What is an app?
'App' is short for 'application' - which is another name for a computer program. Normally, when people talk about apps they are almost always referring to programs that run on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablet computers.
Apps can let your phone or tablet do almost anything that the programmers can imagine (within the technical limitations of the device). Since the release of Apple's iPhone, smartphones have become powerful enough to perform more than just the features that were built into the phone. Once Apple allowed anyone to develop apps for their phone they began to rise in popularity, and there are now over 500,000 apps available on the iPhone alone!
At the end of 2014, American research giants Nielson reported the world’s top 10 most downloaded apps in 2014. The results were as follows:
- Facebook. With 118million average unique users. 2014 saw new take up for Facebook with a 15% year on year increase.
- Google search. 90 million average unique users gave the Google search app a strong second place.
- YouTube. 88 million average unique users.
- Google Play. 84 million average unique users.
- Google Maps. 79 million average unique users.
- Gmail. The worlds most popular email app with 72 million average unique users.
- Facebook Messenger. 53 million average unique users.
- Google+. 48 million average unique users.
- Instagram. 43 million average unique users and a 34% year on year increase.
- iTunes Radio/iCloud. 42 million unique users.
So far in 2015 there is a clear trend in development of apps around ‘helpful organisational tools’ aimed at small businesses.
Evernote is an app, which according to the developers literally helps you to ‘remember everything’. It has been designed for small businesses allowing users to store, organise and share text, photos, and voice notes - allowing entrepreneurs to easily keep track of all of their brilliant ideas.
Google’s new Drive app lets users seamlessly port and edit files from PC to tablet to smartphone. Not only is it a fully-featured office suite, the software also acts as a full cloud drive, letting you store any file type via a virtual drive app or a web interface. Google app is already the top choice for small business webmail, and Google is moving to repeat that success in the cloud storage arena.
InDinero is an easy way to keep track of business cash flow and manage day-to-day finances. The app syncs up to bank accounts and credit cards and helps business predict future cash flows according to past cash flow trends. The popular web app has completed over 2.5 million transactions and received $1.2 million in seed funding.
Does your business need an app?
Do you believe you have a need for an app? Apps are expensive to develop, they are not gimmicks and so there must be a clear business need for one. They should be treated as a serious business tool with a specific objective in mind. It could be to enable quick payment for goods or services, to get closer to your customer, which then enables use of data to generate cash from other services (think Facebook and their onward sale of advertising and sponsored posts cleverly targeted via the use of their database). An app could allow your customer to action something for themselves e.g booking a table if you are a restaurant owner, booking onto a lecture if you are a college or university, scheduling a meeting if you are a consultant, booking a call out if you are an architect… the list is endless.
However, rarely does an app explode by simply being brilliant. It is down to the selling and marketing. It takes facetime and investment in promotion on a local level taking into account why people should find you interesting and enough to action their interest in order to see a return on your investment.
We’ve developed some great apps for clients, with a creative use of technology to meet their needs within a reasonable budget. If you have a need for an app, or just want to understand more, get in touch with us. We are always happy to help.