Why Facebook and Instagram Retail Influencers Need Apps

Opinion: Without apps, retailers and influencers alike are only capturing a small piece of their e-commerce revenue

Mobile apps are on the fast-track to becoming the preferred method of online shopping - Credit by supparsorn/iStock

Facebook and Instagram play critical roles in the success of retail influencer campaigns, but without applications, retailers and influencers alike are only capturing a small piece of their e-commerce revenue.

Mobile apps give retailers the power to reach their consumers, wherever they are, with a simplified shopping process. Without a comprehensive app that provides a clean experience for engaged consumers, retailers are opening the door for competitors to swipe their sales.

A recent report by Criteo highlights the connection of retail success between apps and mobile websites. More important, the study found that mobile apps deliver 54 percent of mobile transactions per retailer—a 7 percent increase year over year.

The study completes the storyline considering that apps have a higher conversion rate than any other channel of online shopping, converting three times more than mobile websites, according to Branch.io.

Per Branch.io, mobile users spend 20 times more time on apps than they do on mobile websites. In addition, there is a 70 percent higher in-app purchase rate for users who enter a mobile app directly from a smart banner, or banners that live at the top of a mobile site directing you to the app or app store to download when clicked. These banners also drive a 2.6 times higher in-app purchase rate for users installing an app from a smart banner.

Beyond the stellar performance of mobile app transactions, they are also helping to make the entire customer journey more efficient. According to the Criteo study, mobile apps are twice more likely to bring a new user back within 30 days as compared to the mobile web. These are user retention and customer value stats that brands strive for—and here they are, driven by mobile apps.

On a more anecdotal level, it’s clear why apps continue to pull ahead of mobile and desktop purchases. While some, especially younger demos, may be reluctant to devote precious space on their smartphones to yet another download, apps have proven over and over to offer a better experience to the user.

Mobile apps often serve up a much cleaner and more comprehensive display than mobile versions of the retailer’s website, leading to an easier browsing and checkout process overall. Adapting desktop sites for mobile usage barely scratches the surface of the full advantage of a mobile app platform.

Ease of login is yet another perk of the mobile app. Consumers often have the option of adding credentials to their accounts through the app only once and remaining logged in. This streamlines the process and negates the annoyance of logging in—and remembering yet another password—every time they want to make a purchase. Factor in phones that utilize Touch ID and it takes only seconds for consumers to be securely shopping anywhere at any time.

Better yet, keeping track of rewards, tracking a package or making returns is just a click away in an app. Removing this hurdle from the shopping’s journey simplifies the experience and makes it more desirable to the consumer.

Consider these mobile shopping behaviors uncovered in a recent UPS study, Pulse of the Online Shopper:

  • 72 percent tracked the delivery of an order.
  • 69 percent compared prices among retailers.
  • 67 percent searched for a retail coupon.
  • 64 percent used a retailer’s app.
  • 64 percent researched products prior to visiting a store.
  • 60 percent researched products on a mobile device while in-store.
  • 53 percent checked in via social media.

Clearly, mobile apps are on the fast-track to becoming the preferred method of online shopping. Are you doing enough to maximize your mobile marketing efforts? Here’s what you can do to get in on the action:

Google Chrome’s Physical Web beacon

As a test, a new feature was recently enabled in the mobile version of Google’s Chrome web browser. Currently, Chrome has a 53 percent mobile browser market share—the largest of any mobile browser. Akin to Apple’s iBeacon technology, this Physical Web feature will immediately connect a mobile user to any beacon located in a nearby physical location—think retailers, coffee shops, banks or, well, anywhere. It only takes a single click of the search bar.

Beacons give brick-and-mortar retailers a direct connection to nearby mobile users. They allow those browsing to discover content on the “physical web” or items of interest broadcasted by the retailer. Mobile users are instantaneously connected to a URL posting relevant deals via Bluetooth—the perfect opportunity to implement a smart banner and encourage a mobile app download.


Mobile users can access coupons online and present them at an in-store checkout through a site-to-store campaign. Properly set up, site to store allows the merchant to track in-store sales directly back to the affiliate that drove the brick and mortar sale.


Micro-Moments are marketing-fueled, mobile-centric tactics—critical touchpoints within the consumer journey that determine the outcome of their buying experience. They take advantage of mobile’s ability to geo-locate and allow for instant commerce.

Brands that are aware of the impact a micro-moment has on a shopper’s intent to buy have quickly adopted strategies to leverage them:

Greg Shepard is chief technology officer of performance marketing firm Pepperjam.

Publish date: November 10, 2017 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/greg-shepard-pepperjam-guest-post-why-facebook-and-instagram-retail-influencers-need-apps/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT