For SMEs apps are rarely the right answer

When Apple launched the App Store in 2008 it created an incredible new digital ecosystem almost overnight.

aidan-watt-hotfootBy Aidan Watt, technical director at Hotfoot Design.

Rather than just build websites, developers could now create apps for their clients. It was a gold rush for agencies all over the world.

It’s said in a gold rush the only people certain to get rich are those selling pickaxes, and so it was during the app craze. Some agencies made a fortune, but many of their smaller clients struggled to make a return on their investment.

The reasons for this are pretty simple. The vast majority of apps are very rarely used. On average people interact with only around 25 apps a month, and 75% of app usage comes from just 200 apps. Most of these popular apps are created by multi-billion dollar companies: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Amazon, YouTube, WhatsApp, Pokémon Go and so on.

The problem for SMEs is they need to create at least two apps (one for Apple, one for Android), they need to persuade people to install their app (not an insignificant barrier), they need to offer something so compelling it’s worth using the app regularly, and then they need something for everyone else - people using desktops and laptops, and all the people on tablets and mobile that don’t have the app installed. And that’s why, in 99% of cases, we recommend our SME clients invest their money, energy and focus into a responsive website, one that works perfectly on all devices and screen sizes, from desktops and laptops to tablets and mobile.