Apps play a central role in our work and personal lives, but the extent to which they reshape our world has yet to be seen. According to Statista, we'll see a staggering 258.2 billion mobile app downloads by 2022. How have so many people come to rely on and delight in apps in just a short time, and what does this trend tell us about the rise of mobile app use in business? Let's take a look.
The Immense Popularity of Apps
Believe it or not, mobile apps have only been around for just over ten years. Apple's App Store launched in July 2008 and Android Market, the predecessor to today's Google Play store, followed suit in October of the same year. Once a novelty, apps have disrupted everything from shopping to dating and beyond. According to App Annie's The State of Mobile 2019 report, consumers spent $101 billion on app store purchases and spent three hours per day using mobile apps in 2018.
Why are mobile apps so popular, and how did they so thoroughly capture our attention?
Let's take Spotify, a music streaming app, as one example. Upon its launch in 2008, Spotify offered music enthusiasts something they'd never had before — an affordable, legal way to enjoy an unlimited quantity of high-quality music. Spotify gave users the possibility of limitless discovery in the form of personalized recommendations, allowing them to save their new favorite tracks in custom playlists that they could share with others. Mobile device users still access all of these features on the go for a modest monthly fee, listening to any song they please — anytime, anywhere.
Candy Crush, a free "match three" puzzle game in which players swap brightly colored adjacent candies across a game board, is one of the most popular gaming apps of all time. With new levels released every two weeks, players have become hooked. Social features allow fans to play along with friends or engage in friendly competition. According to TouchArcade, Candy Crush now boasts more than 5,000 levels, and fans have collectively spent 8 million years playing the game.
Lessons for Mobile App Use in Business
What lessons can businesses learn from the success of mobile apps like Spotify and Candy Crush? Here are three takeaways that your company can apply to its own business communications.
1. Solve Users' Pain Points
When Spotify launched, it took direct aim at the biggest pain points people felt when trying to download and listen to music. Faced with the hassle of either paying for individual music downloads or downloading illegally, music fans were looking for a better alternative. Spotify placed its customers' needs at the center of its product and delivered them what they wanted most: an affordable option for enjoying and discovering unlimited music on demand.
Businesses can notch a similar win by putting their employees' and customers' needs first. By giving employees access to the tools they require when working remotely, such as video chat and full integration with business applications like CRM platforms and office productivity suites, they make their employees' lives that much easier. When employees can tap into their business apps from their mobile devices, they're able to work from anywhere at any time. As a result, employees will feel greater satisfaction in their work that shines through in the excellent experience they provide to customers.
When we can share a great experience with the people in our lives, it's that much more engaging — and as a result, we're much more likely to keep using the app that delivers it.
2. Deliver an Engaging User Experience
As the makers of Spotify and Candy Crush know, it's not enough to give users an app you think they want and hope for the best. Your app must be highly engaging as well. App developers achieve this goal by reducing friction in the user experience, giving users a sleek, convenient, and intuitive interface. They keep it fresh, too, constantly improving their apps. And this approach gets results: As Sensor Tower reported, Candy Crush raked in an average of $4.2 million a day from in-app purchases in 2018.
Now accustomed to user-friendly apps, users expect a frictionless and pleasant experience from their business technology, too. This trend, known as the consumerization of IT, has spurred businesses to consider the new ways in which business communication tools can support employee productivity. APIs in business help avoid native disruption, for instance, by enabling employees to respond more quickly, collaborate more effectively, and deliver a superlative customer experience — even when they use mobile apps on the go.
3. Support Collaboration
Many of the greatest mobile apps connect users. Spotify's collaborative playlists let you create the ultimate digital mixtape with your pals, for example, while Candy Crush's Play With Friends feature lets you work with friends to level up faster and compare progress. When we can share a great experience with the people in our lives, it's that much more engaging — and as a result, we're much more likely to keep using the app that delivers it.
Business collaboration is much the same. Keeping colleagues inspired and in sync throughout the workday is critical. Whether video conferencing with their regional office counterparts, coordinating a customer service response via group chat, or jumping on a joint webinar to put the finishing touches on a winning proposal, employees need to feel connected and productive.
Make the Most of Your Business Communication Tools
Spotify's and Candy Crush's success underscores the importance of mobile apps in business strategies. Your company can learn how to enhance its business communications by observing the way people use their favorite mobile apps. By solving employee pain points, giving users an engaging experience, and supporting collaboration, you can make the most of your business communication tools now and well into the future — just like Spotify and Candy Crush have. Now that's a sweet treat.