Since its emergence into the mainstream in 2008, mobile apps have helped revolutionize the tech and marketing industry. With an app nearly made for every and anything, it has resonated so much with consumers that they are now in the driving seat and help dictate to businesses what they want in an app and how it needs to meet their needs. Mobile apps are now a part of everyday life. Most of you reading this, use mobile apps for some reason or another so there is no denying its dominance.
Statistics from Smart Insights has showed that 80% of internet users own a smartphone and apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the other 11% spent on websites. Does that really come as a surprise to you?
Curious to know consumers perceptions of mobile apps, I decided to ask a few people these two questions:
1) What app do you use the most and why?
2) What do you think are the benefits and disadvantages (if any) of apps?
Below are the responses:
Darren Somers – “I use a mixture of apps frequently. WhatsApp to communicate. Comixology to read comics I don’t otherwise have access to. Twitter to get news. Guardian to get real news. Cineworld’s app to check and book cinema times and Dictionary.com to enhance my vocabulary. The disadvantages of apps are that there are constant updates and information could fall into the wrong hands”.
Carl Bautista – “I use WhatsApp the most. The benefits? It’s an easy way to exchange text, audio, images and videos. It is widely used. Messages are somewhat encrypted. Also, it has a web based application that links to the mobile one. Well-presented interface. No limits on the length of audio messages you can leave. The disadvantages are that it can be somewhat addictive. Forwarding messages isn’t as intuitive as it can be in terms of the commands required, they toned down some of the emoji’s like the gun one”.
Peter Raymond – “So tough to answer, probably use Twitter the most. Reason being is it’s where I get most of my news. It aggregates so much information for me that I don’t need to use different apps or visit news sites directly, and search for content. Apps are beneficial if they provide genuine value vs a mobile website. Using API’s, you can bring together different information and use different services to build something that makes the user’s life easier. Twitter use’s API’s to embed news and external videos. It means I can get all this news without switching apps or loading loads of pages. I should also mention, the disadvantages of apps are that it’s difficult to acquire users if you have an app only, and no channel to drive adoption of it. If you don’t know about a product or service, why would you download an app for it? Whereas you use the YouTube, Twitter and Facebook apps to make your use of those platforms easier”.
Daisy Newman – “The eBay app. I love it – easy to use, fuss free and quick especially for buying. From a seller’s perspective, you can see all your listings, respond to messages and include images which is brilliant when you need to do something quick. The disadvantages are that I absolutely hate that the sellers address is visible on your account. Especially on your phone if you lose it and someone manages to unlock your phone and open the app. Well, your address is there in FULL. The other disadvantage would be you can’t open cases. I tend to go into safari and open eBay up that way and revert to desktop site to do that”.
Charlotte Amatt – “I use Facebook daily. Great for staying in the loop with mates and news. With most social media apps, my concern is always security; second and third parties gaining access to your account”.
Sherell Woods – “I’m a big user of WhatsApp. I love that you can make video calls as well as normal calls through the app. Disadvantages is the security. I don’t like that call and message records can be accessed by the apps issuer”.
Daniel McMahon – “The app I use the most is probably Instagram. As a freelance photographer, it is a great platform for me to showcase my work to a larger audience and network. The disadvantages are that some of the followers on the platform and other social media platforms are fake and usually they have a link to their ‘website’ which is usually a virus, so you must be cautious who to follow back”.
Ashley Stinson – “I use WhatsApp the most. It’s simply because I like it and can communicate with a large group of friends by creating a group WhatsApp. It saves me the hassle and time of messaging friends individually just to discuss the same thing. The disadvantages are that I hate getting frequent updates on my android phone to update my apps. I find it annoying at times”.
Ok, as the writer of this piece, I guess I should answer the questions too. The app (well in my case the apps) I use the most are WhatsApp to commute and share information with friends and family; most of these answers can from the mobile app. Its gives me option of creating my own community by allowing me to create my own WhatsApp groups. I use Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn as a promotional tool to put myself out there and shown my passion. The disadvantages of apps for me are the constant updates and like Carl Bautista noted, it can become addictive and can take you way from reality. However, saying that, with technology and virtual reality become more dominant, mobile apps are part of reality.
All the answers given (mine included) to the questions I asked, one common denominator found is that people use mobile apps because they are hassle free and let you get on with your life hence why they are on a phone. As human beings, we always want something new, something better and something that can make our lives less hassle. For example, mobile apps can give you give the platform to communicate with others whilst on the go and not be limited to being stuck in one place on a desktop.
With the constant rise in mobile apps, it will continue to evolve and create more opportunities for businesses to make their marketing more personal to consumers. Statistics from cloud computing and CRM solution company Salesforce, has shown that 71% of marketers believe mobile marketing is core to their business and people within the tech industry believe that mobile marketing is their top priority as it has shown a high return of investments.
However as big as the mobile app revolution is, not all companies should jump on the bandwagon. Why? Well as Peter Raymond pointed out “…. that it’s difficult to acquire users if you have an app only, and no channel to drive adoption of it. If you don’t know about a product or service, why would you download an app for it”? To have a mobile app you should also take into consideration factors such as the product or service that you provide and how often would people use the application on their mobile device. For example, if you are a pension company and have a mobile mention app, how often would customers use it? Do you need to check your pension on a regular basis? Some people also prefer checking any sort of finance in the comfort of their own homes, on a laptop as they feel it is more safe than doing it in public so it’s debatable.
One thing that is definite though is that mobile apps are not going anywhere anytime soon. Statistic from Smart Insights has proven that virtually all 18-34 year olds – 97% are mobile users. Mobile apps will continue to rise and it is an exciting time not just for consumers as they will see if companies will meet and satisfy their needs and vice versa for businesses and if they can or continue to get a return of investment.