The mobile app question is becoming an all too frequent one with brands these days. A better question is…”why do you want a mobile app?” Or how about “what will it achieve?” And also, “Is it better than a responsive website?” Yes, it’s true mobile apps are plentiful and more brands are hopping on board, from the useful app to the content distribution app to the game app to the “i am completely useless please don’t bother downloading me” app. What will your mobile app provide to your consumer? Is it worth the download? Let’s break it down with the questions you need to answer before you get started:
1. What is the purpose of the app? It is important to determine if the app will be useful or at minimum entertaining for the audience to use. For example, if it solves a pain point and brings forward a solution, that is great.
2. Will a RWD site be easier and more effective? This doesn’t mean RWD is a shortcut or a simpler solution. RWD may be a better solution for your audience depending upon their habits and your reasoning for wanting an app.
3. Can your brand build the app in-house? If not, it is important to determine if there are additional costs your brand may accrue due to outsourcing the project.
4. Where are your developers located? If they are located abroad, time zone issues may cause delays in efficiency (not always, but sometimes).
5. What platforms will your app be available on? It is valuable to understand where your audience plays – are they iphone or android users? If they lean more one way than another it may help to launch one one first, and then the other. Test and Learn.
6. How will you promote the availability of your app? No one will know your app exists unless there is some budget set aside to promote the existence of the app, not just on your owned sites, but potentially across social, newsletters, and paid search to drive traffic for downloads.
7. Can your team update regularly for bugs and fixes? This is important to ensure people don’t get frustrated and delete your app after a couple tries.
8. Will your app be an investment or accrue revenue? Having a revenue model in place is helpful, but not necessarily the primary reasoning behind an app. It may be to increase engagement and provide another way for consumers to interact with the brand.
9. Do you have a mobile strategy in place? I cannot stress enough that a strategy is helpful before even reaching out to developers. Just like one needs a content strategy or a social media strategy, a mobile strategy is helpful in order to determine the right look/feel, content, promotion, audience, and how to differentiate amongst the competition.
10. Does your idea already exist? If so, how is yours unique? This is always a tough thing, but sometimes if your app is already there, don’t bother. That being said, sometimes there is a way to differentiate and make your app stand out with a feature others have not implemented or don’t have the ability to implement.
This list isn’t exhaustive so if you want to add to this list, feel free to do so in the comments below. And if you want more advice on how to start out on your first mobile app (or your 2nd or 3rd), feel free to reach out as well.
NOTE: This post was originally written for socialnomics. You can see my post here.
Image Source: http://blog.farreachinc.com/2012/03/27/app-store-optimization-aso/