Mobile App Marketing Brewing at Starbucks

I recently looked through all the apps on my iPhone. Of the 50 apps on my iPhone, I use about 10 on a weekly basis. Of those 10, I use five every single day – Mail, Mobile Safari, Facebook, Twitter, and Starbucks. The first four are fairly obvious, but Starbucks is up there for two reasons. The ease of paying by phone and the free drink I receive after I make 15 purchases.

I also tend to collect the Starbucks Pick of the Week cards to get free songs and apps. Or at least I could get the songs and apps if I would bother to enter the code on the back of the card in iTunes. I currently have a stack of unused cards that date back weeks. There’s some great new music and a few really interesting apps in that pile, if I’d just take the time to enter the codes.

Pick of the Week Goes Mobile

Yesterday Starbucks included the Pick of the Week in a message inside their app. You tap the screen on the message, get redirected to iTunes, and get great new content for your phone without the friction of having to type in a code. That’s another great reason to use the Starbucks app and a sign that they may be leveraging their reach to enter the world of mobile app marketing.

As far as I know, Starbucks doesn’t publish stats on the popularity of Pick of the Week products, so there’s no way to know for sure how well this new approach will work. Still it’s obvious that making it easy to download can only increase the total downloads from the program.

Adding a new reason to use the app is good for Starbucks, because if you don’t use the app on a daily basis as I do, it allows Starbucks to send you a regular reminder that the app is on your phone. It also means you don’t need to remember to pick up a Pick of the Week card when you’re in the store.

Good For Advertisers?

I realize these freebies have been something of a mixed blessing for the featured products. If you have an app with in-app purchase options, getting more users is a no-brainer, but if you’re an author giving away your book for free, it may impact overall sales. This was evidenced in April 2012 when Buzz Bissinger’s “After Friday Night Lights” was chosen by Starbucks as its free “pick of the week”.

The key to this being a successful channel is the ability to measure success. I’m sure Starbucks and Apple are getting data on the number of Starbucks app users who redeem the codes like I did this morning. But what about the musician or app developer? How do they know these users are worth acquiring? Hopefully there’s a tracking mechanism in place that allows the advertisers to identify lifetime value for Starbucks-acquired users. If not, I know a company that can help with that. ;)

Would you promote your app through the Starbucks Pick of the Week program? Why or why not?

Jake Ludington
https://plus.google.com/100421655488973884511?rel=author

Jake Ludington has over a decade of experience building content publishing teams, coupled with more years as an affiliate marketer than he cares to admit. Follow Jake on Twitter.