Your audience is rapidly mobilizing. They are spending more and more of their time using mobile devices, and in particular they are using mobile apps rather than browsing mobile websites (comScore, AMPLI, IAB & Nielsen, 2016).

So which app is best to reach & engage your audience in 2017? The answer may surprise you…

Option 1: Build your own app to reach & engage your audience?


Your brand probably already has an app so that’s the first option. However the economics of building an app are not attractive for most.

Time & Money

Every time Apple announces a new version of iOS, with new developer features and let’s be honest not enough backwards compatibility, a collective groan can be heard around the interwebs as developers and marketers realise they will need to spend more time and money redesigning and rebuilding their apps.

It still takes too long and costs too much to build mobile apps. There, I said it.

Buying Installs

Then you have to pay Facebook and others for app installs. Back in 2012 this was fantastic value, however the costs are now prohibitive and will continue to rise until they are not viable for most.

Facebook recently revealed in it’s quarterly earnings call that they had reached the limit of how many ads it is reasonable to show each user before they get fed up and leave. Growth in 2017 Facebook revenues will need to come from increasing the price of app install ads. So get ready for that!

App Fatigue – Have We Reached “Peak App”?

Your mobile audience also has app fatigue, which makes it increasingly hard to convince them to install your app.

Half of your audience will install zero new apps this month (comScore MobiLens, 2016). The others will install mostly 1 or 2 new apps this month, choosing between your app and the millions of others in the app stores.

Retention & Churn

If you’re lucky enough to get a member of your audience to install your app, the next challenge is retention.

Thirty days after we install an app, only 6% of us are still using it. (eMarketer, 2016).

Combining app fatigue and churn data we conclude that the average member of your audience is going to install and become a loyal user of just 1 new app in the whole of 2017. Will that app be your app?

Option 2: Pay Facebook, Snapchat, etc. to reach your mobile audience via their apps?


We spend 80% of our mobile time on 4 to 5 favourite apps, and in most markets except China those mega-apps are owned by Facebook and Google (Forrester Research, Inc. 2015).

Back in 2012, building your audience on Facebook or YouTube or Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter might have seemed like a great idea.

Race To Zero Margin

However, the economics are different in 2017. It is being called “Facebook Zero” or “Reachpocalypse”; the end of organic Facebook reach. You will now reach only 6% of your Facebook page followers unless you start paying Facebook to reach more than that (Social@Ogilvy).

And because of the auction process used by Facebook and Google to sell their distribution, there’s only one place that the price will end up: the price at which you and your competitors make zero margin from that user.

Surrender of Control

The other problem with option 2 is that it requires digital marketers to surrender control to Facebook, Snapchat, Google, etc. At any moment in 2017, they can change the way in which you can deliver your marketing message to your audience, or change the way in which you can measure how your audience is engaging.

Option 3: The email apps already being used every day by your audience


Thankfully, there is another option that does not suffer the challenges of building your own apps, buying installs, retaining loyal users, or alternatively paying Facebook for promoted posts to push your audience from one part of their app to another.

Email apps are pre-installed on every mobile device so you have no install challenge.

Email apps enjoy a global audience of 2.9 billion daily users (The Radicati Group 2015/19) – yes, that’s more billions than even Facebook.

Retention? Email apps support push notifications (actually, they invented push messaging) and are the apps most likely to have permission from your audience to send push notifications of your content and keep your audience active every day.

Globally, email marketing enjoys open rates of around 20%. That now looks like a fantastic number compared to the likelihood of your audience installing your app and allowing push notifications and becoming a loyal user in 2017.


And the economics of email marketing are already awesome. Even with current engagement levels, email marketing delivers the best ROI: $38 for every $1 spent (Campaign Monitor) compared to other forms of digital marketing. And there is lots of upside beyond that.


The only problem with all those email apps being used by your audience, is that the content experience has been stuck in the desktop era for too long.

Playable solves this problem.

Playable upgrades your email marketing to include video – any video content, including full-screen vertical video and live video streams – to reach and engage your audience in 2017.

Playable works for 100% of your audience. We make it easy to reuse your existing video content, and you don’t have to change your existing email systems.