“Do we need an app?” That’s one of the primary tech related questions being asked today by organizations of all sizes. There are a number of reasons to consider taking your message and offerings mobile, but how do you know if it’s right for you?
Today, people are consuming data nearly as much on their mobile devices as they are on their computers. In fact, mobile is projected to become the dominant source for data consumption in the near future. Just two short years ago, app development was largely reserved for game creators or huge corporations with substantial budgets for custom development. Today, apps are being created daily for anyone looking to connect with their audience in a new way. It’s no longer a conversation for the Fortune 500 or tech elite, it’s now mainstream.
It all started with a little company called Apple, you know, the world’s most valuable company (http://bit.ly/pcSTu4). Or you could say it started with Palm in the late 90's, but we'll just start with Apple when they created the iPhone and subsequently the App Store, which then started a revolution of mobile mania that created a new industry and attracted competition from other humble companies such as Google and their Android Platform and Marketplace. When the iPhone first came out, mobile websites were the first to break ground. These mobile friendly sites made navigating easy on a tiny screen. But soon, the incredible features and overall experience of apps began to seize control. These days, apps are by far the preferred choice by mobile users. In fact, people spend an average of 81 minutes per day using apps. Apps give users the ability to do things that still aren’t possible with mobile websites such as bluetooth, camera, and GPS. Apps have the edge in the overall speed, performance, and user experience because they are designed specifically for your device. Now, with HTML5 on the scene, mobile sites are growing in feature capabilities and experience, but will likely always be a step behind. Furthermore, to have an app in the App Store is a big deal. It’s more than just having something that works with a mobile phone, it’s about making it incredibly available. The App Store, as well as the Android Marketplace, are today’s storefronts. It’s the market and it’s where the mobile generation shops!
So, do you need an app? Well, it really depends on what you want to do. We’ve seen two primary keys to having a successful mobile app; content and experience. First and foremost, you have to have the content. If you are creating an app as a novelty, you are probably wasting your time and money. But, if you are giving your audience a reason to use your app and to return to your app, then you should think about mobile. It’s just where people are! Why not make your content easier than ever to access? Second, you need to make sure that your mobile app is good, really good. If people download an app and it just doesn’t look good or work right, they will likely delete it immediately or never open it again. Be very cautious with how you proceed. You need to make sure your app is high quality and you need to have a plan to keep it up to date. If you focus on keeping your content fresh and having a high quality experience for your audience, you should have a very positive response.
The final piece of the puzzle is to figure out how to get your app developed and then published. There are a few options to consider and they couldn’t be more different.
You can work with work with a consulting firm like us to help you build an incredible custom app across multiple platforms. This will result in the best possible end product and you can really do anything you want. It will truly be a brilliant bit of software, but it will cost much more and will take time.
The second option is to try to do it yourself or work with an individual developer. This process is often the longest and the end result will vary largely depending on what you are trying to accomplish. It may also end up costing more money than you bargained for.
The third option is to use a native app platform to create a high quality mobile app at a fraction of the cost of custom development. Using an app platform like ours, the Subsplash App Platform, gives you complete control of your content and helps you offer a variety of features without having to break the bank. You would use our App Builder to control all aspects of your app from layout and branding to new content. This is also the best option for keeping your app up to date. We take care of OS updates, bug fixes, analytics, add in new features, give full tech support, and more. It is really the simplest option if you have content that you want to present to your audience. With these apps you have a number of robust features for content presentation such as videos, audio, blogs, calendars, news, maps, social sharing, and more.
I hope this has helped you answer some questions about mobile. It’s an amazing new world where people can access content from anywhere, anytime. We want you to be a part of it!