Does your business need a mobile app? Maybe. Maybe not. Every business needs a mobile-friendly responsive website, but nobody benefits from do-nothing apps that are actually mobile web pages in native app wrappers.
Despite the propaganda you will hear from the many charlatans hawking and hacking mobile apps, and despite the pressure you may feel to shell out a few grand for an app just to keep up with the Joneses, the sad truth is that most of the millions of apps flooding the App Store, Góógle Play and the front table of that seminar you just attended have a very short shelf-life:
- 46% of all mobile apps downloaded are deleted within 30 days;
- 65% of all mobile apps downloaded are deleted within 90 days; and
- 90% of all mobile apps downloaded are deleted within 6 months.
That’s not much time to recover your mobile app development investment and generate that big-bucks Mobile Web marketing ROI you were expecting, is it?
So, why do mobile app users disengage so quickly? For many reasons. Here are three:
- Because they didn’t win that free Apple iPhone, Android tablet or Samsung flat screen TV contest gimmick used to entice them to download the app.
- Because many “mobile apps” are actually “mobile websites” – with little or no functionality – embedded in native OS app wrappers and passed off as apps.
Expert-rated South Florida responsive web designer and mobile app developer Bruce Arnold estimates that 80% of all mobile apps are either bloatware, crapware or crappy mobile websites in native OS wrappers. They offer downloaders little utility or benefit, and may in fact be a detrimental drain on the mobile device’s CPU, storage and battery resources and the mobile user’s time, patience and goodwill towards the app provider.
“App” is short for “computer software program application”, and mobile apps that serve no purpose other than to convey and collect information for their provider are “apps” in name only. Mobile app users will accept a little marketing push so long as the app gives them a reason for engagement. Otherwise, the app provider should expect Download to be followed soon after by Delete – and perhaps a little push-back in the process.
USA Today says 68% of all smartphone users open less than 6 apps per week. Apple and Góógle want their app stores to give them more reasons to use their mobile devices. And if your new app is not likely to up that statistic, it’s also not likely to get much visibility in app searches – especially now that the ranking algorithms are changing to favor ongoing engagement (yes, they know) over initial downloads. So again we ask:
Does your business need a mobile app?
This past week in Miami, we met with four prospective clients who had contacted us regarding mobile app development: After discussing their needs, it turned out that one needed a responsive ecommerce platform with a mobile checkout app, two needed a web app with a responsive web design as its front-end, and one needed only a W3C standards-based redesign of their existing website to make it fully responsive and mobile-friendly HTML5/CSS3. So again we answer:
Maybe. Maybe not.
If what you have to offer is highly interactive and gives the user a reason for repeat engagements, then mobile app development is the way to go. But if what you are really trying to do is acquire the visibility and accessibility needed to deliver your marketing message to the fast-growing Mobile Web, your starting point is responsive web design.