channel is exert a halo effect over your other marketing activity. Mobile may be at the centre of the digital ecosystem, but TV is at the centre of advertising.

Research has also shown that advertising on TV can add more uplift to your app and other campaign activity. According to the IPA’s ‘Marketing in the Era of Accountability’ report, TV helps to boost online search activity by up to 35%. The report also found that the effects of TV radiate across other social media channels, such as Twitter or YouTube.

TV tells more of the story on large screens

There’s a good reason people prefer larger screened phones - you can do more with them.

Larger screens may not have much impact on whether people pay attention to advertising, but they do help to tell more of the story. There’s a good reason why watching a film in the cinema can be more immersive than watching it at home.

Once again, it’s all about driving that deeper engagement with a product or brand that TV and video does, better than anything else.

This permeates into the home too. According to the Consumer Technology Association, the average TV screen size today is about 47-inches. TV is, therefore, the largest screen we spend in front of.

Contextual significance

Call of Duty. Monument Valley. Arg.io. In all but one season of House of Cards, the producers have chosen a game and featured or referenced it in the show. In the week that Monument Valley featured in House of Cards, UsTwo saw an 8x increase in downloads. According to reports, the developers behind these games didn’t pay any money.

It’s unlikely you’ll have an Alec-Baldwin-kicked-off-a-plane-for-playing-Words-With-Friends moment: You can advertise on TV and use that advertising to creating contextual significance around shows or events.

One example of this was a campaign for Best Fiends by Seriously. For one part of the  campaign, targeted at the US Hispanic market, a sketch was created within the hugely popular Univision TV show ‘Sabadazo’.

As a developer, reaching new users is only getting more difficult. As mobile advertising has soared, so have the costs. For acquisition, mobile is almost equal to TV advertising. When correctly executed, TV’s halo effect means it will help to boost wider marketing campaigns.

Beyond TV’s ability to help drive downloads is its ability to build brand awareness and loyalty. TV remains the best medium to build long-term awareness and brand equity. Whilst we may be a bit biased in this opinion, we see the evidence of it every day with the campaigns we’re involved with. There’s a good reason that an increasing number of mobile app and game developers are turning to TV, it works.

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