10 Myths of Mobile App Development

tediousfifthMobile - Wireless

Nov 12, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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10 Myths of

Mobile App
Development

10 Myths of Mobile App Development
This whitepaper aims to highlight some of the
misperceptions around mobile Apps.

It should give you a clear view on the ins and
outs of mobile App development and can
help you to decide if an App strategy is right
for you.
Contents
10 MYTHS

1.
Apps are the Holy grail for viral campaigns, brand
awareness and m-commerce utopia
2.
I only need to build an App for the iPhone
3.
I can simply distribute my App to the App store to
drive interest
4.
I can make money from Apps
5.
Apps differentiate themselves from mobile websites
through the ability to run offline
6.
I have no real alternative to developing individual
bespoke and costly Apps
7.
HTML5 will solve everything
8.
An App has a low threshold for adoption
9.
The success of Apps is easier to measure than
mobile browsing
10.
Apps are here to stay
Conclusion
10 Myths of Mobile App Developmen
t
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10 Myths of Mobile App Development
Myth 1
Apps are the Holy grail for viral campaign,
brand awareness and m-commerce utopia
A handful of Apps have attained exceptional viral results that are the envy of the market; the
Carlsberg lager App for example. In the main these developments have been the exclusive
domain of the world’s largest brands and of the millions of Apps available, most consumers only
remember a handful of them. There are simply too many Apps available to generate a high level
of new interest leaving consumers suffering from “App fatigue”. Indeed, research has shown that
most Apps are used only once before being deleted.
You should look at the purpose of the App, consider its viability if your brand was removed and
question whether it would still be of value to people. If it is, good! Then you might have a business
case for an App; if not, then you’d be better off spending your money more wisely.
Myth 2
I only need to build an App for the iPhone
For an optimal experience you need to develop an App for each
and every device. The argument “I only need to build an App for
the iPhone” no longer works, as indicated by the graph. People
use devices from various vendors, all utilising different operating
systems.
As the speed of change in the mobile market is enormous, it’s not
even safe to bet on statistics of today if you’re building a strategy to
last a year. In 12 months time the landscape may drastically differ
from that of today, which creates enormous overheads and costs.
App development is costly (typically 30-50k) per App, per device
and is labour intensive.
If you decide not to build an App for certain platforms, people
will need to either rely on your mobile site to deliver what they’re
looking for or bypass the experience altogether. You need to
ensure that you have all major platforms covered; if not, then you’re
offering them a poor user experience and are likely to alienate
people from your brand, products or services.
Figure above:
Market share global Q4 2010
10 Myths of Mobile App Development
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10 Myths of Mobile App Development
Myth 3
I can simply distribute my App to the App store
to drive interest
The first challenge to Marketers is that there is not just one App store and ideally you should build
and distribute Apps to multiple stores to get the best reach. There are 8 mainstream App stores
dominating market share today, and the number is growing monthly.
Myth 4
I can make money from Apps
Possibly true if you have a compelling enough App and a large enough target audience willing
to pay for the download. However it’s important to remember that App stores take a piece of the
pie of every download; plus Apps are costly to develop and maintain, and these costs increase
significantly with each additional App you deploy for each device and to each store.
Recent research conducted by MTV Networks indicates that 80% of those interviewed replace an
App relatively quickly with a functionally equal App that works better. Only 11% of respondents use
their favourite music or movie application longer than a year. For games the number is 17%
.
Current App stores:

Apple App Store

Google Android Market

Nokia Ovi Store

Blackberry App World

Microsoft Windows Marketplace for
Mobile

Samsung Application Store

Verizon V Cast App Store

Opera Mobile Store

Potential new candidate: HTC App Store
In May 2011 Apple’s App Store surpassed the 500,000 Apps mark. The process of publishing
Apps is not as easy as people think, and subject to approval by the App Store.
But that’s not all. How will your App be noticed once published? Would you still support your App
strategy were it to cost £300,000 (the anticipated cost to develop and publish a fully featured App
to each store), without even knowing for sure that the App will be noticed and used? The bottom
line is: getting your App published and noticed is not a trivial task, and should be firmly thought
through before embarking on development.
10 Myths of Mobile App Development
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10 Myths of Mobile App Development
Myth 5
Apps differentiate themselves from mobile websites
through the ability to run offline
Depending on the type of App you create, this myth may be valid - games are a good example of
how Apps can run online. In many cases though, Apps rely on content, which should not be baked
in statically, but pulled in dynamically. Otherwise, your App will be stale in no time based on out-of-
date content locked inside.
Further MTV Networks research indicates that for TV and movie Apps, new content (55%) is
one of the biggest reasons why consumers will use an App for the long-term. Whereas better
alternatives (55%) and lack of new content (42%) will drive a consumer to delete an App.
This means that Apps should be using dynamic feeds and you should connect them to a mobile
platform that can manage updates through some form of Content Management System (CMS).
In addition the new upcoming HTML5 standard allows web-based applications to store content
offline as well, which means that a mobile website on your mobile device, based on HTML5, could
still function properly, even if the device is disconnected from the internet. This could be a far more
compelling and agile solution compared to a static App.
Myth 6
I have no real alternative to developing
individual bespoke and costly Apps
This is no longer true. Mobile development platforms allow you to build web Apps that can
be deployed via a mobile website as well as through an App simultaneously. This scenario of
“Build Once - Deploy Many”, across any device, revolutionises mobile application development.
It emphasises the opportunity available to build something as a mobile web application,
automatically delivering the best experience on each device, and publishing it as an App to any
App store as well (should the business case to do so be valid), while leveraging device specific
capabilities such as a built-in camera. By using a mobile development platform and HTML5 for
the creation of the web App, there is no longer the need to duplicate work by developing bespoke
device-specific Apps.
10 Myths of Mobile App Development
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10 Myths of Mobile App Development
Myth 7
HTML5 will solve everything
This is not true. Even though it will greatly ease the development of web Apps for mobile devices,
it doesn’t solve a lot of issues that still need to be considered; such as:

