This post is produced in association with Mag+.
In the battle to get mobile eyeballs, in a world that is more mobile by the minute, the mobile app is stomping all over the mobile web. Both consumers and employees are voting for the convenience, the ease, and the better overall user experience of native apps on both smartphones and tablets.
Different studies show different numbers, but the conclusion is pretty much hands-down in favor of mobile apps. In surveying 3,500 global respondents, Compuware reported that 85% favored mobile apps over a mobile website. And Flurry earlier this year reported that the average mobile user spends more time using mobile apps than the mobile web: an average of 139 minutes per day.
Mobile’s where web was 15 years ago
The impact on brands and organizations is a sea change. Apps now are pretty much where the web was 15 years ago. Back then, there was this oh-my-god moment when companies en masse realized they needed a website. And everyone went out, hired a bunch of programmers, built a website, spent a lot of money and built sites that, well, weren’t terribly good, because no one really knew what should be on them. There was just too much time being spent getting them up and running.
Then along came Blogger and WordPress and other CMS platforms that made it possible to get a site up quickly with a lot less technical strife and expense, and people then had the freedom and mental energy to really think about what went on the sites.
Apps are now a price of entry for both consumers and employees
Fast-forward to the mobile age, and we’re now at a similar point. Organizations are realizing that if you want to be relevant to mobile users, you need to give them what they engage with most: apps.
And this applies just as much to B2B use cases and even internal communication scenarios. Give your sales team an iPad to use in the field, and the app better look and behave natively – your team and your customers use these devices all day and know a good app from a shoddy one. In previous decades, employees accepted that internal enterprise software looked pretty ugly and was a pain to use. You don’t have the same leeway on mobile. IT has been consumerized and expectations are higher.
Bringing apps to market quickly and cheaply
Building an app in-house can be costly – it’s not uncommon for them to run $25k at the low end, but more often, $100k and up, especially considering you have to build for multiple operating systems. It can also really suck time from an organization: The average development cycle is minimum three months, often more. You really don’t want to find yourself reluctant to optimize and iterate because of a hefty initial investment that has C-level types running for the hills.
Luckily, just as WordPress et al. introduced the ability to build cost-effective websites many years ago, now third-party mobile platform providers are doing the same for mobile apps. Apps that are fast and cheap to build. And good.
Solutions like Mag+, one of the first players in the mobile content platform space, have a lot more automation built into the development process, which brings the cost of entry and scaling way down. No coding required. So instead of hiring developers, companies can focus on curating and designing great, engaging content for their users. And while many key features come standard, (hosting, distribution to app stores, push notifications, sharing functionality, video, news feeds, etc.), there’s a lot of room for customization.
If you don’t have to spend $100K and 6 months on an app, you can adapt and refine a lot more easily
Mobile is still in a nascent stage. Things are so fast-firing that 6 months from now, there could be significant changes no one anticipated. Everyone in the field is learning all the time from collective efforts, and continually innovating. But if you’ve invested a lot – both time and money – in building a native app from scratch, by the time it’s in market, you might already need to play catch-up. Working with a platform solution that keeps up with the coding changes needed for you saves time and headaches, so you can create great content. Most platforms offer a wide range of client-specific features and analytic tools to keep the app fresh in real time, with no programming skills required on your end.
When it comes to app development, lean equals nimble; and nimble means you can create the app (or apps) your users really want. Third-party mobile platform providers like Mag+ allow publishing, B2B and corporate clients the ability to deliver high-quality and engaging content apps that scale from very simple to highly intricate in nature.
The shift to lean and nimble
The shift has definitely taken hold. Gone are the days of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and nine months to get something out. An app has to have an amazing user experience and the right content – but getting it out has to be fast and cost-effective. Because you never know when you need to change it or bring out another one.
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