A live blog from a session at Internet Summit 2012 in Raleigh NC.

Mobile App Engagement

Tom Rouilliard at Internet Summit

Tom Rouilliard at Internet Summit

Tom Rouillard – VP Product Strategy, Stepleader, Inc.

If you build it will they come?

What makes an app engaging?

  • Quick start – Easy to use and navigate
  • Content – Updated and engraving
  • Reminders – Alerts, upgrades, marketing. Alerts and upgrades help remind the user they have the app and get them back in the habit of using it. Marketing: TV station promoted their app as part of “preparedness kit” before Hurricane Sandy.
  • Fulfillment – Deliver on promises.

Why do people abandon apps?

  • Confusing, requires account
  • It’s never updated
  • Forgot they downloaded it
  • Didn’t do what was promised

Hidden navigation

  • Users expect to tap the menu.
  • Analytics showed most users accessing content only on home screen.
  • Developers insisted using menu button was “the Android way,” but analytics proved otherwise. Talking to users, they said they never even knew the menu button was there.

Exposed Navigation

  • Added iOS like tab bar
  • Users can slide to expose more menus
  • Developers resisted as “too iPhone”

However, immediate and powerful rise in engagement.

Is the Age of Apps Coming to an End?

Alex Kutsishin, President FiddleFly, Inc

Why we think mobile web may be a better business solution.

Apps provide an efficient experience, and because of Apple, people think “apps” first when they hear “mobile.” Apps are powerful and let you perform complex tasks on a mobile device.

Downsides of Apps

  • Time consuming
  • Difficult to produce
  • Approval can take up to months
  • New code for each device
  • Changes can require extensive re-coding

End User Pitfalls

  • Updates make user have to work for you to engage
  • Native apps take up space on phone’s hard drive, clog memory, and affect battery life

Your app. Your Phone. That’s It. Just as developers need to build for different OS’s, users can only access apps that were made for their device.

Why go mobile site?

  • Platform neutral – code once and you’re done.
  • Simple to update and edit
  • Design, develop, deploy easily
  • Marketing

When is going mobile the best way to go?

  • Not for social media sites or games, banking, sharing.
  • Businesses that need to get real time info to customers.
  • Businesses that get found on Google. That’s where people go to find you, not the app store.
  • Franchises with lots of locations.
  • Businesses with not much budget. Way cheaper to produce great mobile site over app.


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