I *still* don't get the appeal of... APPS...

30 replies
I must admit, I have a history of NOT understanding the appeal of things.

The ringtone craze. The twitter craze. Etc. I missed them all... cuz "I knew better." I did not see the appeal. In fact, I was SURE there would be no appeal!! And yet...

Now it's apps.

Here's my mental/phylisophical problem with apps.

I fully see why the marketer would want his/her app on people's phone! That makes sense.

BUT... Why (oh why) would a CONSUMER want a company's app on their phone? Isn't it the consumer's MANTRA, "please marketers GET OUT of my life!" So why would a consumer VOLUNTARILY put some marketing mumbo-jumbo (ultimately, an app IS merely a way for the marketer to be MORE INTRUSIVE) -- so... why WOULD a consumer voluntarily put that on their phone?

I don't get it.

Please help me out here.

Thanks!

-- TW
#appeal #apps
  • Profile picture of the author RelaxFactor
    You're absolutely right. An app user won't install some mumbo-jumbo app if it doesn't have any value for him.
    It's the same as some shitty website. You won't get much real users if you don't give them something they like or want.
    You need to make an app as appealing as possible. Give them a good reason why they should use your app. F.ex. it brings some extras they won't have on a normal company's website. If you sell something, you can offer them a 10% off if they use your app and opt-in for push notifications to receive the most recent offers on their phone.
    Alternatively, if you have a company mascot, you could include some little game in your app. Users love such things. It makes them happy and increase user retention.

    Keep in mind that mobile users are prefering native apps over mobile websites.

    Also you can generate an additional income stream from your mobile app via advertising.
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  • Profile picture of the author ltrain_riders
    Absolutely. Provide value first. People will install and use apps from marketers if it provides them with something of value. Also remember this. Most consumers aren't as aware as you are. You might not see a "craze" because it's so silly or looks too gimmicky, but most consumers lack the marketing IQ to understand and see what is going on.
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  • Profile picture of the author germoney
    I see, you have a negative picture of marketers in your mind or believe that consumers think bad about every marketer. But... look which great work Coca Cola does when it comes to marketing! People love to use their apps and share them because they see some kind of value in it. It's not about having an app that has the company's name in the title - it's about having an app that provides such a great value for the users that people will talk good about the company that has created it. Of course there are also these kinds of apps which are for the customers that ARE already fans (non-customer-aquistition-apps). These apps (for example) provide only information on new products or dates of special events.....
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  • Profile picture of the author TimothyW
    Here's another way to put my mental dilemma...

    Many people DVR their favorite shows. then watch them at their convenience. When they watch the show, they skip over the commercials (FF).

    Why?

    Because they don't want to be "bothered" by the ads.

    Now, you're gonna ask those SAME people this (basically)... "Hey, do you mind if I put this big billboard in your living room?"

    Again, I can see clearly why this would be an advantage to the marketer! But, what's in it for the consumer? He/she is voluntarily setting up a mechanism by which the marketer can more effectively BUG the consumer. That's the exact thing the consumer is trying constantly to AVOID.
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    • Profile picture of the author Aussie_Al
      I can totally relate to what you are saying - however if the app offers real value then I will add it to my smartphone

      I have IMDB's app on my smartphone - if I am watching a movie and see an actor I swear I have seen before I can grab my phone and look them up right away

      I would also consider using an app by say Zip Cars, Priceline, Hotels.com etc

      As they add value and ease of use for me
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    apps arent just ads, they can be very functional. Don't get what you are asking.
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  • Profile picture of the author TimothyW
    Let's take a restaurant app. What is/are the benefit(s) to the consumer? It's like those self-checkout line at the supermarket. I see how it benefits the store (!), but what's the benefit to the shopper? What if the store had a milk-your-own-cow section?

    The app makes it easier for the customer to shop. The TV commercials make it easier for me to know what's for sale out there. So do pop up ads on my computer. But, as a consumer, my attitude towards those things is, "get OUT of my life!!" I am not interested in making it EASIER for me to buy things from you. I've got PLENTY of incoming marketing messages as it is, without me voluntarily CARVING OUT extra space for YOU to set up shop on my personal mobile phone!
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    • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
      Originally Posted by TimothyW View Post

      Let's take a restaurant app. What is/are the benefit(s) to the consumer? It's like those self-checkout line at the supermarket. I see how it benefits the store (!), but what's the benefit to the shopper? What if the store had a milk-your-own-cow section?

