Mobile Strategy: Do We Really Need an App?

Garth Moore

With mobile strategies continually evolving, apps are not essential for all business plans.

Social media network concept on phone.

You might be wondering if your business or program needs a mobile app. It’s a fair question, you have apps on your phone. If you looked at your phone’s history, you probably even have dozens of discarded apps that aren’t even on your phone any longer. But, you need to recognize a few key factors before proceeding with your decision:

Usefulness: Apps that are the most useful to your customer are the most valuable to your company. Consider all the apps you have downloaded and never used. According to Smashing Magazine:

“…just 26.4% of users who visit a page in an app store today will install an app. The other 73.6% are lost and don’t even try the app. Among the ones who install it, an average of 99% are lost in the following 90 days.”


Most of us have those few key apps that we go to every day or regularly (weather, news, games, to-do lists, supermarket apps). Otherwise, most are one-offs or seemingly irrelevant.

Audience: How useful will your app be for your audience or your market? If you’re hosting a conference and want to offer your attendees maps, agendas, coupons, and information that would be easier to understand in an app than a mobile browser, then maybe the answer is yes. But, if you’re looking for a much larger, broader audience, you need to consider what your app will do for them and how you will market it. How will your app add value for your customer and how do you convince them to do the work to find, download, and use your app? Do you have relationships to be featured in app stores? Do you have a budget for Google AdWords or Facebook ads to market your new app? Where will you find up your audience and how will you encourage them to act?

Money: Apps aren’t cheap to build. There are many skilled app companies who can help you create your desired app. If you get multiple quotes for your build and one developer has promised an app for a much cheaper price, then avoid it. You get what you pay for is an old saying for a reason. If you’re ready to make an investment, then be prepared to pay a good amount of money and have it take time to build. You should layout the plan for every app behavior and know how it will work from soups to nuts. This isn’t cheap, but an up front investment will pay dividends when you launch. Oh, and don’t forget that marketing budget!

So this begs the question: Is a mobile app right for you? There may be a lot dead weight in the app store and a steep drop-off of usage once folks do download your app, but some apps are useful when you have clear goals and expectations. Really do consider if it’s worth your time and money. Instead, maybe you need to focus on the mobile web? Since more and more people are on their phones anyway, you can start with a simpler approach.

Do you have a mobile-friendly website or microsite? 3 out of 10 websites are not mobile-optimized (which gets you dinged on Google search rankings). We build mobile-friendly websites and can build campaigns to help promote them. And we can help with your app strategy, when you’re ready. Truth is, you’ll spend less money making sure that your website or landing pages are truly mobile-friendly and starting a campaign to drive traffic (especially influencers or targeted audiences) to your website.

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