Mobile Monetization

3 Strategies to Move Mobile Users from Web to App

Key Takeaways:

  • Mobile apps deliver 2x the new user retention power and 3x the conversions compared to mobile websites.
  • When using traditional UA channels, capturing a web user can cost 82% less than driving an app install.
  • Create a seamless omnichannel experience, promote your app on your mobile website, and incentivize app downloads to improve customer LTV while still meeting your bottom line.

App stores are crowded, mobile development can be pricey, and capturing (and keeping) users can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. But despite these challenges, industry research shows that branded mobile apps — and the users they attract — are much more valuable than mobile web. According to App Annie, smartphone users spend 7x more time in native apps than in browsers. Additionally, time spent in-app is steadily increasing year over year and is projected to reach a daily average of nearly 3 hours this year – while time spent on mobile web remains stagnant. 

Recent research by Criteo shows that mobile apps deliver 2x the new user retention power and 3x the conversions than mobile websites. And apps account for over 70% of mobile sales, with in-app transactions continuing to grow 22% year-over-year. While this all sounds exciting, capturing user attention (and in-app dollars) requires app usage. 

That simple reality is why web-to-app conversions are a huge priority for brands. In fact, 50% of companies surveyed for Branch’s Mobile Growth Industry Report said that directing customers to their app from their mobile website is a top priority for mobile user acquisition. Yet despite app installs being a huge priority, there’s one big caveat: capturing a web user still costs 82% less than driving an app install. So how can you encourage your web users to engage with your mobile app in a way that still makes sense for your bottom line? 

Here are three leading (and cost-effective) strategies to move your mobile web users to your mobile app: 

1. Create a seamless omnichannel experience

According to Branch, app adoption and monetization are “heavily skewed towards the top few apps” in the App Store and Google Play. In fact, apps outside of the Top 5 compete for just 15% of consumers’ attention. If your mobile app doesn’t claim a dominant position in your App Store category, the likelihood of conversion is low. 

As app marketplaces become more crowded, brands must leverage omnichannel strategies to capture consumer attention and drive app installs. This means creating a consistent user flow across all channels and screens a customer uses regularly, from web to email to in-store. When it comes to generating app installs, that may mean advertising your app via smart banner ads, promoting it on social media, and incentivizing downloads during the in-store experience. Evernote, for example, places a large focus on content marketing and podcasting — strategic channels that have helped the brand garner over 225 million app users.

Want more omnichannel strategies to promote (and monetize) your mobile app? Download our Mobile App Monetization Whitepaper

Not only is a seamless omnichannel experience an effective way to drive app installs, it’s a powerful tactic to foster customer engagement and impact your bottom line. Despite representing only 7% of all customers, omnichannel customers generate 27% of all sales and are shown to have the highest lifetime value compared to single-channel consumers. 

2. Promote your app on your mobile website

As mentioned before, the customer acquisition cost of a mobile web user is significantly less than driving an app install. So why not get more bang for your buck and target potential app users on your site? After all, both channels sit on the same platform — smartphones. 

Once you attract customers to your mobile website, you can then convert them into app users in a much more cost-effective way. Wedding planning brand The Knot, for example, successfully leverages their already popular mobile website to accelerate app downloads, deploying targeted banner ads throughout the site to encourage visitors to download the app. These ads directly link to the Google Play Store/App Store, helping to drive 45% more Android app growth and 35% more iOS app growth.

Tools like SingleTap further improve this process by enabling users to directly install your app without the usual App Store redirects and drop-off that can negatively impact conversion rates. Users simply tap your ad, and your mobile app immediately starts downloading on their device. The tool has shown to increase conversion rates by 2-10x

3. Incentivize downloading the app 

With all the noise on mobile, brands need to give consumers a reason to download their app. Incentives are a highly effective way to add value and encourage users to hit “install.” 

Many brands leverage incentivization tactics like app-only discounts, loyalty programs, or access to exclusive content. For example, HotelTonight ran a mobile campaign incentivizing customers to download their app in order to receive a $25 credit. Chick-Fil-A saw a staggering 14,285% increase in app downloads in one day by offering a free sandwich to anyone who installed their app. Brick-and-mortar brands can even deploy proximity marketing (like triggering a notification or text message) or leverage physical signage to promote in-app rewards and prompt installs while the customer is in-store. 

We live in an era where there’s an app for everything, and standing out from the noise can be challenging and costly. Yet despite the challenges, mobile app users continue to prove their value day-in and day-out. With 2x the retention, 3x the conversions, and the potential to foster significantly higher lifetime value than mobile websites, it’s more critical than ever for brands to drive mobile app installs.

Mobile apps have the power to be a highly lucrative channel — in 2023, mobile apps are projected to generate more than $935 billion in revenue via paid downloads and in-app advertising. For more expert strategies on how to drive app installs (and capture revenue), download our latest whitepaper on Mobile App Monetization