Do I Need an App?

If you work in digital marketing, you have probably been asked about an app before.  Like Facebook followers, apps have an unnatural fascination for CEOs – they all really want one!  But that is not to say that an app is not the right thing for your business.  Mobile is critically important for most organisations, particularly if your audience is global, so its a question you should consider carefully.

To help you work out if an app is right for you, I have laid out the pros and cons of having an app in this week’s blog:

Benefits:

  • Flexibility: There are a number of features of apps which are easier to implement in an app rather than on a mobile site: for the right business, geo-location is a great opportunity
  • Design: Your developer will be able to produce a much more interesting and intuitive design for an app as opposed to a mobile website
  • Functionality: Not only will it look better than a mobile site, it will have better functionality.  This leads to a better user experience….which leads to increased revenues
  • Quicker: Mobile apps are quicker than mobile websites, so in an age where the consumer is becoming less and less patient, quick page loads are very welcome
  • It’s in front of you: The theory here is that if someone has downloaded an app then they are far more likely to use than a mobile site of your competition

Challenges:

  • Expense: Apps are not a cheap addition to your online presence.  It could be argued that this is an investment, but it’s likely to be an investment of a five figure sum
  • Expense (again): The creation of the app is not where the costs end, it is where they start – maintenance costs and software updates are necessary for a successful app
  • Needs Promoting: Not enough people are just going to stumble on your app to make it a success, so you will need a promotional plan to support your app launch. Not free I’m afraid!
  • Your Website: A lot of organisations have invested heavily in responsive websites, so where does your app fit in?  Does it replace your mobile website or does it compliment it?

There are other factors that you need to consider before you decide on an app (such as would the app satisfy a particular need for the consumer that the website cannot achieve), but hopefully this should get you asking the right questions.

Have you developed or marketed a successful app?  What made the app successful?  Would you recommend them to other businesses?  Leave a comment and share your knowledge!

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