Tim Villanueva, mobile marketing strategist, Fetch
Tim Villanueva, mobile marketing strategist, Fetch
A view from Tim Villanueva

Think BR: What impact has the iPhone 5 really had?

Marketers can leverage the power of the iPhone 5 to deliver even richer experiences, writes Tim Villanueva, mobile marketing strategist, Fetch.

Like its predecessors, the recent release of the new iPhone was marked by a new slick ad campaign, extensive waves of media coverage, and Apple Stores wrapped with snaking lines of bright eyed iPhone hopefuls. 

Amid the commotion, many marketers were standing on the sidelines wondering whether to jump on this trend. 

So just how popular is the iPhone 5 so far? According to Apple, the device sold five million units within the first three days. The iPhone 4S in comparison, sold four million units in the same opening weekend time frame last year (a 25% yoy growth), making the iPhone 5 Apple’s fastest selling iOS device to date. Experts predict Apple will easily sell tens of millions units by the end of the year. 

Though the wider range of devices and price points of Android devices will continue to fuel Android smartphones' explosive trajectory, the popularity of the new iPhone gives Apple iOS a chance to at least keep up with this rampant growth.

AYTM Research in partnership with Mashable conducted a market research study that found that current Android owners are 2.4x more likely to switch to an iPhone than vice versa.

The arrival of the iPhone 5 benefits the entire suite of iPhone products. The iPhone 4 and 4S are now priced lower, making them more competitive with the lower priced Android phones and thus more attractive to the more price sensitive consumers. 

In the same study, almost 19% of prospective iPhone customers were actually looking to purchase the iPhone 4S (v 71% opting for the iPhone 5). 

As a result of strong iPhone sales, some of the key media partners that Fetch recently surveyed are already seeing up to 20% boosts in overall iPhone impression volume. 

Naturally, aggregate app download activity increases as well during a new iPhone release. A study from Fiksu showed that from Sep 2011 (when the iPhone 4s launched) to October 2011, the total downloads per day of the Top 200 apps increased 29%. 

It is still a bit too early to tell if advertiser dollars will follow suit with the growth in supply and inflate average CPMs. History has shown however, that the volume of new users outweighs any initial spikes in advertiser demand, with the driving down the cost to acquire a new loyal user (defined as a user who opens an app multiple times). Marketers should take advantage of the increased volume.

The iPhone 5 as a product delivers a handful of upgrades that delights users and marketers alike. The main change is iOS 6, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system that comes packed with new features that include a location aware, mobile wallet app called Passbook. 

Passbook has the potential to radically change the landscape of mobile coupons and mobile customer loyalty programs, bringing together movie tickets, airline boarding passes and retail coupons together one single access point for the user.

One of the other main product differences most pertinent to marketers is the shift from a 3.5-inch display to a 4-inch touchscreen display.

It will be up to marketers to capitalize on the larger real estate (exactly 176 pixels of screen height to be exact) to create bigger, more impactful brand experiences for consumers. App developers on the other hand will need to update their apps to ensure their apps render correctly on the iPhone 5. 

Boasting a processor twice as fast and a more robust LTE wireless connection, the iPhone 5 is also more powerful and faster device than its predecessor. Users can get more web browsing, app downloading, social networking, emailing, etc, accomplished in a shorter amount of time than before.

Marketers will have a tough time breaking through potential user multitasking and increased activity, but they can leverage the increased speeds to deliver even richer experiences more seamlessly to their end consumers. Specifically, they should leverage ad formats such as mobile video and rich media to drive deeper engagement with their audiences.

The iPhone is not going away anytime shortly. The iPhone 5's popularity gives marketers a larger total audience of iPhone users to reach. If marketers can wait until the initial hype and advertiser demand subsides, there is the potential to acquire new iPhone users at lower costs than expected. 

The upgraded hardware, software and larger screen size should keep users happy at least until Apple releases its next iteration. In the meantime, it's all up to marketers to show they are willing to provide consumers experiences that are just as innovative.

Tim Villanueva, mobile marketing strategist, Fetch