Marketers in today's mobile space are met with many unique challenges, and in order for them to succeed they must be at the forefront of what's new, where the industry is heading, and how consumer behavior is shifting. Today, we're releasing a new report we've commissioned with the most trusted app market data and insights company App Annie— 2017 Index: The Mobile Consumer— to shed light on the growing opportunity, what people (actually) want, and where marketers are spending their time (and money). The report dives into the record-breaking growth of the mobile economy, app discovery and engagement, mobile shopping preferences, industry insights and performance, and much more.

One major theme we've uncovered within the report: consumers want new apps, yet marketers fall far behind on discoverability.

Overall, people are spending more time than ever in their favorite apps, so much that in mature markets this breaks down to one month out of every year spent in apps. That doesn't mean they don't want more. In fact, the report found that over a third of respondents believe they're missing out on great new apps but find they're hard to discover (unlock more on this within the report).

According to consumers, they rely on familiarity. The App Store/Google Play is the main source for people, no surprise there. The second most likely scenario for users: if prompted by a trusted app/source they're familiar with. In fact, they're 2x more likely to install from a trusted source compared to an ad on social media, and 4.5x more than an ad on a search browser (e.g. Google Chrome).

A majority of respondents within the report said they would be more willing to purchase through and/or install a new app if prompted by a source they trust. Yet when you look at where mobile brands are spending ad dollars, more than half goes to the duopoly known as Google and Facebook.

A few additional key findings (access all findings in the report here):

  • 55%: have never downloaded an app and/or make a purchase immediately after seeing a Facebook ad
  • 64%: "never" or "rarely" intentionally click on a mobile ad (only 8% stated they intentionally click "often" or "very often")
  • 52%: have intentionally clicked on a mobile ad for another app (a decline from 57% in 2015), but only 44% have clicked on a mobile ad and downloaded an app

There's a big opportunity at hand for brands to get ahead, especially the younger, digital-first shopping apps like Poshmark, Wish, and Spring that fall low on the list of favorites among consumers (no surprise: the top five apps include Amazon, Target, Walmart, Groupon, and eBay— unlock more on consumer shopping trends and preferences in the report). However, app marketers need a solution to increase discoverability in a cost-effective way while targeting the places consumers trust most.

"Consumer intent lies elsewhere in mobile, beyond Google and Facebook and in significantly higher-converting channels. Brands on mobile need to focus on targeting the moments of intent among users, connecting people to what they want in the moment they want it."— Michael Jaconi, Founder and CEO of Button

This consumer intent most often lives at the bottom of the funnel; however, within the mobile economy this connection has forever been broken, making it impossible to create a seamless flow with an app-to-app partnership. This channel, commonly referred to in the desktop era as affiliate, makes up almost 20% of all commerce in desktop, but has been largely untapped on mobile for this very reason. Yet it's the highest-converting channel (25%) compared to paid social (1%) and paid search (4%).

Mobile brands need to build mobile strategies beyond social and search— not only do the performance numbers prove why, but consumers agree.

If you're interested in diving in and reading more about the intersection of the growing mobile economy, how consumers look at the space, and where performance success lies, download the full report here.