Global consulting firm Deloitte says start-ups should develop utility-based apps for their brands in the wake of new research that suggests consumers are indifferent to promotional apps.
A new Deloitte survey, based on the responses of 31,000 global mobile users, analysed apps published on the iPhone, Google’s Android and BlackBerry devices.
The report reveals that more than 75% of mobile app users expect all brand name companies to have a mobile app while 45% of consumers with a smartphone download an app at least once a week.
The survey shows that 80% of branded apps analysed by Deloitte have been downloaded less than 1000 times, suggesting that companies are missing the mark when it comes to attracting customers via their apps.
“Brands view apps as a golden opportunity to communicate directly with consumers and in a more meaningful, long-term manner,” Deloitte media partner Howard Davies says.
“When brands get it right the returns can be huge.”
According to the report most companies appear to be getting it wrong. Deloitte warns that the situation is likely to worsen as app stores become more popular and users become more mature about app usage.
“Gone are the days when a pint of beer sliding along a bar will catch the interest of users enough to be downloaded let alone used regularly,” the report says.
“While research shows that games are the most popular category a branded game must rely on its intrinsic entertainment value to drive downloads rather than the underlying brand.
“With games receding as a realistic option for brands seeking to advertise on mobile the other option is to provide utility apps.”
Deloitte’s analysis shows the most effective way to cut through the crowded apps market is to make best use of smartphone technology, including the accelerometer, touchscreen, camera and GPS.
Deloitte says the integration of app functionality and platform features will dominate the next phase of app development by advertisers and brands.
“Location data is important for the evolution of the app market. If data gathered locally could be exchanged with data from the cloud then targeted advertising could be developed and this would help brands to make money from their apps,” Davies says.
Davies says brands need to co-operate with traditional advertising vendors, with companies with similar ambitions in other industries and even with competitors.
“At the moment the feed of data from handsets to media planners is still inconsistent across operators and platforms and as a result difficult to use on any scale by advertisers. This will need to be resolved in order for brands to make the most from apps.”
Deciding which platform to place your company’s app on is also important with Deloitte estimating that the cost of developing the same application for two platforms is 160% of the cost of developing for one.