Want to launch a mobile app? Ask yourself these questions first

Mobile apps are all the rage.  There are literally thousands of apps in the iTunes app store, with more and more created every day.  You have an idea for how you think you might be able to grow your business through a mobile app, but you’re not entirely sure.  However, since everyone else is doing it, it must be the thing to do… right?

Not necessarily.  Lots of media companies that have developed complicated apps have watched them go bust as they find out that their subscribers, followers and readers aren’t necessarily interested in getting their information from a mobile app.  If you’re thinking of creating one for your brand or business, the team at our Orlando marketing agency thinks you should ask yourself these questions first:

Am I providing a service that no one else is providing?

While this question won’t hold true across the board (the New York Times app is always going to be able to compete with the CNN app), many apps fail because they are providing a service similar to, if not identical to, a service that’s already being provided.

[quote]Want to check out a success story in the mobile app market? BIGEYE teamed up with The Daily Mom to develop a unique and sophisticated app that reached the Top 25 Downloads Position on iTunes. [/quote]

Recently, someone turned me on to a new local neighborhood app.  The problem was, everything on the app is also available on Yelp, Google Maps and a variety of other platforms.  What would be the point of having another app to clutter my home screen?  I would advise that developer to pivot as needed to ensure that he is not duplicating something already in existence.

Will a mobile app provide features that a mobile optimized web page can’t?

If it takes a person as many steps to sift through your mobile app as it does for them to directly access your website, then it may be wise for you to save your money and focus on mobile optimization.

Along the same lines, it’s important to consider whether your app will add anything to current marketing efforts.  I overheard an individual at an independently owned media company say that his company had to kill its mobile app, as it was a waste of resources for them.  Why?  Because people were discovering his company’s content through social media links and email marketing, making it unnecessary for his email subscribers and social media followers to take the extra step to download the app.

Is this the best use of my budget?

A strong mobile app can cost a small fortune to develop, particularly if you’re trying to trying to do something innovative that’s never been done before.  But, it’s not just the cost of creating a mobile app – it’s the cost of maintaining it and continually feeding it content.  It’s also the costs to keep it up-to-date with the newest technologies, in order to offer advanced features.  In the first stages of an app, these items are crucial, as no one is interested in downloading an app that will only cause problems and headaches.

[quote]Once you’ve answered these hard-hitting, bottom-line questions, it’s time to determine whether your company or brand really needs a mobile app. [/quote] At our Florida advertising agency, we believe that in the future, mobile apps will be a necessity – but that it certainly isn’t the case today.  As of July 2012, only 55.5% of U.S. mobile subscribers owned smartphones, though this is sure to change in the coming years.

What are your favorite mobile apps and why do you remain loyal to them?

Still interested in creating a mobile app? Check out the web & mobile services we have to offer.