With COVID-19 accelerating the shift to mobile and contactless experiences, 84% of UAE businesses say that mobile apps are now a ‘must’ to stay relevant to their customers. This according to findings from the latest research ‘State of Mobile App Strategies in the Middle East’, conducted by 451 Research, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, and commissioned by AppsFlyer. The research explored evolving consumer behaviours, and identified how UAE businesses are correspondingly advancing their mobile application and marketing strategies.
Based on a survey of 250 marketers from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, AppsFlyer’s report highlighted the growing role of mobile apps as a primary interface between consumers and regional businesses.
With the growing demand for digital services, and the UAE now ranking 8th on the global list of cashless economies , it is not surprising to see that more than 9 in 10 organisations (91%) already offer their customers a mobile app, resulting in significant financial benefit. AppsFlyer’s report showed that 40% of UAE respondents believe there has been at least a 26% increase in mobile-driven revenues for their organisation in the last 12 months, with just over one in six (17%) reporting this figure to be more than 50%.
“For companies, some of the most sought-after real-estate in the region is on customers’ smartphone screens. This of course makes it a hotly contested arena. Just having an app is no longer sufficient, as for a business to have any hope of growing their mobile market share with loyal, long-term customers, they need to capture consumers’ attention. Mobile marketing is key to this objective, offering consumers the personalised experiences they love, while enabling businesses to differentiate themselves from the pack,” said Samer Saad, Regional Manager, Middle East, at AppsFlyer.
As a result, UAE marketers are doubling down on their marketing spend. AppsFlyer’s research shows that nearly all (96%) of respondents intend to increase their spending on mobile marketing as a result of growing customer demand for customer experiences. A quarter of these organisations (25%) intend this increase to be “very large”.
Meeting customer demands for seamless experiences (62%), uncovering best-performing channels to optimize engagement and ROI across web and app touchpoints (58%) and identifying individual customers/microaudiences with targeted messaging and services (57%) were cited by respondents as the top three drivers of mobile marketing initiatives.
“While the increase in mobile marketing spend is encouraging, its impact will largely be determined by an organisation’s ability to accurately measure the return on investment. This might be understanding what channels are driving app installs, where your loyal users are coming from or being able to analyse the entire customer journey across multiple channels. Presently two thirds (66%) of Middle East marketers use basic attribution software to understand where mobile app installs are coming from, while 46% follow a labour intensive and often error-prone manual approach. So, there’s definitely room for improvement,” said Samer Saad, Regional Manager, Middle East, AppsFlyer.
The report showed clear signs of intent from marketers looking to adopt more sophisticated measurement capabilities. Two thirds (66%) are either piloting or have plans to implement multi-touch attribution technology within the next 12 months.
“As Middle Eastern marketers look to measure the effectiveness of their mobile strategies, multi-touch mobile attribution complements existing marketing success metrics, providing businesses with a sum greater than the parts. Measurement use cases coupled with engagement and retention-centric metrics like customer lifetime value, monthly active users and customer retention rate can help marketers take it to the next level, optimizing acquisition, retention and the long-term profitability of their mobile marketing campaigns and initiatives,” said Sheryl Kingstone, Research Director, Customer Experience & Commerce at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
In addition to the findings highlighted, the report also delves into how marketers, grouped across three industry verticals ― eCommerce, Banking and Finance, and Consumer Services — are evolving their mobile marketing strategies. These findings were used to identify the techniques driving the success of ‘Leaders’ while offering guidance to ‘Learners’ on how they could optimise and maximise their mobile marketing strategies.