Friday, January 16, 2009

iPhone Applications - What we can learn from the top 5, it's actually quite sad.

I like to look at the top 5 unpaid applications for the iPhone (and iPod Touch) as a barometer of what marketers should look to leverage in the mobile applications space (much like marketers should also monitor applications on social media platforms like Facebook).

Not surprisingly, games dominate the top 5 (as of Jan 16/09) as has been the case from the launch of the app store. In fact, 4 of the top 5 applications are in the gaming category. Interestingly, gaming has been a space largely ignored by the wireless carriers as a revenue channel - notionally because they simply sell themselves and marketing investment isn't required.

So what is the trend?

The core insight is that technology and ubiquitous connectivity has created a culture needing constant stimulation and affirmation of their place in the world. People cannot be one with their own thoughts, they need to have an external source that reaffirms they are part of something larger - even if that is simply a game of pac man.

Think about your experience when having lunch with a colleague - the minute your lunch partner gets up to go to the washroom, you reach for your iPhone or Blackberry and look for messages. If there are no messages, you go play some brickbreaker or suduko. Long gone are the days of quiet introspection and spending time with your inner thoughts. Much to the chagrin of philosophers everywhere.

The opportunity for marketers is to:
1) exploit this, provide entertainment and branded experiences to consumers in an effort to deliver their key messages.
2) capitalize on the movement when the pendulum swings the other way and consumers strive to postulate and spend time with their inner thoughts for general self improvement. Brain Age (nintedo DS) is a good indication this movement is starting and people of all ages are looking to replace mind-numbing games with something that is more positive.

Let's try to make people think again.

PS. iFart is the #3 application. That may motivate you too.

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