      The app makes it easier for the customer to shop. The TV commercials make it easier for me to know what's for sale out there. So do pop up ads on my computer. But, as a consumer, my attitude towards those things is, "get OUT of my life!!" I am not interested in making it EASIER for me to buy things from you. I've got PLENTY of incoming marketing messages as it is, without me voluntarily CARVING OUT extra space for YOU to set up shop on my personal mobile phone!
      Let me give you an example of an app I wouldn't be without....

      We live in a rural area about 10-15 miles from the city. We do all our
      grocery shopping at one particular store. That store also has a pharmacy.

      We have their app on our phones because they offer a service whereby we
      can access their inventory and compile a list of groceries we want to order.
      They send someone around to pick the order and having it waiting at an express
      checkout when we arrive to pick it up. It saves us tons of time. We can also
      order and renew prescriptions from their pharmacy through the app. We have
      a debit card on file with the pharmacy so they fill the scrip, charge the card, and
      mail the order to us.

      Yes... they also advertise current sales and coupon deals through the app
      but we have no objection because the whole setup provides such enormous
      value to us.

      If you have the skills to create that kind of app for a local merchant you
      will be their friend for life... and their customers will love them for providing
      the app.

      The same type of thing could be done for a restaurant... order and pay
      through the app and get express seating upon arrival and your hot meal
      delivered to your table almost immediately.
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      • Profile picture of the author joinmikedavis
        I'm new here, but I found this topic of interest since I recently got involved with Global App Network (GAN) - company that provides apps to businesses/marketers. I would say it's not an intrusion per say since the person has a choice to download the app. It's not being forced (yet...lol). So, I would think people only download something that can benefit them. Our society these days is about speed and convenience which an app provides.

        GAN provides those very kinds of apps Tsnyder mentioned (his restaurant example) above whereby full menus and prices are provided, map/gps, all social media (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter,ect), Ustream, coupon/rewards program via the app, reservations and several other things that benefit the customer. And as far as the push notification...well I would think the business would only use to notify of events/sales/discounts. But again, it comes back to the control in the hands of the person downloading the app.

        I'm an IM who understands that I really don't have to sell if I build the relationship first...provide ongoingvalue. As we know people buy from people/businesses they know/like/trust. I have a ton of businesses chasing me down to buy an app from me (I'm an app affiliate of GAN) for the simple reason that they want to keep in contact with their already established customer base and build a relationship with new customers.

        GAN also provides apps to marketers/entrepreneurs (yes, mine is ordered)...again it's a way to better communicate with already established followers. But even new followers will appreciate the app and subsequent notification because of the value that marketer/entrepreneur provides.

        GAN app resellers are making a grand daily...easily.

        Overall, I see apps like I do desktop shortcuts...they take me to places I already want to go faster.


        Just my 2 cents
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  • Profile picture of the author Gladiator
    There some business can use Aps if they are entertaining and very well done! But from what I see most aps are just like a mobi site and so I'm in the op camp on this!

    IMO - The mobi site will do the job very well for most of all businesses!

    Andre
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  • Profile picture of the author cpmnetwork
    My thing if I was an advertiser is that 97% of people do all technology vices from their smart or android phone. People are on the run and they blog daily to Twitter, FB, forums, craigslist, email texting and so much more from their phone.
    -
    With the speed of technology these days, mobile apps are so easy to access and apparently making tons of profit for advertisers. Maybe there should be a company who brings together mobile apps and network marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author serryjw
    For the same reason the consumer opts into SMS or a deal a day website. Amazon is the most intrusive company that I love. They know everything about my buying habits BUT in the end the save me so much time surfing. They send me emails of products that I have bought similar items before..just suggestive selling...it works
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    • Profile picture of the author TimothyW
      Originally Posted by serryjw View Post

      For the same reason the consumer opts into SMS or a deal a day website. Amazon is the most intrusive company that I love. They know everything about my buying habits BUT in the end the save me so much time surfing. They send me emails of products that I have bought similar items before..just suggestive selling...it works
      Yes, but have you allowed a-zon to teather itself to you, like an app does?

