“Does my business need a mobile app?”
If you’ve found yourself asking this question, you’re not alone.
The global marketplace has never been more competitive than it is today, and this trend is only going to grow stronger. Moreover, consumers have never been more connected with the businesses they patronise. You not only need to be seen as a business; you need to stand out and deliver something exceptional to your target customers.
Did You Know?
More than one-third of people worldwide use a mobile smart device (source).
As so much B2B and B2C commerce is now conducted via smartphones and tablets, a lot of businesses have chosen to develop mobile apps to connect with and serve their customers and clients in a new, enhanced way. This can be invaluable for some businesses – but not so much for others.
Is a mobile app really worth the investment for your business?
Some Mobile App Facts…
- The first apps were preinstalled with the world’s first smartphone – IBM’s Simon in 1994. These included Mail, NotePad, and Calculator.
- Annual native app downloads reached 204 billion in 2019 – and many of these are downloads of children’s games.
- The most dominant apps in 2021 were TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram, Moj, zoom, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger.
- Most consumers use fewer than 9 apps per day.
- Facebook-owned apps and mobile gaming represent 80% of app use.
- B2B Marketing reported in 2017 that new mobile app download activity is declining – in part because more consumers are unwilling to keep downloading unknown or new applications and to sacrifice device storage for apps.
Types of Mobile Apps
- Task Resolution Apps – access to services a business offers.
e.g. Medicare App, MyGov App.
- Entertainment Apps – captivate users without incentivisation.
- Loyalty Apps – reward customers and clients with incentives.
e.g. QANTAS REWARDS, MyerOne app.
- Content Apps – build a community and share exclusive content for app users.
e.g. FitBit, WeightWatchers.
- Productivity apps – apps that help users achieve tasks or be more more productive
e.g. Trello, Slack.
A Mobile App for your Business – Considerations
Developing a mobile app for your business can open up valuable opportunities for growth through strategic marketing and help you reach and engage with your target audience.
Benefits of having your own mobile app include:
- Strengthen your brand.
- Provide more value to consumers.
- You may generate more sales.
- Some apps broaden market coverage.
- Gain a competitive edge.
- Enhance your visibility via a widget on your customer’s phones.
- You may ultimately save money (e.g., remove the need for call centre services).
- You may reduce marketing costs with push notifications via your app.
- Some apps enhance the customer experience e.g. they may open quicker than a website and may not require internet connectivity.
- Connect quickly and boost customer engagement.
- Utilise social media channels.
- Provide unique features and services.
There are, however, certain disadvantages you need to consider when weighing the pros and cons of taking on this investment.
- The app industry is already oversaturated – you should not focus on app development simply because it seems like “everyone else is doing it”. Too many apps are needlessly created for their own sake, rather than for the benefit of business or consumers.
- Apps come with significant development costs – is this the best use of your resources? As well as development, you’ll also pay for publishing, marketing, and listing.
- A mobile app requires regular, ongoing updates and must be compatible across all devices, including new models, as well as compliant with all Android and iOS updates. This means separate native applications for Android and iOS systems (as a hybrid approach is suboptimal).
- Mobile apps are no substitute for a website. Furthermore, most consumers prefer not to download (yet another) app if they can easily complete the same action via your website.
- Marketing requirements are compounded when you need a strategy (and a budget) to drive traffic to your app as well as to your website.
- If your native app is listed anywhere other than your website and your app on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, you’ll need to develop a strategy for each additional channel – with a separate URL.
- Listing an app in the App Store or Google Play Store requires paying a fee, and even then there is no guarantee of being listed as certain restrictions apply. Approval is not a given and keeping it live can also be challenging.
- App listings are dependent on user reviews to drive their visibility.
- Native apps do not support or enhance your SEO efforts, as they are not indexed by search engines. This means even greater investment on your part to get your app found by the right users.
Many types of companies do not require a mobile app. In these cases, you would be strategically unwise to invest the time, effort, and money into developing an app that will not serve you as well as other marketing alternatives – and premier among these is having a high quality, mobile responsive website.
Why a Website is Often a Better Option
For most businesses, having a fresh, modern, responsive website is a much better option than investing in your own bespoke mobile app. A great website is:
- As effective as an app
- Requires fewer developers
- Requires less time to create
- Needs less ongoing maintenance
- Costs much less
- Boosts and supports your SEO strategy
- Is necessary regardless of whether or not you have a mobile app
When is an App the Right Approach?
Developing an app could be right for your business if:
- Users will interact with it frequently
- You rarely interact with customers face-to-face
- Your end-users are a predominantly mobile workforce
- It offers functionality that can’t be easily replicated on a website (e.g., interactivity, push notifications, sensitive data interactions).
- The transition between the website and mobile app is seamless.
Ask yourself: would an app greatly improve the customer experience when compared with a high-quality website? Is it worth investing so much more when your website will deliver a valuable online experience for your customers?
Have a Chat with Us at Sparx
If you’re still unsure about whether your business needs a mobile app, or if you’ve already decided a great website is the way to go, call Sparx Digital!
As an Australian boutique digital agency, we have expert insight and creativity, as well as the technical prowess to deliver captivating, creatively designed websites that help you showcase your brand. Our modern, responsive sites are visually appealing, optimised for mobile, and the best tool for you to convey your message, depict your brand, engage your audience, and drive traffic to your business. Check out some examples of our work here.