Mobile Ecosystem

Mobile App Marketing Brewing at Starbucks

Becky Doles

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?

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she handled content strategy and marketing communications at several tech startups in the Bay Area. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned home to Charleston, SC, where you can find her strolling through Hampton Park with her pup and enjoying the simple things between adventures with friends and family.

4 responses to “Mobile App Marketing Brewing at Starbucks”

  1. I would do it in a hearbeat, remind me the downside? Sharing revenue? Given the size of the channel. done. I don’t know of any downsides!

  2. […] Now, Starbucks customers with an iOS device may no longer have to even visit Starbucks ever again – if all they want is the Pick of the Week, at least. Last week, Starbucks began to allow customers using its app to directly download the music “Pick of the Week” using the app’s new Message feature, as initially reported by HasOffers. […]

  3. […] Now Starbucks has added a new feature to the Starbucks App. For some time, Starbucks has been running a “pick of the week” promotion. They offer a free tune, game, book, or some other kind of digital content to anyone who stops by the store and picks up a card with the “Pick of the Week” download code on it. […]

  4. how would I contact starbucks to be featured in their pick of the week?

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