Does Your Brand Need an App?
Create or not to create? That is the question!
Despite the fact that there are more than 2.5 million iOS and Android apps combined, there are many businesses who still don’t have an app. Among many reasons for not having an app there is a lack of confidence for how to do it right. The good news is that I don’t think that it’s a bad thing. It means product or service managers analyze mobile as a channel and don’t follow the general trend for the sake of following a trend. In this article I want to inform them on a good strategy for making the right decision for their business.
The following are several questions you can ask yourself when deciding to create an app or not:
- Will I provide unique value to my existing and future customers with a mobile app? Don’t just follow the market trends and assume that an app is absolutely crucial for your business. There are cases when a mobile app isn’t necessary and you can spend funds, you may allocate for app development and marketing, more efficiently. Do some competitive research to analyze how your competitors are doing on a market and what obstacles they’ve faced.
- Should I develop my own app or a third-party app? If your business has a large number of customers, creating a mobile app can improve customer experience of using your brand – so the answer is yes. If your market research demonstrates that your competitors have more customers than your product does, I advise going with the second option of listing your product or service in a third-party app that aggregates similar apps. You may think that instead you should create your app to reach out to more customers but it’s a very risky strategy. As with all aspects of your business you need to look at this question in terms of how much you’ll need to spend on app development and marketing. The numbers tell us that from $50 to $250k, marketing may cost you around $3 / loyal user on average.
This is not to say that you absolutely need to abandon the idea of creating an app for your brand but you do need to be ready to allocate funds comparable with what has been previously mentioned. You need to realize that on both major mobile app markets, iTunes App Store and Google Play, your app will be competing with dozens and dozens of competitive apps. On both app stores the built-in search mechanism is far from perfect which means you’ll face a constant struggle for visibility. If you register your app inside a third-party app (like Yelp, OpenTable, etc.), it’ll be listed inside a directory with a more sophisticated search and for a fee you’ll be able to buy a featured listing. This is something that is simply impossible to do in both the App Store and Google Play marketplaces. Such third-party apps already have a vast number of users you won’t need to look for if you decide to create your own app.
Why mobile apps fail?
As with any business ventures you may inevitably think about what may go wrong with your mobile app. Why do apps, and apps for business in particular, fail on the market? Let’s walk through several reasons:
- Visibility. Like it was mentioned before due to a great number of apps both major app stores suffer the same problem, app discoverability. It’s about website discoverability on Google all over again but this time it’s an app on an app store discoverability problem. There are App Store Optimization techniques, which when applied wisely are capable of helping with an app’s visibility problem. Yet these techniques aren’t capable of helping in a situation when your competitor’s app is getting much more daily installs via mobile ad campaigns, which increase those app rankings for your app’s target keywords.
- Poor app quality assurance prior to its release on a market. Issues with an app’s UI and performance. Due to various reasons businesses fail to secure a robust quality assurance procedure for their app and release apps that can’t deliver the best experience to their users. Releasing a poor quality app always backfires on a business and its brand.
- Device compatibility (specifically for Android OS). App developer teams are unable to sufficiently cover the number of test cases across all devices and OS versions that are required for full coverage support.
Lack of general strategy for user acquisition. Businesses have a hard time with understanding what channels to use to reach out to their app users. App owners don’t use inside app user behavior and mobile traffic attribution software to be able to have an ongoing picture of how people use their apps and what marketing channels bring them loyal users.
As a takeaway I’d like you to remember that mobile apps, as a channel for your brand, require the same approach as any other marketing channel you already use for your brand. Since it’s quite expensive to create and market an app you need a good plan, sufficient funding and solid market research before you begin developing an app. Either train your marketing team to be well grounded in mobile app marketing or hire an app marketing agency to market your app.
Head of Branded Content at ComboApp