The use of mobile apps has grown significantly in the last year as a new study shows that more than 90% of the world’s biggest brands are using them as marketing tools, according to Warc.com.
Research group Distimo looked into whether the top 100 members of Interbrand’s 2011 Best Global Brands list are selling apps in such app stores as those run by Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, Warc reports. (For those of you keeping score at home, brandchannel is owned by Interbrand.)
"Global brands have realized over the past 18 months that app stores offer a viable channel to promote their brand, reach consumers, and for a subset of brands, sell content," the study said.
The researchers found that 91% of Interbrand's top 100 brands are selling apps, up from 51% last year. The top of the heap, by a long shot, was Disney, which had 636 apps. Runner-up Sony came in second with 285, while BMW came in third with 63. MTV and Cisco came in a close fourth and fifth with 62 and 61, respectively.
In all, the top 100 brands had 2,343 apps, the report found, an increase from 1,631 in 2010.
As to where all of these brands sell their apps, the Apple iPhone App store led the way with 86% of the brands represented there. The iPad App store had 66% and Google's Android Market notched a 59%. Blackberry only had 26% while Amazon's App Store filled out the top five with 14%. (Those who haven’t gotten in on the fun, Warc notes, are Burberry, Kleenex, Corona, HSBC, and Moet & Chandon.)
Meanwhile, top U.S. brands such as American Apparel, Unilever, and Whole Foods are starting to do more deals with online discount sites such as Groupon and Living Social, according to the Financial Times.
Daily-deal sites are generally known to be more part of a local marketing landscape, but things are shifting to include more national brands, the FT notes.
“At the store level and at the geographic level, this makes brands much smarter about who their customers really are,” said Jed Williams, an analyst with BIA/Kelsey, FT.com reports. “Whether it’s Groupon delivering that in five years or not, that’s an aside to what group buying has done to move customers to the cash register. Brands understand there’s nothing faddish about that.”
One innovative use is being done by Visa with LivingSocial in Atlanta, the FT reports. When someone makes a LivingSocial voucher purchase in that area, they are offered a second voucher if they switch their credit-card info on LivingSocial to Visa.
Microsoft had a similar program that offered “wealthy educated women who bought family-orientated deals” $5 for a future purchase if they watched “a video about how mothers can use Windows 7 to run their households,” the FT reports.
“We wanted to see how we could use Groupon and LivingSocial to extend our existing marketing efforts,” said Marty Collins, director of emerging media at Microsoft, according to the newspaper. “It was a very successful campaign for us, compared to other campaigns in more traditional channels.”