7 Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage Third-Party Apps for Local Search & Marketing
Apps consume the majority of mobile media time, but local business apps struggle to compete for attention. Columnist Wesley Young looks at how SMBs can instead use space on the most popular apps to get in front of customers.
Much of the growth in mobile can be attributed to apps. In its 2015 US Mobile App Report, comScore reports that while time spent in mobile digital media use has grown 49 percent since 2013, app usage grew by 90 percent during that same period and constituted 77 percent of all time spent on digital media.
With all that time spent on apps, is there a way that local businesses can get a piece of the action?
The problem is that the average smartphone user only visits about 25 apps each month — and 96 percent of time spent on smartphone apps occurs in the user’s top 10 apps. (Tablet users are even higher, spending 99 percent of their app time on their top 10 apps.) That doesn’t leave much room for a small local business to get attention via its own app.
The one exception might be for businesses built on frequent habitual use, like coffee shops or fitness centers. Popular apps like Facebook get regular return visits through constantly updated news feed content that users get into the habit of checking. Starbucks increased unique users of its app by 100 percent from 2013 to 2015, comScore finds, and Dunkin Donuts, while capturing fewer visitors overall, increased use by 456 percent in the same period. Never underestimate the power of users’ strong daily coffee habits.
Nevertheless, building a solo app likely isn’t a good investment for your average local business. But there are ways that local businesses can get exposure on third-party apps. ComScore ranked the Top 25 apps by unique visitors, as illustrated in the chart below.
While a vast national user base for these third-party apps may not seem relevant to a local business that is only trying to attract a tiny segment of the market, broad use means there is a greater chance that the local business’s audience uses the app and therefore can help provide exposure for the store or business.
Below, I look at seven ways small businesses can take advantage of third-party apps to help drive search results and customers to their stores.
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