Case Study: Partnering With Apps Makes for a Good Mix

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mixer_smallADOTAS – Apps, apps and apps! While we’re biased in hearing about them all the time as a direct sales and service team for the app space — thanks to Apple and its advertising blitz — apps are being downloaded by the masses on the iPhone, Facebook and other emerging platforms. Meanwhile, developers and publishers have rushed to create useful apps and advertisers have embraced the opportunity in various ways.

The primary ways for brands to join the app world include building an app or partnering with an existing app. I favor partnering, like DonQ Rum recently did with the ultimate drink recipe and bartending guide iPhone app, Mixology, which features nearly 8,000 drink recipes based upon more than 1,300 ingredients.

Why partner rather than build? With an existing app, people are already engaged around content particular to a specific category. Thus, brands have the ability to align themselves with an app and people that are relevant. With this route, brands, also, completely avoid the risk and costs of developing what is hoped to be a successful app.

In addition, if you build an app, there’s a risk that people won’t download it, but if you do, the keys are to concept an app with consistent value, fresh content, entertainment or utility that people will appreciate, but that also align with the brand.

In either case, effective brand strategy in apps starts with the user and their activity. Think people first and app second. This is exactly what DonQ did when engaging apps through appssavvy, in partnership with Undercurrent, a digital strategy firm in New York.

DonQ wanted to reach people on the go in a relevant fashion. Sure, they could’ve built an app, but DonQ and its rum products is only one ingredient of the drink recipe world. Rum drinks are large category, but there are a number of drink recipe categories. So, building a niche app didn’t make sense, especially with a number of drink recipe apps already created and that have attracted large and growing audiences.

This is where partnering with an existing app, such as Mixology, made tremendous sense for DonQ. And, the partnership wasn’t about mobile banners. It was about contextually relevant integration and adding value.

During the two month campaign on both the free and paid ($0.99) versions of the Mixology iPhone apps during the first quarter of this year, DonQ Rum drink recipes were integrated into a button found on the homepage and in background skins found across the app, led to nearly 4.4 million impressions nearly doubling the planned user interaction with the Mixology app during the campaign’s flight.

The DonQ button led to more than 90,000 views of DonQ drink recipes, of which individual DonQ drink recipes were viewed a total of more than 42,000 times.

The campaign deserves a “toast” of how brands can engage apps, whether in social media or mobile, by being relevant and adding value to the experience.

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