Really? The Kardashians?
Yes. Their brand empire extends to your phone! Mobile offers another channel for stars to engage with fans, and to make money.
Since its June 2014 launch, the mobile gaming app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood has been downloaded 42 million times, and brought in more than $100M, making it an app store hit. Following on this success, Kim, Khloe, Kylie, Kendall and Kourtney each launched their own mobile apps in September 2015. The subscription-based apps offer behind-the-scenes photo galleries, candid videos, personal journals, family recipes, healthy living tips, shopping guides and live streaming content.
Like news media companies, the Kardashians face the challenge of keeping up with the expectations of paid subscribers, and continuing to create original content to keep their fans visiting.
Here’s four things they are doing right from a mobile app marketing perspective.
Own Your Brand
Brands, and especially news organizations, must work with social media and aggregation platforms like Facebook, Google and Apple Instant Articles to get noticed. In doing so, they relinquish control of crucial customer data and aspects of their customer relationship, as well as the representation of their brand.
The Kardashians take control of their content and stories through their mobile apps. Kylie’s app was a great vehicle to set the record straight and speak to her loyal fans after some consumer complains about her cosmetics line arose. Mobile apps give your loyalists instant and consistent access to your brand.
Brand and Expand
While the Kardashians have active Twitter and Instagram presences, they own their brand and their message by also having mobile apps that reach their most loyal fans. Their social feeds allow them to cross-promote their revenue-generating mobile apps to a built-in base of users.
Brands can do the same thing; get your app press coverage, name drop on social media, send out an email. Self-promotion is an ongoing exercise; people might have missed the news the first time. Have you updated your app? Added a new feature lately?
Use the “Velvet Rope”
Celebrities care about what people are willing to pay for or pay attention to. They also understand the value of access.
Publications such as The New York Times let you view a certain number of articles, but block the rest unless you subscribe. This keeps you out of their app for a month if you reach your limit early on.
The Kardashian apps let you read content that extends their brand such as “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” recaps; but the juiciest articles (Practicing For Fendi at The Trevi, Never Before Seen and Behind the Scenes) are behind the velvet rope of subscription.
It’s timely content and access that sells. Brands can experiment with gating specific content, and providing early or exclusive access, behind the scenes or out-takes to generate a need to subscribe or sign up.
Monetize with Brand and User Goals in Mind
App monetization can take a variety of forms; paid download, advertising, affiliate, subscription, in-app purchase, etc. While the Kardashian apps extend brand awareness, they also make money through affiliate and subscription revenue. These are a natural fit for both brand and user goals.
App users get vicarious access to the Kardashian lifestyle. They can actually buy what Kourtney wore last week or Khloe’s favorite pool toys. Purchased items produce an affiliate revenue stream for the app. The lifestyle content is accessible by any app user and is seamlessly woven into the experience.
For fans, the $2.99 monthly subscription is a low barrier to access premium content. Once subscribed, it’s easy to forget that you’ve done so. For casual browsers, the app has subscription prompts built in; after swiping through several pages of content, a subscription page will show up. Some push notifications lead to gated content.
Both revenue streams still allow for a great brand experience, and for users to engage with the Kardashians in the ways that work for them.
Mobile App Marketing Takeaways
Mobile is just one aspect of the Kardashian omni-channel experience. Love ’em or hate ’em, as content producers, they’re doing a lot of things right.
· Own Your Brand
· Brand and Expand
· Use the Velvet Rope
· Monetize with Brand and User Goals in Mind
For more mobile app marketing ideas, check out our whitepaper, What is Mobile Engagement and Why Does it Matter? It’ll walk you through what qualifies as mobile engagement, and hear some of our most important take-aways for putting it to use for your brand’s app — maybe even as well as Kim does.