More and more companies are creating custom native apps, but does this mean every company should jump on the app bandwagon? And even after you decide to create apps, what platforms should it be on: iOS, Android, Windows, or Blackberry?
No doubt that statistics show trends of downloading apps are on the super-rise: there were approximately 8 billion apps downloaded in 2010, and that number is projected to be at 50 billion apps downloaded in 2012. It’s hard not to want a piece of that pie.
However, sometimes a mobile website or a mobile-friendly version of your company website will suffice what you’re trying to accomplish in the mobile space for your company.
That said, having a native app would benefit companies that are doing the following:
1. If you’re selling something: product, service, subscriptions, etc. Of smart phone users, 80% said they use their phones for shopping and shopping-related activities and more than half (53%) ended up making a purchase and 68% visited a business online or in person. This gives compelling reason for companies to invest in their mobile strategy. Having an app gives a company abilities to announce sales, foster customer loyalty, create personalized product recommendations for customers, etc.
2. If you rely on advertising for revenue: many companies use their mobile app as another medium for serving ads, especially with the increased user base. Here are some stats from the IAB in 2011: Marketer Perspectives on Mobile Advertising found that 63 percent of respondents stated that their companies’ mobile advertising spend over the past two years has increased to some degree, with 29 percent reporting an increase of over 50 percent.
Here are some benefits of having a mobile app:
– Use the phone’s native functionalities: camera, memory storage, calling capability, address book, etc.
– You could use the app to build customer loyalty by giving customers points/badges/rewards for actions they commit in the app, e.g. purchases, check-ins, pages read, etc.
– Push notifications for special offers or breaking news: flash sales apps & news apps use this frequently
– If your Appstore or iTunes app ratings are good, it often carries over to your company’s reputation in general
– Another medium to up-sell products and attract advertisers
– Allows you to do things you wouldn’t do on the website: social media integration with check-ins, location based services, etc.