Recognising and leveraging specific device capabilities, and delivering the best experience

Connection to data feeds and back-end systems

Dealing with user preferences

Transcoding video & images

Data compression
So really what you need is a mobile development platform, while leveraging HTML5 through
that platform to get the best results.
Myth 8
An App has a low threshold for adoption
This is certainly not the case. An App is a piece of software that needs to be installed on a mobile
device. This means that people need to go to an App store, find the right App, trust it (based on
peer reviews, which might be positive or negative) before installing it. To get access to future
features or information, they will need to install and run updates of the software. Often this is a
time consuming process.
Accordingly there is a relatively high threshold before someone gets access to the features or
information you provide through your App. If you compare that with the ability to provide the same
features or information through a mobile website, which can be accessed through the browser that
is already installed on someone’s mobile device, you can see that the threshold for a mobile
web-based application or mobile site is much lower. In addition, any updates you’d like to
provide will be readily available to anyone opening up your mobile site in their browser, without
going through the cumbersome process of reinstalling software.
10 Myths of Mobile App Development
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10 Myths of Mobile App Development
Myth 9
The success of Apps is easier to measure than
mobile browsing
Even though you could assume that the number of downloads of an App is reflective of its
success, this is quite short-term thinking. Once an App has been downloaded, you cannot keep
track of how often and how long it’s used for unless it connects to the internet and sends data
back to you. However if you’re considering an App that needs internet connectivity, you should
start to wonder if you shouldn’t consider building a cross device mobile web-based application in
the first place.
All devices shipped these days contain web browsers that support Javascript, which means you
can track online web behaviour on mobile devices just like you can track those on your regular
website. This will give you a lot of detailed information in terms of browsing behaviour, popular
content, pages or functionality. So measuring the amount of customer engagement you are
creating through your mobile web-based application or site is relatively straightforward. If you are
able to tie individual mobile browsing behaviour together with other information you have about
that person, new worlds of engagement open up that allow you to deliver a relevant, context
sensitive experience to mobile users.
Myth 10
Apps are here to stay
Some Apps will no doubt stay around on mobile devices. Games and entertainment Apps will
patently continue as fans are obsessed by them and ‘swap and change’ very frequently based on
the latest craze.
Commercial Apps may not have such a long shelf life as the desire to provide a cohesive
approach to marketing continues. Having to recreate content from website to mobile device will
become tedious and time consuming.
Other considerations around context, time and geo-position will play an even more important
factor. After all, delivering the right content to a device based on where it is and the time of day
unlocks exciting opportunities. Mobile web-based applications and sites that can interrogate the
mobile device are able to provide richer and deeper content, enabling brand positioning beyond
what we comprehend today. Imagine being able to offer your prospect a hot cup of coffee from
your restaurant in the morning when it may be cold or a lightly chilled sparkling Chardonnay in the
evening when it’s warm and sunny.
10 Myths of Mobile App Development
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10 Myths of Mobile App Development
Conclusion
Apps have been around for a while and will continue to be. However, a proper business case
should always be the foundation for the decision to build an App. Subsequent questions around
platforms and devices to support will inevitably need to be answered. If all of these can be
answered positively then you have a proper case to launch an App.
There is however a future-proof way for servicing your mobile audiences. Using web-based
technologies you are able to create a compelling mobile experience that is easier and cheaper
to maintain, fresher in terms of content and cross platform by its very nature. Developing
such a mobile presence requires standard web programming techniques rather than bespoke
development skills. The combination of using a Content Management System and a mobile
development platform supplies you with the tools you need to build such an engaging online
experience. Alterian can deliver the required technologies, helping you execute your mobile
strategy.
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© Alterian plc 2011
Twitter @Alterian
Blog www.engagingtimes.com
About Alterian
Alterian (LSE:ALN) enables organisations to create
relevant, effective and engaging experiences with their
customers and prospects through social, digital, and
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Engagement solutions are focused in four main areas:
Social Media, Web Content Management, Email &
Campaign Management & Analytics.
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