      An app is like a TOOL BAR. If a company asks me to install THEIR toolbar on MY computer, I call that overly intrusive! The same goes for apps. That's prime, personal, GUARDED real estate!
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      • Profile picture of the author umc
        It isn't like the app is always there, marketing to you every time you glance at your screen or use something unrelated. But when my wife wanted to get her hair cut yesterday, she fired up the app for the salon and found out the wait time. She had 15 minutes, so she stopped and got some quick groceries on the way. That's awesome, not intrusive.
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        • Profile picture of the author TimothyW
          Originally Posted by umc View Post

          It isn't like the app is always there, marketing to you every time you glance at your screen or use something unrelated. But when my wife wanted to get her hair cut yesterday, she fired up the app for the salon and found out the wait time. She had 15 minutes, so she stopped and got some quick groceries on the way. That's awesome, not intrusive.
          Yes, I see that -- but isn't part of an app, the merchant's ability to reach out to the customer, and "tap the consumer on the shoulder" WHENEVER THE MERCHANT PLEASES?
          (sms, push messaging)

          That's the exact thing I spend a lot of my time trying to avoid (when I am wearing my consumer hat). I think many people are like me -- "Hey, marketers -- you stay in your little box, and I'll call you, if I need you." If you don't stay in your place, my immediate reaction is gonna be --- KMA!

          It's a question of who is tapping whom, on the shoulder.

          To me, apps seem like a case of the servant becoming the master.
          (the consumer voluntarily RELINQUISHING CONTROL over their personal space, to the marketer(s).)

          -- TW

          PS: All that being said, I am STILL gonna try to get on the apps bandwagon! I am, as we speak, getting set up to be a maker + seller of apps. I am trying desperately to understand the appeal NOW! So far, no dice. (((sigh))) (another gold rush squandered by my inability to "see the light")
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          • Profile picture of the author umc
            Originally Posted by TimothyW View Post

            Yes, I see that -- but isn't part of an app, the merchant's ability to reach out to the customer, and "tap the consumer on the shoulder" WHENEVER THE MERCHANT PLEASES?
            (sms, push messaging)
            Nope. At least not on the apps that my wife has used. She's never been "tapped on the shoulder" by an app. Perhaps some apps allow that, or maybe she's got something set up on her phone to shut down the push service, but she has never had your greatest fear occur, nor would she continue to use the app if that was the case. Are there ads on some apps, much like you would see in some games? Sure, but they are unobtrusive and allow the game or app to be free. But it isn't like there are insidious ads just waiting to bother you from every app that you have. If there are in a particular app, I'm sure that app won't last on some people's phones for very long.
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      • Profile picture of the author serryjw
        Originally Posted by TimothyW View Post

        Yes, but have you allowed a-zon to teather itself to you, like an app does?

        An app is like a TOOL BAR. If a company asks me to install THEIR toolbar on MY computer, I call that overly intrusive! The same goes for apps. That's prime, personal, GUARDED real estate!
        Google cracks me up..now that's intrusive. Everytime I surf for furniture or clothing I SEE the store's ad I was at for days. It all depends on what you really want. I live in D/T Denver. There are all kinds of clubs and restaurants here that you people frequent. I can see why an APP on their phone would be an advantage. The merchant can push notify of specials & upcoming events.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    People want relevant targeted deals and discounts in addition to functionality like making appointments etc..... It's not the same as spam. Deal sites have really proven this although they are bordering on spam these days.

    You are broad brushing all apps w/ the notion of random spam advertising. If a business abuses its app, consumers will just delete it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Valdor Kiebach
    Originally Posted by TimothyW View Post

    Why (oh why) would a CONSUMER want a company's app on their phone?
    For the same reason they want a companys app on their desktop / laptop. To use it.

    The Facebook app makes Facebook easier to use, the Youtube app makes Youtube easier to use.

    I think you mean why would people want to install an app from a local business that does nothing more than advertise the said business.

    In that case I have no idea.

    If you are planning on
    getting set up to be a maker + seller of apps
    then you should try and make your apps worth installing, an unwritten rule of the apps business seems to be free app = ads, paid for apps = NO ads.

    The app needs to be valuable / useful enough for the end user that they will put up with a few unobtrusive ads as long as they benefit from the app.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
    Originally Posted by TimothyW View Post

    BUT... Why (oh why) would a CONSUMER want a company's app on their phone?
    I also can't get the appeal of apps and I will never get. In some of my posts, I talked about how I felt about the future of apps and that I believed it was not bright. Because I see the future of web as device independent. App developers may think differently but this is what I believe.

