Apps revolutionised the way we access content via mobile and tablet devices. Apple introduced the App Store in 2008 with Google Play Store following for Android devices.
The uptake of apps exploded. However, this has now begun to shift.
A recent article from recode states the average American smartphone user downloads zero apps per month on average. Apps are still being created, of course. But with the top 15 app publishers seeing downloads decrease around 20%, it is clear that the boom is slowing down.
It is still important to consider these facts in the wider market, though. Download rates will not necessarily give the full picture. An example is Facebook, one of the largest apps in the world yet with slow download rates. With so many Facebook app users (1.65 billion), it is difficult to find new ones.
It’s also clear that this can’t be applied as a representative of the mobile market. More users may, for instance, be accessing via mobile Web, and with mobile Web traffic increasing consistently, it is an increasingly important part of the advertising mix.
Brands need to consider if their apps are truly useful to consumers. Because the harsh reality is that people will not download them or, even in the small chance they do, they will not use them.
Although the App Store is becoming more redundant, it doesn’t mean brands can’t get apps to consumers. There are a number of install-based ads charging a cost-per-install, most famously on Facebook or through specialist app download providers.
Overall, it’s essential for brands to focus on quality and think about all-around useful apps, rather than short-term tactics, which will not survive in this ever-changing mobile market.