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Is the Age of Apps Over?

Is the Age of Apps Over

Over the last few years, apps have been looked on as a valuable tool for brands. They can be used to improve brand recognition, give added value to clients, and as a marketing tool. They can be designed relatively inexpensively, so even smaller businesses could afford them.

The question going into 2019, however, is should your company create an app? There’s no question that apps are still popular. That said, the market is pretty saturated. With Google Play and Apple offering 2,100,000 and 2,000,000 aps respectively, app burnout is becoming a real thing.

Getting people to download the app is one thing, but getting them to continue using it is another. As of the end of 2018, 21% of apps never get opened again after the first use. That’s not encouraging news for businesses thinking of creating an app.

Making Your App a Success

So, is it still worthwhile creating an app? Is it worth putting that money into it if it is only going to be used once? The answer, for most businesses, would be, “No.”

Should you focus on some other form of mobile marketing instead? Considering that mobile users spend 80% of the smartphone time using apps, the answer is still, “No.” A well-designed app is still a valuable marketing tool.

If you don’t want your app to be a one-hit wonder, though, you need to design it flawlessly. It needs to be truly useful to your target market.

Want to learn how to make that happen? Let’s have a look

It’s Useful to Your Target Market

It doesn’t matter how great your app is. If it’s not useful, it’s dead in the water. Now, when we say useful, that could mean a few different things. To be useful, it can be:

  • Entertaining: Why do those apps showing cute kitty videos do so well? People want some distraction from their day-to-day lives. Make sure to provide content that your target market will find entertaining.

  • Provides a self-service option: Do you run accounts? Making it as simple as possible for clients to check balance, credit available, etc. makes sense. If you don’t run accounts, you might consider an app that helps clients pick a product.

  • Addresses a pain point: What pain points do your clients have? What information do they need? How can you address these issues with your app?

An app needs to be valuable to your target market so that they’ll keep using it. What form that value needs to take depends on the target market. Why not ask them what they’d like to see?

Finally, when you design the app, make sure the focus is on value rather than marketing. Let’s say that you’re a company promoting clean living. Your target market might find it useful to have an app that features healthy recipes, rather than something that just highlights your products.

Of course, if you use those products to prepare the recipes, that’s good. However, make sure to provide alternatives for those who can’t gain access to your products.

Unique

There are millions of apps out there. How many are plain carbon copies of each other? If your app is just a copy of another, don’t bother. It must offer something unique. There is a saying, “There’s an app for that.” You want yours to offer something that no one else’s can.

On Brand

Your app needs to be viewed as an extension of your branding exercise, not as a separate part of it. That means designing the app with your company values in mind. Let’s get back to our example of a company promoting clean living.

An article on how to quit smoking would be perfectly in keeping with your company’s values. An article, on the other hand, listing the benefits of tobacco, would not.

Flawless Operation

This is a tough one to get right the first time. Sometimes, the only way to find bugs is when the app is actually being used. However, don’t use this as an excuse. Instead of rushing it through the development stage, do allow time for it to be properly tested before the release.

Even though you could upload bug fixes and patches later, it may be too late. How many times have you downloaded an app only to find that it doesn’t work as advertised? Do you wait around for the bugs to be fixed or do you delete it to make room on your phone?

Keep the app simple and make sure that it runs flawlessly.

Cross-Platform

If there’s one problem with the technological advances we’ve made, it’s that there are so many diverse platforms to choose from – Mac, Windows, Linux, Android-based operating system, iOS-based system, and so on.

It might be tedious to use separate platforms because it is hard to sync all the information across devices.

With apps, it’s even harder because of the different operating systems that you could use. At present, you’re not going to find an app that will work across Android and iOS. The best solution to this problem is to ensure that you have a working app for both systems.

Easy to Use

To illustrate this point, consider the difference between Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop. If you head off to Paint, you can edit photos and images fairly easily. It’s easy to see what to do.

If you try using Photoshop, on the other hand, it’s a lot more difficult. You need to have some idea of how the program works to do anything beyond simple edits. Photoshop gets away with this because it is an excellent program. You can do a lot with it if you know what you’re doing.

How would this translate into an app, though? How many people would be willing to take the time to learn how to use a complicated app? If you want your app to become popular, make it as intuitive to use as possible.

Final Notes

There’s a lot that goes into building an app. At the end of the day, though, if you keep the end user in mind during development, you’ll be able to make it work. Make your app easy to use and valuable, and you’ll boost your brand image and provide an extra service for clients.

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