A native mobile app is installed on the device (i.e. smartphone or tablet) itself with access to its features and functions. It is built using the device’s native programming language and only run on their designated platform. As such Android apps can’t run on iOS, iOS apps can’t run on Windows etc. Native apps are downloaded via their platform’s marketplace/app store.
Remember you have options – you can also choose to develop a mobile web app (which run in the device’s browser and operate across all platforms) or a hybrid app (a cross between native apps and mobile apps – it is a mobile web app wrapper in a platform-specific shell). Whatever kind of app you choose to develop here are some general considerations to take into account:
- What need does my mobile app fulfill? – don’t just build an app as a marketing tactic, provide value to your target audience/consumer.Your app can make it easier for customers to order from you using their phones. Examples: Starbucks, Domino's Pizza. You can also use it to deliver promotions and offers to customers.
- What do my competitors’ mobile apps look like? How can I innovate past them or incorporate their successful features?
- Will my customer use the app on their own or with a group of people? – this significantly effects the kind of content and functionalities you provide – remember always keep the end-user in mind.
- Will my target audience be looking at my app because he/she is bored or in a hurry? – this effects whether you build an app based on convenience or provide in-depth content.
- Building a mediocre app is as bad as building a mediocre product – remember brand fans who were previously impressed with your product, website and social media presence may now be turned off by a sub-par app.
But before you decide to jump into the world of native mobile apps read on to find out both the pros and cons of native mobile apps for businesses.
Pros of Native Apps
- App store distribution –
- Device integration –
Cons of Native Apps
- Development/Acquisition Cost –
Another costing factor to consider before embarking on the creation of a brand native app is the cost of acquisition. Do not assume that if you build an app an audience will automatically migrate to it. Typically companies end up spending significant amounts to drive installs. This in addition to churn (the amount of customers or subscribers who cut ties with a service or brand during a given time period) which for native apps can exceed 50%, runs the cost of acquiring installs to be very high.
- Platform Instability –
- No portability –
- Frequent Updates/Maintenance –
Keep the points outlined in this blog post in mind when creating your strategy for building a brand app.