While United States companies of all sizes plan to more than double their investment in mobile projects over the next year, funds they would usually allocate to third-party digital marketing agencies will instead be diverted to in-house marketing departments, according to a mobile business survey released today by Jersey City-based Antenna Software.
"Apps developed through third-parties are rarely well integrated with back-end e-commerce or internal analytics systems," the report said. "Even where in-depth analytics are built into apps by agencies, the cost of updating the app in line with feedback from usage data is prohibitive and lengthy. This approach means that brands end up with little creative control or management capability over the mobile assets they have invested in."
According to the report, which surveyed 600 businesses in the United States with at least 100 employees, marketers will invest an average of $543,000 on customer-facing mobile projects in the next 12 to 18 months — more than they have invested over the course of their existence to date. That's pushing executives and IT decision makers to manage their own mobile initiatives, in order to improve their branded programs over time at a lower cost.
“Solutions that enable non-developers to build applications with easy-to-use tools will lower the barrier of entry for marketing departments to do more mobile application work themselves,” said Jim Somers, chief marketing and strategy officer for Antenna, in an e-mail. “By leveraging in-app analytics and really managing the distribution and awareness of mobile websites and applications, companies can refine projects better to fix flaws and address user feedback, while making it easier for customers to discover and get access to these apps and websites through branded app stores.”
As a result of their reliance on third-party agencies to develop and run mobile campaigns, businesses have been "initiating mobile projects without doing the necessary research into what content their customers would like to engage with or into the format they'd like to receive it," which are "destined to generate poor return on investment," the report said.
"Almost every established and emerging brand will have a mobile website within the next 24 months. The increase in the number of branded mobile project initiatives signals the start of much greater competition for consumers' mobile attention spans, and this should drive up the quality of those initiatives," the report said.