What would life be without apps today? As mobile device use increases, so does the number of apps that someone uses on a daily basis. We are very reliant on apps, even on PCs today, to get our work done, find where we need to go, or even to secure our homes and businesses. They affect our productivity, how we interact on social media, and even how we maintain customer loyalty. There is a good chance that you’re using an app right now while reading this.
What is even more remarkable about how we use apps today is that a tech pioneer like Steve Jobs didn’t think apps were very important at first. When the iPhone was first introduced, he was even somewhat proud of the fact that it really didn’t support apps. Times have changed, however, and now here are the pros and cons of apps to think about in 2016.
What Are the Pros of Apps
1. Apps are able to make a brand stay prominent in the minds of consumers.
When someone installs an app, it becomes part of their life. Even if they’re not using it, they’re going to see it on their device. This will instill brand loyalty into the consumer because every time they look at the app, they think of its usefulness.
2. They help people stay connected.
Once someone starts using an app, it becomes much easier to maintain a communication link with them. From a business standpoint, you are able to obtain data from the user’s habits that can help you create lead generation campaigns that have better targeting. From a personal standpoint, it allows people to maintain relationships half a world away because communication is instantaneous.
3. Apps are very cost effective for everyone.
Compared to the cost of creating print and online marketing materials, an app can help a specific message reach a targeted demographic for a lower cost with potentially more effectiveness. From the consumer’s side, many of the apps that are used are free, allowing them to access valuable items and ideas through this low or no cost option.
4. Downloading an app is easy.
One click is all it takes to download apps today from your preferred app store.
5. Apps create less of an environmental impact.
You’re not destroying trees to create a print marketing campaign with an app. You’re not making paper transactions. You’re not printing literature. This means the environmental impact of an app is much less than other methods of communication or interaction that are available today.
6. They load quickly.
Compared to the speed of a mobile or responsive website, apps usually load faster for users. This helps them access the information or services they need right away, increasing the value proposition they experience every time they open up the app.
7. Many apps are very easy to use.
From a business standpoint, having your workforce be mobile is essential to the speed that the modern consumer demands. Training through apps can get a business up to that necessary speed right away. From a personal standpoint, apps can keep us entertained, keep our homes safe, and help us stay productive no matter where we happen to be.
8. You can generate revenues with an app.
More than half of online shoppers access e-commerce platforms through a mobile device. If your app makes the shopping process easy for them, then you’ve got a good chance to make some money.
What Are the Cons of Apps?
1. Apps must be made to work with each O/S platform.
You can’t just make one app and distribute it to all of the app stores right now. If you want to reach everyone with a mobile device, then you’ll need to make an iOS app, an Android app, and potentially a Windows app or a Google app. That can increase your costs and reduce the speed at which you get a message across to your targeted demographic.
2. They require ongoing updates to remain relevant.
You can’t just create an app and then forget about it. Just like the content on your website needs to be refreshed every so often to retain its value rankings, an app must receive tech updates, content updates, and new features periodically to keep people interested in using them.
3. Apps can be a pain to optimize.
If you want to improve the value of your website, all you typically need to do is make some tweaks to your content. To optimize your app, you’ll often need to gut it in order to improve it.
4. Large apps can be cumbersome.
When an app becomes large, it becomes more expensive to create. More levels of functionality in an app make it more difficult to update and less user-friendly. Because speed is a factor, if a large app slows someone down, there’s a good chance that they will decide to stop using it.
5. A bad app can damage your brand.
Apps are often the first impression that someone receives of your brand, your services, or your products. If your app isn’t deemed to be useful, then this negative first impression can irrevocably damage your brand’s image.
6. Apps can take up a lot of storage space.
If someone has a 16GB tablet, with the size of modern apps today, there isn’t a lot of storage space available to them. Some game apps can easily exceed 1GB. Because there can be a lack of storage space, users may opt to delete space hogging apps that they don’t use often, even if they find the apps very useful, and that can leave your brand on the outside looking in.
7. You typically need to share your profits with the app store.
If you make sales through your app, you’ll get to keep those to yourself – minus the processing fees, of course. If your app has a sales price through the app store of your choice and that’s your main source of revenue, however, there could be a steep price that you pay. Some commissions are 30% or more for an app sale.
8. You still have to market your app.
Just because you have an app available doesn’t mean people will download it. You’ll still need to use marketing campaigns to grow the awareness of your app so that people will want to download it.
9. Getting consumer data isn’t always easy.
When you’re using an app, you can’t just download the analytic data from Google like you could from a website. Your metrics for an app might be very different as well, so identifying this information and setting goals for it can be a challenge.
The pros and cons of apps show us that the main challenges come from the development end of the equation. We will always download and use an app if it is useful. If not, we’ll delete it and look for something better. Steve Jobs quickly pivoted from his position on apps because he discovered how popular they could be. That’s a lesson we should all take to heart.