Want to get your iPhone app in the top 5 then buy some TV ads

The ad did it!

Tesco’s mobile guru Nick Lansley revealed in his Tech for Tesco blog that the best way to get your iPhone app in the top 5 list of most downloaded apps on the Apple app store is to buy some primetime TV coverage.

The advert for the iPhone Tesco Groceries scanning feature aired first last Thursday and the effect on downloads has been dramatic, and what’s more they can prove it. Lansley explains,

“my colleague Omar took a copy of the various API server logs and drew graphs. The graphs showed load levels where the app had been in communication with our servers. The load level graphs had some big peaks, and the peaks matched with the timings of the TV commercials.”

Not only are the users downloading, they’re also trying out the barcode scanner. As Lansley says,

“the 40-second commercial basically gets people to scan the barcodes on products – and, when they watch the commercial, they pick up their iPhones immediately and start doing just that! The peaks appear not just from showing the advert on ITV1 (the UK’s most-watched commercial TV channel) but even on less-viewed channels – both free and pay TV – on which our commercial is being shown.”

Lansley thinks it’s down to the advert, but we think there might be more to it than that. We only have anecdotal evidence but we think that the ability to scan and compare is one of the major drivers in encouraging users to start using the mobile web. Interestingly in a couple of recent talks to businesses that we have done, the one thing that lights up the audience, is when we mention RedLaser. We’ve lost count of the number of people who come up and ask “what was that price comparison thing?” Plus downloads of RedLaser as we reported are huge, 15 million so far and growing fast.

Here’s the advert

What do you think? Is it the TV ad? Is it the app? Or is it the novelty of scanning barcodes in the app that’s making it so popular, tell us what you think?

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