Mobile Monday: Who’s BRAG-ing, McDonald’s Sees Growth on Mobile, and Apple Goes eSIM

Sep 19, 2022
By: Jean Ortiz-Luis

Digital Turbine is constantly keeping tabs on the mobile world, and every week, we’re sharing the most interesting and important need-to-know stories and articles. In this edition of Mobile Monday, we’re covering the latest BRAG report, QSR and brand apps seeing installs soar, and Apple’s latest announcement about the eSIM card coming with iPhone 14. Learn all about these stories in this week’s Mobile Monday!

Brand BRAG-ing Rights

The second installment of our BRAG Index was released last week highlighting leading apps across a variety of categories and measuring their app growth in relation to their Brand Equity. For example, while you might expect a power brand like Netflix to crush their install growth – every quarter, smaller brands (like Tubi) transcend their brand power and score extraordinary growth. In simple terms, the more installs you get relative to your brand power the higher you rank on the BRAG Index.

This quarter’s BRAG Index puts a lens on “Big Issues” facing top categories and how brand building factors in. For example:

  • Which leading financial brands are best positioned to become a super app?
  • Whose streaming video brand is built to survive in a content and consolidation war?
  • Which QSR brands have the clout to fight back against food delivery apps?
  • While discretionary spending has gone down, which shopping brands have trended up?
  • Do publisher app brands even matter that much on mobile phones?

While every category has unique issues, what isn’t unique is that creative brand building separates the winners and losers. AdWeek hit on this exact thing in an article last week about How Reimagining the Art and Science of Marketing Can Fill Your Full Funnel: “savvy brands will need to reimagine their art/science marketing mix to incorporate more of both in the new frontier of mobile marketing.” While performance marketing feels “safe and reliable”, the reality of the post-IDFA era is that it’s not enough to succeed on its own. 

AdWeek highlights SHEIN, which married a promotional hashtag (#SHEINhauls) with creative celebrity endorsements to soar to the top of the shopping category in installs – even more than power brand Amazon last quarter. This was also shown in our BRAG Index where SHEIN topped the shopping category for the 2nd straight time. The BRAG Index highlights other success stories as well that have a similar creative mix. The end result is a new reality: in the new age of mobile marketing, blending art and science is the best way to achieve top results for brand building AND app growth.

Emphasizing Mobile Leads to Success for Brand Apps 

Advertising on billboards, in magazines, and on TV just isn’t cutting it anymore, and more major brands are starting to realize that. Digital, and more specifically, mobile, is the place to be in order to reach a diverse, engaged audience. According to Sensor Tower, brand apps hit 56 million downloads on the App Store and 29 million on Google Play in the U.S. in the second quarter this year. Top brands across categories are shifting their focus to advertising and emphasizing their mobile offerings — are you?

Looking at top growing apps, McDonald’s saw the most growth for a brand app in the first half of 2022, seeing 3 million more installs in H1 of this year compared to last year, despite economic issues and rising inflation. Other brand apps seeing immense growth include Planet Fitness, The Home Depot, KFC, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Disneyland — showcasing consumers’ desire to go out, travel, and return to typical, pre-pandemic activities. 

Since 2020, McDonald’s has ramped up its spending on digital advertising, spending $12.6 million in July 2022 alone, leading to more app downloads compared to Domino’s and Taco Bell. 

As noted in the article, “traditional companies which continue to invest in their mobile apps are likely the winners of tomorrow, and are able to make well-informed data decisions to dominate their respective markets.” Mobile is the place to be for brands and advertisers, today and for the future.  

Heading to the Mainstream? Apple Goes eSIM with Their New iPhone

When Apple said goodbye to the headphone jack in 2017, the mobile industry was taken by surprise. It was a move that got a lot of attention, and has since been the new normal for millions of iPhone users globally.

Apple recently announced the removal of another physical basic on our mobile phones — the SIM card. The tiny tray on the side of the phone has been a reality for all smartphones, and Apple has just announced its removal in the upcoming iPhone 14. 

The tiny, chip-like piece stored in your phone serves as a digital ID, authenticating your phone to the network, permitting phone calls, text and data, and confirming your account.

eSIMs, or embedded SIM, get rid of the need to physically change the card. It also opens up a window for multiple accounts and plans on one device, quick and easy switching, and easier international transfers — assuming this will be widely adopted and available around the world, which it currently isn’t just yet.

While eSIMs aren’t new, making them the only choice is a big step by the mobile giant. The company had first introduced eSIMs into the iPhone starting with the XS, XS Max and XR in 2018. The most recent Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S20 and forward and all of the Z series foldable phones, as well as most modern Motorola devices, now also include them.

Users are raising many questions about carrier mobility, multiple numbers options, and international support. Fast Company and other publications have their Q&A ready to go

Are we seeing the rise of a SIM-free mobile environment? And what does this mean for the mobile ecosystem — carriers, phone manufacturers, and end users? Time will tell.

By Jean Ortiz-Luis
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