Many publishers have come to the conclusion they need to have a mobile app. But building a mobile app is not always – or even often – a straightforward process. Many are letting execution drive strategy. Here are the common mistakes companies when entering the world of mobile apps:
Same old, same old
Do not launch an application just to do it. Avoid “me too” apps and only add apps that bring real value to the user. If you find yourself contemplating, designing or introducing a mobile app just because it seems like everyone else is doing it, stop and reassess. Before you invest the time, money, intellectual and brand capital into an app, ensure it adds something new. Ask yourself if the app makes things easier for users and if it makes them further connected and more mobile.
Be strategic. A fairly common mistake is to move forward on an app without having a strategy in place. Knowing what you want to do is important, but if you cannot answer the questions “why?” and “how?” you are asking for trouble. The best apps are ones where a company takes the time to determine which of their existing digital and online strengths would transfer most effectively to mobile. It may be greater access to communities or the ability to share information in real time—but whatever the priorities are, creating and executing a sound strategic vision are critically important.
No market research
Far too many companies attempt to transition from social to mobile without understanding the nuances of the mobile marketplace. Do not limit yourself. Remember that there is more than one platform to build on, and design and build your app accordingly. Take the time to consider how the design of the app itself will be impacted not only by the functionality requirement, but by the technical specifications and limitations of the platform/device. Above all, the target audience needs to access an optimal navigation and look and feel for multiple devices.
No metric system
Know what your goals are and set goals for success accordingly. The failure to identify key metrics—and the inability to be flexible enough to change those metrics as circumstances evolve—is a common problem. Depending on what your goals are, set the right metrics to record successes and failures. Do you want to increase the number of users? Do you want to start a new conversation? Shift behavior/usage patterns – such as changing how, when and why users upload photos.
David Farbman is the CEO of Outdoor Hub, an ad platform reaching outdoor enthusiasts online. Outdoor Hub is part of Outdoor Hub Holdings.