Have We Reached The Tipping Point Of The App Era?

By Andy Shirey, Senior Product Manager, OpenMarket for Adotas

Andy Shirey, Senior Product Manager, OpenMarket, explores the life cycle of apps.

Did you know more than half of all apps are deleted within a month of installation? And another 30% don’t even make it through the first hour. As the stats prove, and as your personal experience with them likely confirms, the era of the app has tipped. In fact, many companies, including Google with their Instant Apps, are already deep in development of app alternatives. Between downloads, passwords, set-ups, and convoluted app store searches, a new solution is welcomed by many in the mobile world with open arms.

So if technology is moving beyond apps—then what’s the latest upgrade? With approximately 32% of organizations’ marketing budget currently being allocated to content creation, all the rich content that brands have been pouring millions into creating is still valuable. And the problem itself isn’t necessarily that an app becomes irrelevant with age, it’s more that the app becomes a distant memory, buried among the multiple colorful icons vying for attention on the smartphone interface. The average smartphone user goes through almost 26 apps just in one month. The answer comes in a technology that in itself isn’t necessarily new, but the function that it is providing is so effective: SMS.

SMS Steps Up

In the case of the mobile app, SMS, or text messaging, is really more of a vessel. It acts as both the delivery of, and the entry to, a brand’s mobile experience. By sending a text message, brands can now allow for a customer to click a link and jump right into an “app” that doesn’t have to be downloaded and installed on your smartphone. Here are a couple examples:

· Text OFFER to 239663 – Bed, Bath & Beyond uses SMS to drive loyalty program sign-ups

· Text 1FF5371468 to 48028 – Ford uses a simple SMS call-to-action for customers to learn more about vehicles they like

It’s an intuitive accessible process, and when it comes to customer retention, convenience cannot be overlooked—particularly with tech-savvy consumers who expect it. There is an impressive amount of research out today that confirms convenience’s tie to impacting customer loyalty.

If it all sounds too good to be true, it’s really not. The truth is that most mobile apps don’t need to be apps at all. They can be “web apps” that don’t require the hassle of downloading, installing, sucking up precious storage space or cluttering your smartphone screen. Web apps offer an app-like experience through a combination of functionality and responsive design—installation free.

By using SMS as a delivery tool, businesses can create better engagement and utilize creative content all at a significantly lower cost, and hassle, than developing and managing native apps. This use of existing interactive technology has the ability to render the app ecosystem extinct, while SMS itself is anything but. Despite being around since the age of smartphones (and prior to), 97 percent of Americans still use SMS as a preferred form of contact at least once a day. Considering that the majority of consumers are prolific at texting, especially millennials who send over 1,400 texts a month, it makes sense that the best way to reach them is through their preferred communication method.

SMS Gets Smarter

While the spotlight moves away from the app, SMS is only continuing to transform and evolve with technology. With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, along with the world of chat bots, SMS is sitting pretty at the cutting-edge of communication engagement, aka “conversational commerce.”

To paint the full picture of how communication engagement works, think of it in terms of your everyday needs, and how SMS has the ability to simplify them. When ordering a personalized pizza from Domino’s, imagine no longer needing to download and store their app on your phone—instead, you are able to send a quick text with your order specifications. Another example is sending an SMS directly to room service of your hotel instead of searching for their app to let them know you need more towels.

SMS improves consumers’ lives and allows brands to build loyalty by simply using a familiar and preferred communications channel.

While apps will maintain their dominance for social media and entertainment, SMS offers a compelling alternative to many other app use cases. Companies can finally breathe a sigh of relief and say goodbye to the frustrations of dealing with native mobile apps. And as for that bottom line? It will also thank you.

About Andy Shirey, Senior Product Manager, OpenMarket

Andy manages a portfolio of mobile messaging, payments and engagement products and revenue forecasting and product strategy. He led a cross-functional team for development and global launch of Push Notifications engagement platform and works with Senior Leadership Team to advise and report on current products. He is dedicated to driving new initiatives around emerging trends in mobile technology and is a mobile SME and internal/external product evangelist.