“The future of the mobile app depends on its daily usefulness”, Tiphaine Coupel (Infobip) – Strategies

Creating a mobile application is expensive, not only to develop it but also to maintain and update it afterwards. In addition, for several years now, some have been predicting the end of it and, in March 2022, the European Union reached an agreement on the Digital Market Act (DMA) involving the interoperability of instant messaging applications. So, are brands right to continue investing in these mobile applications or is it a question of building them differently? At a time when conversation becomes a requirement, will the alternative to allow brands to better communicate with their users be imposed by political authorities?

As many installs as uninstalls

Mobile apps are simply software applications that run on smartphones and tablets. Since their appearance, in the format we know today, it has been vital for brands to have their own applications in the same way as having a website. A majority of users even say they prefer to use brand applications rather than going to their website, this is the so-called “mobile first” trend.

However, we have been hearing for years about the impending death of mobile applications even though the number of smartphone owners is increasing, in parallel with the number of Internet users. The Gartner Institute predicts that 80% of customer service applications will disappear in favor of instant messaging applications. This is probably explained by the fact that users use less than 50% of the applications they have installed on their mobile.

These are essentially applications that are used in everyday life such as those relating to their bank, transport, or even the media. On the other hand, we note that, alongside the growth in downloads, there is also a peak in uninstallations. When it comes to apps, keeping users engaged is therefore a complex issue.

Facilitating the customer experience can become an irritant

The main reason for uninstalling is that users no longer use the applications (39% according to a survey conducted by CleverT). However, they installed them in the first place but often experienced this action as a constraint imposed by the brand. Indeed, to access a service punctually or make a simple purchase via mobile, some brands ask the user to download the application. In this case, the brands consider that bringing the prospect into their universe will provide them with a quality experience.

But they forget the fact that from the start, downloading the application is an irritant because it requires creating an account, communicating personal information… This is obviously paradoxical because the customer journey is less fluid than when downloading. a similar in-store purchase, even though the purpose is identical.

If downloading an application is a sign of customer engagement, uninstalling it shows that the brand does not know how to enrich the lives and experiences of users, unlike what messaging applications offer. . These are key for customers who want to come into direct contact with brands outside of mobile applications or the desktop site. Unfortunately, to date, these are closed ecosystems.

Concretely, to converse with the brands, a user must go through each of the apps while he has one or more messaging apps on his smartphone that centralize all of his interactions. This way of proceeding is therefore not seamless, which degrades its experience with the brand and can lead to abandonment of baskets, a move to competition…

Towards a native cross-channel between applications

These various findings therefore lead to wondering if the applications are well enough thought out and if they should not open up to messaging applications and vice versa. It even seems that it is towards this future that the European DMA regulation is pushing, one of the measures of which would like identical standards to be adopted by all messaging applications.

The big advantage of messaging applications is that they are used on a daily basis and that they concentrate all the user’s conversations in one place. A bit like a tracker, the user is accustomed to checking their messages there daily, whether they are private or branded. Having started the conversation with him via messaging means that the brand becomes part of the user’s daily environment. Therefore, the approach is not to invite the user to come into his brand universe but to be present and available in his daily life – when he has decided or when he needs it.

Opening messaging apps and bridging branded apps could curb the uninstall trend. The customer’s personal data and the history of interactions or exchanges of documents would remain stored in the brand’s app, so the user would have an interest in keeping it. The conversation could take place in the messaging application. It is clearly not a question of opposing one to the other but of optimizing the customer experience by capitalizing on the best of both worlds.

Today, brands must favor omnichannel and adjust the communication cursor. The current trend is towards “inbound” or “pull”, that is to say bringing the customer to you, and more really “push”, the excessive use of which we know causes more damage to the brand’s image than it brings benefits. Knowing your customer requires a presence on all communication channels but above all by favoring the one that the customer prefers to use.

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“The future of the mobile app depends on its daily usefulness”, Tiphaine Coupel (Infobip) – Strategies

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