Volkswagen ties increase in sales to branded mobile app

MobileMarketer reports: Volkswagen found that from the vast amount of consumers who bought a car after playing around with the company’s branded iPhone application, more than 50 percent were new VW owners.

An executive from AKQA, who helped Volkswagen promote its 2010 GTI vehicles, shared results from the campaign during the Mobile Marketing Forum. According to the executive, the company saw great results in terms of downloads, brand impact and car sales.

“This was not an easy decision for them,” said Daniel Rosen, head of AKQA Mobile. “It was somewhere where the client was being brave.

“It was literally an iPhone application, social media and Web intergration,” he said. “This is very far from what Volkswagen does in mobile – it’s part of the strategy for the their car launch of GTI.”

User engagement
When looking at how it can get the word out about their new cars, Volkswagen briefed all of its agencies and focused on what the company can do to increase car sales.

AKQA did not want to just roll out a branded game like other companies have.

“It had to be all about quality,” Mr. Rosen said. “Whatever game we created or used had to have the strongest driving experience.

“Not only is it the first time someone launched a car on mobile, but invested in creating a world class driving mobile game,” he said.

Real-time gaming
The Real Racing GTI application has been downloaded more than 6.3 million times.

Volkswagen saw more than 485 million impressions in the first six weeks and 200 cars were sold to registered GTI players.

Additionally, the company saw that there was 97 percent lower cost-per-sale than a traditional launch and there was more than a 5 minute average engagement time.

“The application was actually all part of a social media push in the beginning,” Mr. Rosen said. “It’s basically like a Hollywood movie launch.

“It’s all about the opening weekend, opening day and how that movie is going to perform in the next year,” he said “With an app you have to focus all of your activity on the launch.

“We focused very much on our early trajectory – it was about creating buzz in the immediate niche area.”

Volkswagen had a mobile Web and application presence, but wanted to do something specific for its GTI vehicles.

The company designed six exclusive cars specifically for the game.

Users had the option of submitting their time to an online leaderboard and post a replay on YouTube.

“It’s about making sure that your software is world class,” Mr. Rosen said. “We were able to track games and sales, which was important.”