App creation is no longer a luxury for brands

Looking to connect and better engage with audiences in 2016?

Your brand might want to look into developing an app, especially if you are seeking to engage young millennials. Mobile app usage among Americans is growing at a faster rate than people using a desktop computer or internet browser on their cell phones.

ComScore tracks online metrics for corporate clients across multiple digital and social media platforms – TV, smartphones, tablets, desktops and gaming. ComScore conducted a study analyzing online digital usage during a two-year period, which included behavioral measurement analysis and a survey of more than 1,084 smartphone users.

More people spent time online using an app than ever before, according to ComScore’s 2015 U.S. Mobile App ReportThe study found users spent more than 778,900 minutes online using apps on their smartphone or tablet in 2015 – that’s a 90 percent increase from 409,800 in 2013. Desktop usage also grew – yet at only 16 percent. That’s less than five times slower than the growth of mobile apps.

Apps fastest growing online source

Cutline: Mobile apps growth of time spent online. Courtesy of ComScore 2015 U.S. Mobile App Report.

The study further showed that people aged 18 to 24 are using apps most frequently on their cell phones. App usage among older adults is on the upswing as well on tablet devices.

These figures demonstrate just how important it is for a brand to develop apps. Digital apps can be used across a variety of industries – corporate, nonprofit and educational institutions.

CVS, Zappos and Starbucks all use apps to further engage with their customers.  The American Red Cross, the American-based division of an international non-governmental organization, has a series of apps downloadable for free to provide people tips for everything from First Aid to tornado and flood preparedness. Many apps, sometimes by private firms, are developed specifically for university students.  Mochila developed such an app for the University of North Texas.

There are online courses available to help brands take their digital footprint to the next level by developing their own apps. DiyGenius offers online courses on developing apps for Android and iPhone/iPad to increase your firm’s engagement.

Pope Francis teaches Americans multiple lessons

Pope Francis’ American tour broke the internet this week.

We’ve seen the power of social media this week. From all the tweets, Facebook messages and Instagram posts people, media organizations and nonprofits capitalized on Pope Francis’ first visit to America.

Nearly 297,000 tweets included the hashtag #PopeinDC during the Pope’s two-day stay in our nation’s capital, according to Topsy.com, a social analytics website.  #PopeinNYC tweets started trending with 139,000 sent prior to the start of the mass at Madison Square Garden.

Pope trending hashtag

Pope in NYC trending hashtag Courtesy Twitter.com

Twitter created special emojis to commemorate his historic visit.  The emojis appear automatically on Twitter after people use particular hashtags, such as #PopeinUS, #PopeinDC, #PopeinNYC, #PopeinPhilly.  Another firm, Swyft Media of New York City, even created some Pope emojis, available for free download on androids or iPhones.

People took selfies, posted memes and videos of Pope Francis being escorted through town in his tiny Fiat before riding the in the parade. A young girl captured the hearts of millions when she made it past security to deliver a personal message to the Pope regarding immigration.  (I dare you to watch the video and not cry. She pulls at your heart strings as she asks for protection for her family.)

Pope onlooker in sea of digital

Older woman stands in awww of seeing Pope Francis amid digital sea. Courtesy @JamesMurphy

Sometimes our desire to record historic events leaves some people to believe we are actually missing extraordinary moments of our lifetime. I feel pulled at both ends with this belief. In one-way I believe our lives do revolve too much around digital technology.   Sometimes it’s easier to interact with our phones than another human being.

I love the awestruck expression of on the older woman’s face; especially in the sea of smartphones. That being said. however, in this instance I would pull out my cell phone as well to record the Pope coming down the street. After all, the beauty of recording with our cell phones is we can watch exactly what is being recorded instantly.

Now if our politicians would just take what Pope Francis said to heart. I hope he his speech got through to them and help them realize they are working for the American people – all people, not just the one percenters. Maybe our elected officials could learn humility.

Pope Francis compassion

Pope Francis is in Washington D.C. Courtesy @ABCNews