With mobile use skyrocketing, should brands be putting their content efforts into apps?  Let’s put it in context. Are you reading this blog on your mobile phone? Is your phone in your hand right now? Nearby? When was the last time you looked at your phone? Chances are, if you are like the rest of modern society, it was just seconds ago.

Now think about your activities while using your mobile phone: How often do you actually open a webpage to browse? Rarely, right? Most of the time, it’s likely your fingers are tapping apps, where you spend a whopping 85 percent of the time your smartphone is in use.

That’s a lot of time businesses could use to connect with their buyers—if they have an app.

Is It Time to Develop an App?
With this sort of evidence, our guts may be screaming, “Develop more apps!” And 42 percent of organizations agree, expecting to increase spending on mobile app development by an average of 31 percent in 2016, according to Gartner. However, not everyone feels the same push: the average proportion of the overall application development budget allocated to mobile is only 10 percent, a 2 percent decrease from 2015.

Why the decrease? While consumers are spending oodles of time in mobile apps, they are spending a majority of that time (84 percent worth) using just five non-native apps installed from the App store.

While those five apps will vary from person to person, they likely include a combination of social media, gaming, messaging, search, shopping or news.

A study from Nielsen supports these findings as well, noting that smartphone users mainly access fewer than 30 apps per month out of the millions available for download or purchase. But the real story here is the time spent engaging with those apps increased 63 percent from 2013 to 2015.

This suggests there is an upper limit to the amount of apps that truly succeed and only do so by offering users a deep, engaging experience.

What does this mean for businesses?

While mobile users do seem to prefer a mobile app experience, they are not necessarily open to allowing new apps into their rotation.

Before you sink time, money and resources into creating an app, consider these questions:

  • Who is this app for? It is likely only your most loyal and frequent customers will use your app, so determine if the application is worth it for this group.
  • What does the app offer? High functionality is a necessity for successful apps. Will your app connect your users with others in a meaningful way? Will it make their daily lives easier? Will it entertain them in a way they can’t be entertained elsewhere?
  • When and how will your app be used? Will it be a one-hit wonder (we’re looking at you, Pokemon GO!)? Will it be a must-view every morning? Can your customers easily integrate it into their daily lives?

So are apps the future of content marketing? Probably one part of it. But it doesn’t mean they need to be a part of your organization’s future. If a mobile application is truly the best way to tell your brand story or share your product/or service, great! If not, that’s OK, too.