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Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.10.47 AMYour mobile app is not alone.

There’s a good chance that many customers using your mobile app have also installed a competitor’s mobile app.  Just because your app is on 1 million, 10 million, or 100 million mobile devices doesn’t mean you have exclusive access to those customers.

If a customer has installed the app for your coffee shop, they’ve probably installed apps for other coffee shop.  Same for drug stores, sporting goods stores, clothing stores, footwear stores, etc.

This situation – one user/multiple apps – presents a couple of critical problems for mobile marketers:

  1.  How do you know what apps you’re competing with?
  2. How can you do something about it?

Who are you competing with?

As a first step, you need to know what competitive apps are on your customers’ mobile devices.  Who exactly is competing for the users’ attention?

Even more useful, you’d like to know whose apps are used most frequently.  Are competitors’ apps opened more often than yours?  Is your app actually used, or is it simply an icon taking up real estate on the screen?

What can you do about it?

Once you know who exactly you’re competing with for the customer’s attention, you need a way to do something about it.  It would be valuable to have a way to grab attention and usage away from your competitors.

It would be useful to know when new apps appear on your customers’ devices.  In that case, you could immediately reach out to those customers and provide an incentive for them to stick with you, and not wander over to competitors.

Or if those customers have already “defected” to the competitors, you could provide an incentive to lure them back.  You could target a special incentive just for them:  a “welcome back” coupon, a price matching offer, or some other promotion.

Answers are easily available

Good news.  The answers to those two questions – who are the competing apps and what can you do about it – are readily available.

And they’re available not from a data broker or some other outside source.  The information you need is easily accessible from your own customers.

Apptient Mobile Segment Intelligence (formerly Marlin Mobile) lets you see what other apps are installed on your customers’ mobile devices.  You can see not only who you’re sharing the screen with, but how often those other apps are being used.

Better still, the Apptient solution provides a way to identify those particular customers that are running competitors’ apps, so you can reach them directly.  You can specifically target offers to retain or re-acquire customers.

So not only so you know who’s trying to steal your customers, but you can do something about it.

When it comes to knowing their mobile customers, many companies have a bad case of tunnel vision.  And it’s a problem that costs them a lot of money.

Retailers, game companies, and publishers can see a lot about what a customer is doing when they’re inside their mobile application.

But that’s only a small slice of the customer’s activity. These companies have no idea of what the customer does when they’re outside the app. Once they leave, what do they do, where do they go, what do they buy or play or read?

The apps on their phone reveal a lot about a person

 Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.21.54 AM

Companies can use that information to learn a great deal about that customer’s interests and behavior.

More importantly, not knowing what other apps are on your customer’s phone can be very costly.

You could be paying too much to acquire customers

If you don’t know what your mobile users are doing outside your app, you could be paying much more to acquire new users than you should be. If you’re paying $2, $3, maybe even $4 for each new user acquired from outside sources, you could be wasting a lot of money.

You could be acquiring these new users much less expensively. You could save yourself from writing a large check every month to Facebook, Twitter, Fiksu or another data broker.

How? You need to know more about your users and what apps they were running on their phones.

Run the numbers to prove it

Consider an example to compare the costs of acquiring a new customer through two different options:

  • Option 1: Buying a new customer from an outside broker
  • Option 2:  Acquiring a customer on your own by better understanding their interests

Option 1: If you’re a gaming company looking to acquire new customers, you could buy those customers from an outside broker. For the sake of illustration, assume you pay a $3 cost per install (CPI).

Making some reasonable assumptions about conversions, a campaign targeting 1 million users might yield 15,000 new users. That means you’ll be paying the outside broker $45,000.

Option 2: But there’s a second option. Instead of buying users for your game from a third party data broker, consider acquiring them from your own existing users. If you could discover what other games are on their mobile devices, you could identify likely users for the new game. You could then cross-promote to these users through targeted ads or promotions, a much less expensive way to reach them.

 Seeing all the apps on a device lets you target customers more cost-effectively


Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.17.42 AM

Estimate that is would cost $3 per thousand (CPM) to deliver an ad to those targeted users.   To reach 1 million users would cost $3000. That’s a fraction of the $45,000 that you would have paid an outside broker for those new users.

In other words, you’re paying 15 times more for new users than you should be.

Plug in your own numbers. See for yourself how much you’re overpaying.

Purchase new customers from outside broker

Acquire new customers by targeting existing users based on their interests

Number of targets 1,000,000 1,000,000
% click through 5% 5%
Clicks 50,000 50,000
% conversion 30% 30%
Conversions to new customer 15,000 15,000
Cost per customer $3.00 CPI $0.003 ($3 CPM)
Total cost $45,000 $3,000




Customers using your mobile app reveal a lot about themselves.

They generate data about what they do when they’re inside your app: where they go, what they look at, how long they stay, etc.

Plus they generate data on what they do when they’re outside your app: what other apps are installed on their mobile device, are those apps complementary or competitors, are they used more often than your app, etc.


rainbow screenshot

Information on all the apps running on users’ mobile devices