Branded apps must go back to basics — Ogilvy

Branded apps must go back to basics — Ogilvy

21 MAY 2014

LIVE FROM OPEN MOBILE SUMMIT, LONDON: Branded apps must go back to basics and focus on user experience if they are to be successful, according to James Shepherd (pictured), associate director of mobile for customer engagement agency OgilvyOne Worldwide.

“I believe one of the biggest problems, with [branding] agencies in particular, is mobile is seen as a gimmick. We really need to pay attention to the user experience,” Shepherd said.

The marketing executive recounted a story of a client that sponsored county cricket in the UK and wanted to develop an app that used the smartphone accelerometer and image of a cricket ball to replicate the action of bowling for users. The fastest bowlers would win tickets to a cricket match.

However, with users moving their phones at speed, the app was nicknamed ‘the throw your phone at the wall’ app — clearly not something that was going to work.

This showed “a fundamental flaw” in how marketing professionals regard mobile as a box-ticking exercise without proper thought or rigour, according to Shepherd.

He added that consumers don’t really care about the technology behind mobile tools but want a good user experience, with marginal gains in design making a big difference.

Shepherd compared apps offered by airlines British Airways and Easyjet, the latter of which he regards as the market leader. In a comparative test, finding and booking a flight took three minutes 38 seconds with the Easyjet app compared with six minutes 43 seconds on the BA version.

The simplicity and ease of use of the Easyjet app makes it much more appealing and with 40 per cent of consumers using a rival app if they have a bad experience, this is critical.

Simplicity is one element of success for branded apps, with less choice often better for user experience and more effective in terms of converting mobile transactions. “We can convert more by mobile if we can convert quicker,” Shepherd noted.

Brands and marketing agencies must also regard mobile as a strategy rather than just a channel that needs to be addressed.

“I believe mobile will only become the channel it can be if it’s baked into everything we do,” Shepherd said.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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