    Having said that, we have to accept that apps are hot at the moment and people are using them at all times in their life. From the user point of view, I would install only the apps that I use frequently, such as apps to check weather, apps to check news, apps to buy movie tickets, apps to buy plane tickets etc. But, I would really never install apps of that small business owners who invest $$$$ into apps. Why on earth would I install the app of a restaurant or a hotel or a dentist or a car service that I may never visit again?
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    • Profile picture of the author TimothyW
      Originally Posted by Nail Yener View Post

      I also can't get the appeal of apps and I will never get. In some of my posts, I talked about how I felt about the future of apps and that I believed it was not bright. Because I see the future of web as device independent. App developers may think differently but this is what I believe.

      Having said that, we have to accept that apps are hot at the moment and people are using them at all times in their life. From the user point of view, I would install only the apps that I use frequently, such as apps to check weather, apps to check news, apps to buy movie tickets, apps to buy plane tickets etc. But, I would really never install apps of that small business owners who invest $$$$ into apps. Why on earth would I install the app of a restaurant or a hotel or a dentist or a car service that I may never visit again?
      Thanks Nail. Great minds think alike.
      However, as I said, like it or not, I WILL be trying to get on the bandwagon, and SELL apps -- whether or not I *understand* the appeal!
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      • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
        Originally Posted by TimothyW View Post

        Thanks Nail. Great minds think alike.
        However, as I said, like it or not, I WILL be trying to get on the bandwagon, and SELL apps -- whether or not I *understand* the appeal!
        With all due respect to you and Nail there's really nothing great
        about your thought process on this subject. In fact, it seems to
        be pretty narrowly defined by what YOU like or would do.

        The market is bigger than you... and the potential for apps... or anyhing
        else... is limited only by your imagination and creativity.

        I gave you a stellar example above of an app that adds tremendous
        value to my life. You should read the post...

        By the way... if you don't understand the appeal you... and certainly
        your potential customers... would be far better off staying out of that
        market. If you don't understand how to provide value you serve no one.
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        • Profile picture of the author TimothyW
          Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

          By the way... if you don't understand the appeal you... and certainly
          your potential customers... would be far better off staying out of that
          market. If you don't understand how to provide value you serve no one.
          That's my point -- I am trying to change my own mind on this topic! (so I can (successfully) jump on the bandwagon (aka: wave)).
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        • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
          Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

          With all due respect to you and Nail there's really nothing great
          about your thought process on this subject. In fact, it seems to
          be pretty narrowly defined by what YOU like or would do.

          The market is bigger than you... and the potential for apps... or anyhing
          else... is limited only by your imagination and creativity.

          I gave you a stellar example above of an app that adds tremendous
          value to my life. You should read the post...

          By the way... if you don't understand the appeal you... and certainly
          your potential customers... would be far better off staying out of that
          market. If you don't understand how to provide value you serve no one.
          I am not against the idea of having a platform that is easily accessible from any device (including mobile) anywhere at any time. What I don't favor and think that has no long term future is device-specific platforms. Let's say we have 10 different equally popular systems such as iOS, Android, etc. will we have 10 different apps built for each device? I agree this is how it works today but I think it will change eventually.
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  • Profile picture of the author kendallfb
    The App has to have GOOD FREE CONTENT for the consumer along with paid content. Also you don't sell to people in general, you sell to certain demographics.
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  • Profile picture of the author LeadGenie
    The thing is that you don't have to understand how a mobile restaurant app would benefit a customer. Many people just might not be into dl'ing an app to their phone, just like how many people might not be into facebook and twitter. But 3 out 10 people (probably more) "are" into these kind of things like social media and so some people "are" into dl'ing a local business app so they can get their 10% coupon and they feel all gushy or tweet about how great their food was (hopefully for our clients) in two seconds.

    Even though the majority of people in the world still don't really use SM. That doesn't keep millions of marketing dollars from being created.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    As a marketer to reach the widest spectrum of buyers you need to test and possibly run multiple marketing streams to reach your customers with the method (even subconsciously) they prefer being marketing to with.

