As the pandemic reached its first anniversary during the first half of 2021, people continued to rely on their mobile devices to manage their lives. Growing smartphone usage gave marketers a way to engage consumers with their brands, whether they sought to raise awareness or drive direct sales.
After last year’s 14% jump in time spent with mobile devices to an average of four hours and 16 minutes a day, consumers are steadily increasing their mobile usage by 2.5% this year, according to eMarketer. The researcher said popular app categories like audio, social and video are driving the growth, suggesting mobile platforms have been essential in capturing the attention of consumers.
Meanwhile, app stores saw significant revenue growth in the past six months, a sign that consumer enthusiasm for paid apps and subscriptions was strong. Global consumer spending on Apple’s App Store and Google Play jumped 25% from a year earlier to $64.9 billion in the first half of 2021, analytics firm Sensor Tower estimated.
Several brands capitalized on this uptick through creative marketing efforts that leaned on buzzy collaborations, star power and innovative mobile technology. Here are six of the year’s most notable mobile campaigns so far.
Chipotle offers limited menu with a side of E.l.f. Cosmetics
Chipotle Mexican Grill and E.l.f. Cosmetics, two brands that consumers wouldn’t necessarily associate with each other, partnered to offer a limited-time menu item and makeup collection inspired by burrito ingredients. To maximize the campaign’s reach on mobile devices, the brands developed original content for platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, Ntwrk and Clubhouse.
Marketing collaborations between restaurants and makeup brands are more common in China, though are still somewhat rare in the U.S. As brands experiment with ways to generate buzz with off-beat campaigns that engage people on digital platforms, they may see greater adoption.
Heinz and Burger King target Waze users driving at the speed of ketchup
With the return of heavy traffic as the summer travel season picked up, Heinz teamed with Burger King and navigation app Waze on a campaign targeting Canadian drivers as they slogged through crowded streets. The campaign not only served traffic-activated ads through Waze, but also targeted app users who drove at the extremely slow speed of a Heinz ketchup pour — about 0.03 miles per hour. Those Waze users received a digital coupon for a plant-based Impossible Whopper.