Mobile Apps Marketing Opportunities

From time to time I attempt to cover some of the more interesting happenings in the mobile space. From cool new apps and the latest devices to mobile marketing opportunities, if it’s mobile and interesting, it’s fair game.

What’s struck my interest this month isn’t a flashy new device or the greatest app I’ve ever seen, but rather the sheer growth in this space and the companies that are attempting to cut through the clutter to get their brands integrated into this new user experience.

App Store Boom:
Despite the economic slowdown, which has caught up to almost all areas of business, app stores are booming. In fact a recent In-Stat report projects that app store usage will quadruple over the next 5 years, reaching a total of 100 million users by 2014.

This isn’t surprising as Apple’s app store now offers more than 25,000 apps and has seen over 800 million downloads since launching last year. And while the iPhone has certainly established Apple as a leader in this market, more and more mobile devices support applications, and several companies have either launched their own app stores or have plans to do so.

Google’s Android marketplace has been in operation since the release of the T-Mobile G1, and there are plans for app stores specific to BlackBerry devices, Windows Mobile, Palm webOS and the Nokia S40 and S60 phones very soon.

Mobile App Marketing:
The rapidly growing landscape of mobile apps has caused many companies to stand up and take notice of the marketing potential that this new medium holds.

Target’s Gift Globe
Take Target, who over this past holiday buying season released an app to help users find gift ideas for those hard to shop for people on their list – and of course help them buy said gifts through Target.com.

When a user shakes their iPhone, the screen clouds up with swirling snowflakes similar to a snow globe. When the snow settles, a gift idea is revealed. The user can then click on the gift to purchase it directly through Target.com, or shake again for a new idea.

Sit or Squat
Proctor and Gamble’s Charmin brand has sponsored Sit or Squat which aims at connecting people with nearby public restrooms along with user generated ratings, which let you know if the facility is suitable for sitting, squatting or even standing – all accessible through the iPhone or BlackBerry devices.

Spin the Coke
In an attempt to appeal to the youth market, something which they’ve successfully done for decades, Coke has released a “spin the Coke” app. Just as it sounds, this app allows you to play spin the (Coke) bottle on your iPhone. Young love, beware!

While you may not see the redeeming value of all these apps (and you won’t have to look very far to find many gripes about each of their shortcomings), all of these companies have recognized the growing popularity of mobile apps – making an effort to get their brands integrated into this growing landscape.

For that, I commend them.