In January we released a Petfood Industry App for Android smartphones, joining the Apps available for a year now for iPhones and iPads. Considering our readership is global (nearly 50% of our audience is outside North America), we want readers to be able to access current and back issues of the magazine as well as our website -- all the Apps include links to the latest news and products -- in as many digital formats as possible. That holds true for all readers, no matter where they're located, because in today's busy world, mobile is becoming a key way to reach people.
Consider this: More than 300,000 mobile Apps have been developed in the past three years, according to MobiThinking.com, and they’ve been downloaded 10.9 billion times. Another tech source, Flurry Blog, puts the number of App downloads at 40 billion.
The point is, a lot of people are downloading a lot of Apps. Flurry Blog also says that since 2007, more than 500 million Apple and Android smartphones and tablets have been activated and projects that number to surge past 1 billion by the end of this year.
Further, smartphone and tablet users now spend over an hour and half a day using Apps, the tech blog reports. Though the growth rate of time spent on Apps has slowed (15% increase from June to December 2011, compared to 23% growth from December 2010 to June 2011), the trend is still rising, with the growth driven by an increase in the number of App sessions rather than longer sessions. “Consumers are using their Apps more frequently,” Furry Blog says.
Despite this widespread and growing use of mobile devices and Apps for them, surprisingly few petfood companies or brands have Apps. The few exceptions include Nestle Purina's Petcentric for iTunes and Android, plus P&G's Eukanuba Unleashed and one from a smaller company called KC Pet Foods for iTunes. (If you know of others or your company has an App, please share in the comments section below.)
Developing an App can be resource-intensive, and not all companies have the right type of information, service or entertainment to offer in App form. If that’s the case for your brand, you should still seriously consider a mobile advertising and marketing strategy. MobiThinking cites 6 billion cellular subscriptions worldwide as of January 2012; 1.2 billion of those are mobile-broadbrand.
One idea is to consider advertising within other pet-related Apps that include ads. Another might be to include or link mobile marketing to a social media strategy, another critical way to reach today's consumers. (Flurry Blog says the increase in App usage is partially driven by rising mobile visits to Facebook.)
Bottom line: If you’re not using mobile or social media to promote your brands, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity.