The Rise and Rise of Phone Apps

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Smartphones have rapidly begun to transform how we live our everyday life through the sychronised rise of phone apps. The phrase “there’s an app for that” has been pushed to its absolute limits, as we are now able to order anything from food to a car, all to our current location. Want to know what the weather is going to be like at the beach or how to get there? Just check your pocket.

The face of the internet is changing…

Mobile internet use already accounts for “10 percent of total internet traffic, as opposed to one percent in 2009” (The Washington Post). This increasing dominance means that the way people engage with the internet is changing.Consumers are now spending more time than ever on their phones, accessing them multiple times a day and welcoming the notifications from the corporations that they have opted-in to engage with.

According to Pew Research, time spent using smartphones now exceeds Web usage on computers in the U.S., U.K. and Italy. People also can’t keep away from their phones, with users accessing them around 9 times a day (up 4 times a day from 2013). Mobile apps can be seen to be the main contributors to this increase, push notifications now alert consumers when to open their phone and often serve as a gateway to checking other apps. This key feature presents companies with a rare opportunity for unintrusive and direct communication with their customers who opt-in for such notifications through their consent and desire to receive content.

Phone apps have emerged as a fundamental digital touchpoint across multiple industries through their ability to add value to their user’s life.

A recent Forrester study found that consumers who receive push notifications from shopping/coupon apps spend almost double the time using these apps as those who did not opt in for such notifications. Around 50% of smartphone users are also willing to engage with a business online if it benefits them through product offers and or discounts.

Successful apps are also known to streamline the consumer process, aiming to eliminate all possible sources of friction between the consumer and a service. Everything is now, and on-demand, to encourage user participation. Customers crave immediate gratification, and digital touch points allow for such, wherever they are.

 

What can the crowd tell us?

We asked our crowd what made them use or cease using an app and how many apps they did/did not use on a regular basis. We were also interested in how developers could encourage users to reopen an app to successfully drive consistent engagement.

3 pies done

From 50 responses, 84% cited convenience and how it serves their needs as a major determinant of how regularly they use an app

60% used apps daily that they feel benefited them in some way while 42% of respondents claimed they would delete an app if they felt it was no longer relevant (not meeting their needs or not updating content regularly enough). 26% also mentioned bugs and crashes as a major deterrent from using an app. Other disincentives and reasons for uninstalling were: the speed of the app, the UI, the development of more convenient alternatives, the loss of novelty and the use of battery life and or data.

Drivers for daily use also included: communication, information/entertainment, business use, news/sports updates, addictive games and real time updates. When asked about motivation to reopen an app, users commonly listed: notifications, new features/content, software updates, incentives/rewards and how quickly the app opens. Our crowd members said they use anywhere between 3 and 20 apps daily with an average of 8.3. The amount of inactive apps installed varied much more, with answers ranging from 5-100 with an average of 26.

The disparity between used and unused apps highlights the pressure developers are under to create something that benefits the user while being seamlessly integrated into their daily routine.

The service must also remain relevant to keep customers engaging with it or it risks joining the list of other uninstalled apps. A key way to encourage this is the use of push notifications, as they inform users when they should use the app by reminding them of an incentive or reason to visit that small section of their phone

What we learnt:

A mobile app succeeds in driving engagement if it helps consumers save time and money while increasing the accessibility of a service. We built our app for our crowd, to ensure our clients questions are answered by who they want, when they want. We believe it will improve our service by giving our crowd a platform to stay connected with us while streamlining the already fast response times for our clients. An app for Android is on the way and will be released later this year.

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