Over the past year, the mobile app market witnessed just over 27 billion downloads, which is a year-over-year growth of almost 11 percent. This industry growth trend proves that even after a decade, mobile apps are in demand more than ever.
In 2019, businesses need to put additional focus on mobility and maintain their pace of mobile app innovation to meet evolving customer demands. In this article, several industry experts weigh in on which mobile technology trends will enhance the industry in the coming year.
1. The Native Vs. Hybrid App Development Showdown Continues
Is it better to build a native app or take the hybrid route instead? The debate about which development approach is best has been going on for some time, but according to Senior iOS Engineer at Clearbridge Mobile, Marwan Alani, “native apps will continue to dominate over hybrid apps in 2019, regardless of the growth in hybrid technologies like React Native and Flutter.”
Alani goes on to say that native “domination can also be accredited to the abundance of native-only features being added rapidly by both Apple and Google to their mobile operating systems, and the fact that hybrid app frameworks — while having a relatively low technical entry point — are getting more and more difficult to maintain.”
Hybrid app development contends with issues stemming from both native systems and hybrid systems, which makes finding and fixing bugs more difficult. Another disadvantage is hybrid apps often sacrifice the user experience because the products can’t be customized for specific platforms.
On the other hand, native mobile apps are developed and optimized for a specific platform and compiled using that platform’s core programming language and application performance interface (API). As a result, native apps are fast, responsive and demonstrate exceptional performance among many other benefits.
2. App Development Is Only As Good As Its Marketing Campaign
Many businesses focus on developing an outstanding app, that functions well, and solves a real user pain point, but its marketing campaign is left as an afterthought. It’s easy to assume that user acquisition is the central metric for mobile app success, but actual value lies in engaging and retaining users.
Joyce Solano, SVP of Global Marketing at Leanplum points out that “companies waste a lot of money acquiring mobile installs — currently $2.89 per install — only to see 79 percent of users never return after the first visit, and 2 percent of users ghost your app by day 90. But marketing campaigns play a key role in turning installs into loyal customers. In fact, engagement platforms help brands increase their share of highly engaged customers by 37 percent and the number of users who make in-app purchases in the first 30 days alone by five times.”
Achieving sufficient mobile app engagement and retention rates to keep your product from disappearing into the app store graveyard is a difficult task. Solano says, “given mobile’s impact on loyalty and revenue, I expect to see more brands invest in mobile engagement campaigns as the heart of their monetization strategy. In 2019, if you’re not doing mobile marketing, you’re missing a huge opportunity.”
3. 2019 Is The Year That “Moment-Marketing” Takes Off
Personalization has been a mobile experience mainstay for the past decade or so, increasing in its level of depth and one-to-one precision when it comes to understanding and mirroring app users.
As a baseline for interaction, it’s here to stay.
According to Plot Projects, building user profiles and surfacing content just based on online or in-app behavior is no longer enough to engage users and keep them around. In fact, this year, the open-rate of messages which are sent based on where someone is (and what they’re doing) generated twice the engagement of personalized messages.
In 2015, Google coined a movement called ‘micro-moments’ and right-time marketing, opening up a discussion about harnessing real-world consumer intent, with mobile as a natural gateway. More and more, businesses need to harness the value of choosing the right context to interact with users, sending place-based coupon redemptions and dynamic offers to increase engagement, reduce UX friction and jump sales uplift.
It doesn’t stop there. Businesses need to consider creating audiences of train commuters, store shoppers, local brand loyalists, and frequent travelers — qualifying their relevance for campaigns, offers or membership through their daily habits and life choices — across any channel or technology. 2019 is the right time to take steps into this new way of working and connecting.
4. A Focus On OTT Development
The OTT (over-the-top) market is showing huge consumer uptake via providers like Crave, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more. By 2019, global OTT streaming subscribers are anticipated to reach over 300 million.
The mobile app development market is ready for OTT. The infrastructure is already in place; there is greater availability of public WiFi; tablets, connected TVs, and streaming media players are becoming more popular among consumers; and device interoperability is improving. As well, major broadcasters are introducing OTT options into their content lineup.
Attribution and analytics companies are developing advanced capabilities to harness the right data to keep pace with the OTT market. Targeting features are becoming more refined, and Grant Cohen, GM of the Kochava Collective says, “In 2019, look for increased cross-device attribution capabilities plus the ability to include a location in measurement.”
As well, the growth of newer OTT devices indicates there will be more opportunities to come for publishers and advertisers in the new year. Cohen says “marketers will understand their users better and craft specific messaging that resonates with them. As OTT devices continue to evolve, media companies will be bringing more traditional content on these platforms.”
The potential for reaching broader audiences and tapping new sources of revenue is massive, and companies that can evolve with the market will come out on top of the competition.
5. Extending The Benefits of Augmented Reality
There’s been big talk for augmented reality (AR) in the past several years, and users can expect to see more from AR technology in 2019. AR libraries (Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore) will continue to grow and mature, even though the adoption rate in user-facing apps is not increasing.
“It is expected that such technologies will be the basis for rapid development on AR oriented mobile devices in a few years down the road (Smart Glasses, Lens, etc.), so Apple and Google will continue their current investments in AR technologies and frameworks in hopes of dominating the AR market when it’s finally time for the technology to shine.” – Marwan Alani
Apple, specifically, has been making the push to be recognized as the most powerful AR platform. Apple’s goal for AR is to extend the benefits of the technology across its entire iOS system. Apple’s broader vision for the technology is evident in their partnerships with Pixar and Adobe. As ARKit continues to improve, users can anticipate improved face-tracking, rendering, 3D object detection, and stunning experiences overall in the next few years.
A New Year In Mobile
Ten years ago, the mobile application came into existence, since then it has evolved into a mainstream necessity for everyday life. The 2019 trend is clear: users want access to hyper-personalized, real-time, contextual content seamlessly connected across each of their devices. On top of that, users are looking for new and creative ways to create and share experiences with their mobile devices. Mobile apps will still be in high demand in the new year, and the best way for businesses to deliver value to customers is to focus on the appropriate marketing tactics to deliver real user value.