5 Data-Driven Reasons You Should Build a Mobile App for Your Business
By Lucas Miller
We all use 'em: They’re the lifeblood of our smartphones, the gadgets that keep us staring at our screens and even using our thumbprint to make quick purchases. I'm talking of course about ... mobile apps. For many businesses, mobile apps represent an opportunity for serious growth. Tools that enable a better user experience, push-notifications, more consistent communication with customers and quick payment options are already making many businesses loads of money. Amazon and Facebook are two typical examples.
But there are also many smaller businesses (B2C, B2B, SaaS, PaaS and others) building (and benefiting from) mobile apps. So, should your business join them? Should you too build a mobile app? Here are five data-driven reasons why you might want to do just that.
1. The average cost to get a user to install an app is just $2.89.
Advertising is one of the largest overhead costs for businesses, especially for startups trying to establish themselves as the go-to provider in a given industry. Fortunately for startups that have built and optimized mobile apps, the average cost to get a user to install that app is just $2.89, according to the 2018 Mobile App Engagement Index.
That cost, of course, is usually just the first step in a larger sales funnel. But once someone has installed your app on a smartphone, he or she can visit that app over and over again -- bringing your business free attention and maybe even sales.
Here’s how Eric Wise, president and co-founder of ISBX, a company that builds mobile apps for other brands, explained it to me in a recent email: “The wonderful part about building a mobile app for your customers and prospects is that, once installed, those people can continue to use your app, see your brand and interact with your business day-in and day-out without any further advertising," Wise wrote.
"If it’s a helpful app that keeps users interested, it’ll bring those people back over and over again."
2. The average smartphone user has 80 apps and uses about 40 of them every month.
Mobile apps are nothing if not intertwined with most Americans' daily lives. There’s even a word, now, for the fear of being away from one’s smartphone: nomophobia.
It’s no surprise then, that by 2021, the number for total mobile app downloads is expected to reach 352.9 billion per year, according to a Business of Apps report.
That’s a lot of downloads … and a lot of opportunity for the businesses that create and optimize those apps to create conversions. Plus, the average smartphone user doesn’t just download those apps, he or she uses almost 40 of them every single month, according to an App Annie report.
The point is, people -- your customers -- love downloading and using great apps. And since you want to get in front of them, you might as well be where they’re already looking.
3. Consumers spent $100 billion on or in mobile applications in 2018.
At this point, the average skeptic will think, “Sure, people spend a lot of time on their smartphones using apps … but how much do they actually spend?”
And that’s a great question: The answer? Anecdotal evidence shows that many of us don’t feel that we spend much money at all using or purchasing mobile applications. But while that might feel like the case, it isn’t true. In 2018 alone, consumers spent $100 billion on or in mobile applications according to App Annie. And mobile app consumer spending increased by 75 percent in 2017 and 2018, to $101 billion, according to the same source.
Of course, some apps are more suited to consumers making purchases than others are. Amazon’s shopping app, for instance, generates much more revenue than Gmail does. But that’s because one directly sells products while the other offers a free service. For those who build their app to generate revenue, there’s plenty of opportunity.
4. Eighty-three percent of people polled believed a seamless experience across all devices is “very important.”
People in today’s world have a smartphone in their pocket or purse, a tablet in their backpack and a laptop on their desk. And the average person alternates among these devices for different purposes. In fact, the typical U.S. household has five of these smart devices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a finding that again illustrates people’s varied use of devices, 83 percent of people surveyed counted a seamless experience across devices as “very important” for businesses they work with, according to an overview of data by Toptal.
And while having a mobile app solves just one piece of that pie, it might be the biggest piece, considering that 85 percent of households surveyed had two smartphones and the average person polled reported spending nearly three hours on their phone every single day, according to another overview, by Hackernoon.
5. Ninety percent of people polled who described a mobile experience as “helpful” would purchase from that brand again.
Here’s the reality: Not all mobile apps are created equal. While some of these apps create a remarkable user experience, others leave us confused and frustrated. For the latter, the result is usually an app that users quickly delete.
Yet seeing their poor-performing app deleted isn't a company's only concern; 90 percent of people, according to App Annie, who described a mobile experience as “helpful” would purchase from that brand again and -- same source -- 62 percent of people who had had a bad experience on mobile said they were less likely to purchase from that brand in the future. This means that if you do create a mobile app for your customers and/or prospects, quality is king.
Apps are everywhere.
Big businesses and small businesses alike use apps to generate leads, convert prospects and upsell customers. And the above five data-driven reasons prove just how powerful building a mobile app for your business could be.