Share this content

Are we nearing the post-app era?

25th Jul 2017
Share this content

Mobile app install rates are down 38% year-on-year, and app opens down 29%. The average Android app loses 77% of its users within three days, and 23% of users abandon apps after a single use.

While Gartner has called this the “post-app era” it doesn’t mean smartphone users are abandoning their use of apps. The most popular on-demand, media and social apps – think Uber, Deliveroo, Google Maps, Facebook Messenger, YouTube – count for the majority of users’ time, which means it’s difficult for the proprietary native apps that brands have been building to get a look in.

A new opportunity for mobile engagement

Whether your customers are business users or consumers, everyone wants the same thing: their problems solved and questions answered, and quickly. Today that means delivering digital customer experiences that are consistent and efficient across multiple devices and channels.

With users congregating en masse in the most popular digital mobile spaces, there is a tremendous opportunity open to brands to reach their customers inside those apps they are spending a lot of time using.

For example, if your target is business customers, you might have more luck reaching them through Slack or Skype for Business than any of the app stores. For consumers it might be Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, good old SMS, up-and-coming RCS, or even Snapchat. But how do you do this?

Conversational micro apps

Rather than relying solely on heavy-duty native apps with multiple functions and menu levels, companies are instead beginning to deploy nimble, lightweight micro apps on messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger that offer a set of simple functions at a time, in a conversational context that makes it easy for users to interact.

For example, a bank might build a balance-checking micro app within a third-party app such as Facebook Messenger, using templates provided by the platform, and adding on customer ID verification through integration into back-end systems via APIs. Or balances could be accessed through Amazon Alexa by a simple voice command – with biometric voice recognition (in the near future) taking care of verification.

Unlike chatbots, which tend to be single channel, micro apps are channel-agnostic, and may well be designed to orchestrate customer journeys across multiple messaging channels. For example, an outbound SMS fraud alert may route the user to a micro app on Facebook Messenger.

Micro apps can also keep context, allowing customers to move seamless between channels and devices, and facilitate proactive end-to-end customer journeys across channels.

Proprietary mobile apps vs conversational micro apps

Mobile Apps

Micro Apps

Must be installed and frequently updated, and passwords remembered

Accessed from inside popular messaging apps your customers are already logged in to without separate installations

Reactive – consumers use them only when they need to

Can also be proactive, based on business or consumer triggers

Lots of functionality to be navigated - most of it never used

Simple user interface. Customer just asks a question, taps icons, or chooses quick answers

Time-consuming to build and code, have to be rebuilt for different platforms, require constant maintenance

Low or no-code using APIs and third-party tools; can be embedded in many environments

Updates required to take advantage of new functionality, limiting frequency of roll-outs

Good for continuous optimisation. Updates can be deployed as and when needed without action by the end user

You have to push for installs then to get customers to use the app

Easily extend your reach as messaging apps already have billions of users

Large, unwieldy single apps trying to cater for everything a customer might want to do

Each micro app has a single or small set of functions, allowing easier development and deployment

Have to be re-installed when consumers move on to the next device

Future-proof – even if devices change, consumers will likely be using Messenger, WhatsApp and Slack for years to come

The future is still digital, still mobile, and still apps

Conversational micro apps are a great additional opportunity for brands to engage customers on their preferred channels and in a more natural way, without major investment. They also extend reach – for example, one of our financial services clients has a fantastic mobile app, but it’s used by only 25% of their customer base. With so many customers already having popular messaging apps installed, and of course SMS, their reach has been extended to the rest of their base with little effort/expense.

As a bonus, doing it this way is much cheaper, far more flexible, and you can still use the back-end stack you’ve already built.

To find out more, download a copy of IMImobile’s eGuide to conversational micro apps.

Replies (3)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By smphyl
01st Jan 2018 04:18

A radiant article, the astonishing online journal cover all that data which I require continue sharing this blog it is extremely useful for me. I am happy to visit your site. Sb game hacker / 3ds

Thanks (0)
By R0uter
06th Jan 2018 11:13

Useful Information You have the nice information thanks for sharing. If you need Cisco Customer Support
Help Use Our Service.

Thanks (0)
By varundhawan
22nd Mar 2018 08:30

Hi Matt,

Excellent Write up. Just my few points about the start of this post-app era.

Apps will definitely die out soon. Probably because with increasing mobile broadband speeds, opening websites is getting easier than ever and faster than never before.

Most people install apps for a one time use. Websites make much more sense here.

If you want to just check out a new music, why would you download an app like spotify when u can easily open a songs website like this, and try the music and close the website without much data wastage.

Thanks (0)