For most businesses, an app isn't the right answer.
Mobile’s been a hot topic for a few years now, and it always seems to be ‘just about’ to take over. There’s no doubt it’s not going away and presents huge opportunities for any business, but is an app the right way to get in front of mobile users? In most cases, we don’t think so.
1. No one cares
It’s like 2010 again when everyone was pasting 100 sharing options on their sites.
No one wanted to Digg/Stumble/Forward your post then, and no one wants to download your app now. They can live without you telling them when you get a new receptionist or that you’ve got an update. They definitely don’t want your update.
Apps are for games and making life easier. Like pre-ordering coffee, you mean? No, you’re still missing the point. People order coffee like they have done for hundreds of years. Or they can text their order. They don’t need a little icon on their phone with a caffeine intake counter, specials calendar and an interactive history of the bean. They need coffee.
2. You can’t afford it
Seriously, you can’t.
Apps are like websites were in the 90s. Guys that used to sell weight loss supplements think they’re hoarding the secrets of app development like it’s a black art and they want to tell you that you NEED one, that you MUST have one. That it’ll cost you thousands of dollars.
Then there are those tacky self-publish apps with your logo added to a pre-fab solution. They may not cost you much in dollars, but you’ll waste more time than anyone else on it. Because if you won’t even invest in it, why do you expect users to give it their time? Actually, if you won’t invest, then you’re probably already half way to agreeing with us anyway.
3. Your intentions are wrong
Do you need one, or is it because everyone keeps asking if you have one?
Chances are, it’s not going to be a game-changer for you. If you’re looking for growth, invest in your mobile site, usability, search marketing or email marketing.
I recently worked in-house at a company that made a significant investment in an app, despite good advice from many senior staff, because suppliers had expected it from them. They didn’t realise two things:
- They were considered the leaders in the market and their suppliers were looking for / needed them to do just that: lead them and educate them, not fall in line with their expectations.
- You can’t get an app into the iTunes store if it doesn’t do anything.
Optimise or fix what you’re already got. No business is running at its most efficient, so why chase something that’s probably unproven in your space? Are bars actually making apps work for them? Do people really download apps to buy bulky goods?
Ask yourself: are you making your decisions based on trends and gossip, or on actual market consideration and strategy?
4. Your site should do that
Why do you even need an app?
Unless you’re going to offer something valuable and unique through push notifications, your site should be able to suit your needs.
5. There are better ways to communicate
What was wrong with email?
Apps are great for retention if you’ve got something you can actually offer that a browser can’t: integration with other apps, some engagement / gamification function. Otherwise, what you’re looking to achieve can most likely be achieved through your site, email, SMS.
Maybe an app is for you, after all
Obviously there’s huge potential in apps for some businesses: travel companies can create interactive city guides, flight tracking and alerts, specials alerts; retailers with a high-level of repeat business can streamline checkout, allow users to manage orders and track deliveries, or suggest products based on user location / seasonality and order history.
But for the rest of us… Try a responsive site and invest elsewhere.
More by Morris Bryant
We’ve found a new swag partner and kitted up for winter. Grab a notebook and shirt next time you see us!Continue reading b
We’re regularly sharing feedback with Google on the AdWords console, and here are a few of our top feature requests.Continue reading b
1. You will be able to bid separately for mobile, tablet and desktop (again) Advertiers will soon be able to set bid adjustments for all three device types. Enhanced Campaigns ended this function when they launched in 2013 and grouped desktop and tablet bidding, and it’s a welcome change. For Advertisers, this means far greater […]Continue reading b
Facebook have been fairly aggressive in claiming a greater share of ad spend over the last few years; particularly reinventing their ad units for Mobile and to be more native to their platform. One of the most interesting ad units they’ve released in some time are the new Lead Ads. These ads allow users to enter […]Continue reading b
Bringing in 2016 with some fresh faces, Sparro have won four new digital accounts with SurfStitch, GUESS Australia, National Hearing Care and Bay Audiology (NZ). Working across digital marketing, partner outreach and paid search accounts, Sparro is looking forward to establishing great working relationship with the four exciting brands and helping them further cement their online […]Continue reading b
When my brother and I started our digital marketing agency, Sparro, in 2013, we were very confident in the direction we wanted to take in our business and our work. We wanted to take on the best qualities of all of the businesses we’d worked with, while avoiding the worst aspects of agencies that we’d […]Continue reading b
The most important question in our business, and maybe yours too, is often the question that’s most overlooked for its simplicity and because the answer is so commonly assumed. Here it is: What is the objective? Companies, businesses and individuals without an objective are like Twitter – there’s noise, activity and some level of assumed […]Continue reading b
Today I pulled down our site TheDealer.com.au – a daily deals aggregator that Cameron, Ruben and myself built way back in 2011. As a challenge, we designed, coded and had the site live sending daily deals emails within 6 weeks; integrated with a dozen or so of the largest deals sites at the time – […]Continue reading b
Park outside the door Our Father would get you a park right outside the door of any busy event. He’d drive past crowds of people walking to the Easter Show from where they’d parked, streets away, and he’d tell us – they all think there’s no parking right outside, but you watch this. His theory […]Continue reading b