    Also-- yes, today many small business apps seem to be somewhat mundane or hollow; however these app building platforms are in a very competitive market, the features, functionalities are being improved on almost a monthly if not weekly basis. The core purpose for a business to have an app is to bring in new customer and keep existing ones coming back more often. If app developers cannot deliver functionality of this type they will soon be out of business.

    Now consider that the app building platforms are getting better by the day and mobile marketing is still in its infancy. Don't you think the picture might look a little different than it does now a couple years down the road?
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  • Profile picture of the author sb
    Some of these points may have already been covered but I can't take the time to read every post, so please forgive me if I'm being redundant.

    I don't know what the longevity of apps will be but at this time, it's an ego boost for many business owners I deal with.

    Apps are prime real estate on a persons mobile device.

    Why would a consumer download a businesses app? Because they like the business and want to know about special offers, bargain deals, discounts and events the business offers to it's VIP Members.

    VIP Membership is one good way to get people to download your app. Promote the app as a way for only those who have the app to get Special Offers. Take your favorite restaurants for example. Wouldn't you like to know when they have a VIP only Special Offer where you can take advantage of a great deal and save money?

    Apps offer the ability to send Push Notifications. These are opened almost immediately by 95% of users. They blow email open and response rates out of the water. So a restaurant could send a push notification out at 10:00 am on slow Tuesdays notifying users that they're having a 2 for 1 lunch special. 95%+ will see that message and a fairly decent number of those users will show up to take advantage of the offer. I track this and see response rates of 18 - 36%. That's pretty good for the restaurant and the guest. The restaurant may not be making the profits they normally make but they're keeping their employees busy during slow times.

    Apps also have other cool functions that can make them valuable. One is a car finder that you can use to find your car when you leave a sporting event. They also have the updated menu's, reservations, tap to call, fun social interaction, tips calculator and a bunch of other things you can implement to make them valuable to the user.

    Personally, I'm not all that fond of apps either. I also never text, I'd rather email or use a phone to communicate. However, I see the value to the business, the consumer and this results in value to me, as in easy money in my pocket. Win, win, win.

    I realized that I talked a lot about the perspective of the business owner rather than the end user but in a nut shell (where my brain is located) it's a lot about saving money. feeling special and a few cool features. They get stuff that others don't.
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  • Profile picture of the author rickhodge
    Apps for mobile are not needed for small businesses.

    Larger businesses or chains can benefit from mobile apps.

    Not seeing the appeal as much myself for mom an pop biz.
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  • Profile picture of the author IMShoppingMall
    "Most" prefer mobile enabled websites according to Siteworx...

    MediaPost Publications Mobile Shoppers Prefer Retailer Web Sites To Apps 03/18/2013
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  • Profile picture of the author BzzApp
    Originally Posted by TimothyW View Post

    I must admit, I have a history of NOT understanding the appeal of things.

    The ringtone craze. The twitter craze. Etc. I missed them all... cuz "I knew better." I did not see the appeal. In fact, I was SURE there would be no appeal!! And yet...

    Now it's apps.

    Here's my mental/phylisophical problem with apps.

    I fully see why the marketer would want his/her app on people's phone! That makes sense.

    BUT... Why (oh why) would a CONSUMER want a company's app on their phone? Isn't it the consumer's MANTRA, "please marketers GET OUT of my life!" So why would a consumer VOLUNTARILY put some marketing mumbo-jumbo (ultimately, an app IS merely a way for the marketer to be MORE INTRUSIVE) -- so... why WOULD a consumer voluntarily put that on their phone?

    I don't get it.

    Please help me out here.

    Thanks!

    -- TW
    Two words: Ethical Bribes

    Why do consumers signup for supermarket cards or carry round loyalty cards? People love discounts and to feel they're getting a bargain or something special. People also love to collect things for a reward.

    Apps are more important for local businesses than large chain stores. While the large chain stores can buy discounted placements in local media, small businesses are ofter squeezed out. Local businesses now have a new, effective and inexpensive channel of communication to their customers in the form of Push Notifications. Local businesses can now, for minimal cost, offer their own slick loyal programs, GPS check-in discounts, bump tickets etc.

    In short the mobile internet and mobile apps are leveling the playing field for small businesses. While giving consumers more oppurtunity to claim bargains and deals outside of the monolithic chain stores. Which they otherwise might have missed.

    PS. I'm biased. I believe so much in the mobile app opportunity I took out a white label on a top app builder. You might want to checkout this WSO over here.
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