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Monday, February 1, 2010

Hype vs. truth: Mobile apps

If you follow the industry buzz, or talk to app developing agencies, it sounds as if everyone is madly buying apps for their smartphones. However, a recent study found that 45% of smartphone users have never bought an app. Also, more than 38% spoke of their frustrations regarding the cost of apps.

61% of app purchases are music, which narrows the market for app buyers down significantly. Of the customers who purchased apps, 87% spent less than $50 on apps total last year.

So what is the truth? Are apps hot, or not?

Yes, they are hot. But if someone tells you that you have to have one, and it is a guaranteed revenue channel, they're exaggerating. Actually, outright lying. This is how buzzwords are used to manipulate how we view the world. Apple, Motorola, and other device manufacturers are advertising about apps because they are a feature that many customers are looking for. More than a billion apps have been downloaded from Apple's iTunes App Store. The hype is used by the get-rich-quick types to push app development, and next thing we know, many businesses are creating mobile apps that no one wants.

Reality is, a great mobile app can help customers connect with brands, if it is the right fit. The key is to know your audience, and what they want. Follow your customers, not the industry buzzwords.

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