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I've noticed several websites that ask for a phone number to link to either the Apple Store or Google Play to download their native app. (Example below) and I've also seen a few sites display links to the Apple/Google play stores and ask for a phone number.

This whole concept is confusing to me because:

-How does this make it easier? -Why would a company expect that the user would give up their phone number to get the app? -Do users prefer this to being emailed a link?

I'm just curious because I've seen this in other places and I want to know the reasons behind it or if some executive of a high-profile startup just came up with a way to harvest a bunch of phone numbers. I would love to know if this a useful thing.

Atom Bank asks for a phone number to download their app

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It has its use, and it's mainly not the thing it's pretending to be. The main goal here is trying to enrich cross-channel strategies. Since you've parted with your phone number willingly, they now are able to send you messages containing sales, newsletters, anything. This practice wouldn't fly in the EU anymore without explicit mention of what will happen if you agree, but in the US and elsewhere, it could still work as a roundabout way to start direct marketing. It works in conjunction with the app as a channel.

It's a clever way of presenting a marketing strategy as a perceived user benefit. As you mentioned, it doesn't make things much easier at all, but the way it's presented, does make it appear that way. And that's why it works.

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