Vrishali Kekre Deshmukh
To APP or Not to APP
Updated: May 15
The iOS App Store launched in 2008 with 500 apps. Today, there are over seven million apps available across iOS and Android platforms, extending to every app and game genre and niche.* Source: https://www.businessofapps.com/data/app-statistics/
In a day and age when brands are going trigger-happy creating APPs, one must pause and ask, ‘Do we really need one?’.
There was a time when websites were predominantly browsed on desktops, but it’s not the case now. The websites of today are designed ‘mobile first’, and operate pretty much like an APP. So then let’s examine the case of the APP explosion, and ask a few questions that can make or save a great lot of monies for you.
You need an App if:
There is something to offer, that brings users back to the app often. (As often as alternate days would be super good!)
Is the information on the App so customised to the user, that it warrants being resident on the user’s mobile (my balance & transactions, my investments, my child’s school notifications, etc.)
Is there gamification integrated into the app that keeps users engaged, and wanting to keep coming back to reach milestones for themselves (I want to reach a fitness milestone… and let’s not get started on the scale of the gaming community! Oooh!)?
You are creating a community of like-minded people that starts conversations and builds a network
Geared with the above information, it is obvious that gaming apps, e-com aggregators, utility apps, and banking apps are a huge success with low a un-installation rate. However, we receive many requests from FMCG / service / b2b companies wanting to create apps with the hope that they will get a loyal engaged customer base who will in turn drive up sales. The truth cannot be further away.
Yes! Apps do help.. and how:
Reach a wider audience: By creating an app, you can reach a larger audience that prefers using mobile devices over desktops. Mobile devices are more convenient and accessible for users, which can increase the visibility of your product or service.
Increase engagement: With an app, you can create a more immersive experience for your users. You can add interactive features, push notifications, and personalized recommendations to increase user engagement.
Brand building: A well-designed and useful app can help to build your brand image and enhance brand loyalty. By providing a unique and engaging experience to users, you can establish your brand as an innovator and a leader in your industry.
Monetize opportunities: An app can provide several monetization opportunities such as in-app purchases, subscription-based services, and advertising.
This is all good in theory but the reality of the app world cannot be ignored.
Recently, chatting up with a bunch of Gen-zs … who were quick to install and uninstall apps as per usage. In times when data has become so cheap and storage expensive, this seems to be the norm.
There are also the conscious shoppers, who feel that having a shopping app resident on the phone makes them shop more. So why not uninstall and resist the temptation… it’s a matter of seconds to re-install and still have historical data resident on the app by virtue of a login.
We cannot ignore smartphones, which automatically un-installs apps that have not been used in a while, just keeping a shadow of it on your device. Being smart and all, you see!
There are a whole lot of added concerns about privacy, which were otherwise alien to the nosy Indians but have gained popularity due to the Western media. Are apps always listening and relaying my data to a secret sorcerer who will steal my identity and the little money I have?
Not to mention how annoyed one feels by the number of notifications an App sends. One has to already deal with a million red-dots-mails, WhatsApp, SMS, and whatnot. Please do not add any more red dots to my screen!
So one might ask ‘to app or not to app?’… and by all means please app away! But be sure of the 10 commandments.
Is the app providing value every day?
Is the app engaging?
Is the app personalised and does it provide/store dynamic data that is true only to me or my family?
Does the app follow best practices for notifications and not annoy the sh@#* out of the user with inane notifications?
Is the app authentic in data collection and tracking, and transparent in its privacy claims?
Is the app light enough to brave the install-uninstall barrage?
And let us not forget the hygiene factors, is it simple to onboard and use, error-free, and crash-resistant?
Is the app fulfilling a critical pain point or promise for the user, providing some incentive? The Freemium model works here?
Is the app better than that of the competitors, and does it offer a distinct advantage over others?
Are you creating enough buzz outside of the app, for people to return to the app frequently?
All in all.. please make an app by all means…i.e., if you tick all the above 10 commandments! But if not, make a mobile-first, superb website with all its bells and whistles, and save yourself a tonne of money!