IU Research Shows Marketing Power of Branded Mobile Apps

A new study co-authored by an Indiana University professor seems to confirm that which we already suspect – mobile applications crafted to promote a specific brand are tremendously effective and memorable marketing tools.

According to the researchers, retailers who develop apps overcome challenges being presented by dramatic shifts in television viewing and barriers to advertising on mobile devices. Using the app, consumers “talk to the brand, not the other way around,” and consumers feel comfortable controlling how much information they reveal when they customize the app.

“We found a double benefit,” said Robert F. Potter, director of the Institute for Communication Research at IU Bloomington and an associate professor of telecommunications in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, said people tend to have deeper personal connections with mobile devices than they do with websites. “First, the app increases the general interest in the product category that you’re trying to sell, and then the app also improves the attitude that you have toward the sponsoring brand … and the purchase intention that you have towards the product — your product. You have a more favorable attitude toward the brand that’s sponsoring the app when you go to think about where you shop.”

Potter and company ran a series of tests and lab sessions to observe the impact of branded apps on a wide variety of diverse subjects.

“We found through the physiology measures that when you have an app that provides people with information that it is something they internalize and personalize more than the external-based focus of the game-based app,” Potter said. “You’ve invited the brand into your life and onto your phone. If it’s an informational app, you’re inviting that brand even deeper in, because now you’re thinking about what’s in your life and apply it to the things that the apps are presenting you with. With the experiential app, things are still kept at a distance — you’re still experiencing it on your phone and not in your life.”

To read more about the full extent of this fascinating research, click here.