Let’s take a minute to talk about the mobile experience. We know that mobile usage is growing faster than ever. Current statistics tell us that 80% of Internet users own a smartphone, and they’re using them often. But, how often they’re using them isn’t nearly as important as how they’re using them, and right now it’s all about apps.

The average mobile user spends about 90% of their usage time on apps. That adds up to lots of minutes, even hours, every day. What are businesses, including yours, doing to optimize the time consumers are spending on mobile apps?

First, if you’re stuck on the idea that mobile apps are only for short form content, it’s time to put those outdated ideas aside. Mobile apps and long form content make perfect partners, and focusing on a content centered experience is a great way to generate engagement with your mobile app.

Answering the Call for Great Mobile Content

We tend to think of apps in terms of small, bite size bits of content. But, the very nature of the mobile app tells us otherwise. First, if someone has downloaded your app, they’re already somewhat invested in your brand and willing to engage. They’re an opted-in audience that’s already interested in what you have to say.

Next, we look at some of the ways consumers are already using apps. News and magazine apps are popular and built off a long form content platform, as is Kindle. Users have made it clear that they have no problem with a content-centered app experience, in fact in many instances, they prefer it.

Apps are a boredom solution and a way to fill up spare time. Waiting at the doctors?  Waiting for the train? Have 10 minutes left of your lunch break? Just want to chill at the end of the day? Mobile apps are the solution to each of these scenarios, and they each present an amazing opportunity for your brand.

flipboard

Flipboard uses personalization and an easy to navigate interface to give users easy access to the articles they care about.

Develop a Mobile Centered Content Strategy

It almost seems too easy, doesn’t it? Of course, content for mobile apps should be mobile centered, but how many of us really understand what that means? While longer form content is great, we need to remember one thing.

Humans have surprisingly short attention spans. In fact, our attention spans have only shortened since 2000, and now it looks like our attention span is less than that of a goldfish. Yikes.

Develop a Mobile Centered Content Strategy

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This short attention span isn’t an invitation to skip longer content, but it is important in learning how to best adapt to a content centered mobile experience. When someone has their phone in their hands, these 8 seconds are going to make or break you. It’s just too easy to back out of your app and move onto something else.

So, you need to capture their attention with your content fast, optimally in 2 seconds or less. This leaves you with 5-6 additional seconds to convince them to stay. With written content, you’ll want to get to the point as soon as possible, and let them know the value of reading through. Then, break down your content into very short, digestible pieces. Paragraphs that aren’t any longer that a couple of sentences and flow smoothly from one to the next.

The same is true with video. If they’re waiting around to find out why they’re there, you might as consider it a defeat. Blast your audience with a rush of engaging content that stirs enough interest to convince them to stay until the end.

Personalization Matters

Mobile apps are expected to perform a function, whether it’s entertainment or filling a need, there’s a reason yours was downloaded onto their phone. This is prime real estate for content that makes a huge impact. And, for content that really matters, you don’t need to look any further than personalization.

What makes an app more useful than personalization? In fact, it’s a concept that most apps are centered on. Tapping into this with content is an engagement goldmine.

Starbucks, for example, looks at user behavioral data to generate special orders and discounts. A local coffee shop might personalize content in their app by promoting a video on how to make a special coffee drink at home for the user that’s always trying what’s new. Or, maybe a blog piece about the health benefits of coffee for the person who orders a small, black coffee every week day. It’s about picking up on minute consumer habits and tailoring app content to their interests.

Starbucks Screencap

A solid strategy for personalizing app content is to make it event based, meaning that a certain event triggers specific content. Achieving this is a three-step process.

First, you’ll need to analyze customer behavior to determine which events are trigger worthy. It could be a singular purchase, or a certain threshold that’s reached through the app. Think along the lines of loyalty apps and how they reward for certain behaviors, except in this case, the reward is highly relevant, personalized content.

Second, you’ll need a content creation strategy in place so that the content that’s being produced matches your goals.

And, finally, event-based content can be a little tricky to manage. Technology that helps you analyze behavior and match it to content is beyond helpful.

Is personalization worth all the effort, even in mobile apps? You bet. All we need to do is look at Amazon for a little inspiration. 35% of their revenue is generated from their recommendation engine, which is a type of personalization. Stop for a minute and think about how Amazon might be a third smaller if they never attempted personalization. Now, stop for a minute and think about what an extra 35% in revenue could do for you.

Work With a Professional App Developer

The world of digital marketing can be too vast to need to navigate it on your own, especially when you start factoring in app management. We can connect you to a community of digital marketing experts who will help you create a winning content strategy for your mobile apps. Browse the top mobile app development companies in the United States to get started today.

Leilani Wertens Headshot
Content Manager at

Leilani oversees content production for the white label services team at UpCity. Previously she led the content department at L2TMedia, a digital marketing agency focused on the automotive industry. Her prior experience includes marketing Chicago-area flea markets, teaching photo history to Columbia College students, and writing articles for LAist.com and Citysearch. In her free time, Leilani enjoys photographing architecture, researching local history, and hunting for Mid Century Modern decor.