August 7th, 2013 | Chris Lloyd

Why nobody cares about you or your Facebook App


“ Almost every app built for a brand on Facebook has practically no usage… Heavy, “immersive” experiences are not how people engage and interact with brands…Heavyweight experiences will fail because they don’t map to real life.”

-Paul Adams, Global Head of Brand Design at Facebook

Hey…What about an app! Mention this phrase around here and prepare to be met with skepticism. Because what often follows is a concept designed to become an integral part of a consumer’s life, simplifying it for the better and designed foster a “deep customer relationship.”

Here’s the thing. People don’t form “relationships” with brands on Facebook. The number one reason why people interact with a brand on a social network? Because they want information about my brand right?! Nope…its to get a discount.1 You know how many people are talking about ANY brand on Facebook right now? 0.5%2. 77% of people say they don’t have a relationship with a brand.3 People just don’t form relationships with brands the way we marketers would like to think. Relationships are complex, important and essential parts of people’s lives. Branded apps are incidental to these relationships, to lives.

Bleak, but we’re not the only ones who feel this way. Paul Adams, the global head of brand design at Facebook says, “ Almost every app built for a brand on Facebook has practically no usage… Heavy, “immersive” experiences are not how people engage and interact with brands…Heavyweight experiences will fail because they don’t map to real life.”

So… today’s consumer is web savvy, mobile, data enabled simply looking for the best deal and could give a crap about your brand or the things you build. Great… What’s the solution then? How can you get them to buy what your selling, ideally more than once and maybe even recommend it to others?

The key is to simplify. Remember for most brands, you’re simply incidental to your customers everyday life. What consumers really need in the era of overwhelming information is “decision simplicity”—“the ease with which consumers can gather trustworthy information about a product and confidently and efficiently weigh their purchase options.”1 This does not often come from an in depth, branded app. If you simply must build an app, consider 3 elements when creating for decision simplicity

1.) Navigation – How easy is it for consumers to gather and understand information.
2.) Trust – How well can they trust this information?
3.) Weigh options – How readily can consumers weigh their options?

Does your app assist with any of these phases? Are you serving this app up at the right point in the purchase funnel? Users who are ready to weigh options need a different experience than a user just beginning to explore what’s out there. Brands who follow these principles were 86% more likely than those who do not to be purchased by consumers considering them. They were also 9% more likely to be re-purchased and 115% more likely to be recommended1. Focus your efforts on simplifying the path to purchase not your customers lives and you’ll be much better off.

Sources:
1: IBM IN “To Keep your customers, keep it simple”. Harvard Business Review, May 2012
2: Harvard Business Review Study: 3 Myths about Customer Engagement
3: Karen Nelson-Field & Jennifer Taylor, “Facebook Fans: A Fan for life?”, ADMAP, May 2012

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