The Effectiveness of Branded Mobile Phone Apps

E-commerce is evolving in a tremendous pace. A few years ago, marketing strategies of companies towards e-commerce were based on e-mail or place advertisements online. The last one, online advertisement, is nowadays still a popular marketing-instrument. But what’s changed in the strategy last few years? Almost everyone is having and using it every minute of the day: a smartphone. But, what is so special regarding mobile telephone marketing? It is the effectiveness of branded mobile phone apps.

According to Hutton and Rodnick (2009) an important reason for the popularity of branded apps as a marketing device is their high level of user engagement and the positive impact this presumably has on attitudes toward the sponsoring brand. In contrast to aforementioned ways of marketing, the branded apps are welcomed as “useful,” which suggests that they may be one of the most powerful forms of advertising yet developed. There has been solely research done towards the potential of customized text messages, however hardly research has been done regarding the personal nature of the mobile phone. This study examines how to optimize the promising marketing potential of apps.

An online survey is conducted as pre-test measure. Subsequently, an experiment is conducted, which measures psychophysiological factors,  in order to investigate the effectiveness of branded mobile phone apps. A strength of this study, after the different methods used in this research, is the elimination of self-selection effects. Each participant was asked to interact with all eight test apps during the experiment to eliminate these effects.

This study confirms the positive persuasive impact, increasing interest in the brand and also the brand’s product category through the use of branded mobile phone apps. Branded apps have a large effect on the favourability of brand attitude, but only a small effect on purchase intention. However, there is a difference towards effectiveness among the branded apps. Research emphasized the importance of a creative execution style, which improved the effectiveness. Moreover, applications that used an informational style were more effective at shifting purchase intention, compared to apps that used an experiential style. There is also a difference towards gender. In male participants there is a difference between the psychophysiological measures biometric measure, heart rate, suggestive of the informational style focusing attention internally and thereby encouraging the generation of personal connections with the brand. Within the female participants there is hardly difference.

This study emphasized the increasingly importance of branded mobile phone applications. It is an indication towards the marketing department to focus more and more on mobile phones, and less on physical marketing or e-mail. More specifically, branded apps offer the unique benefits of mobile marketing communications, following consumers wherever they go, and able to be updated with the latest localized information and deals. One thing is for sure, marketing strategies have to focus more on branded mobile phone apps.


Hutton, G. & Rodnick, S. (2009) Smartphone opens up new opportunities for smart marketing. Admap, vol. 44(11), pp. 22-44

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