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Should brands build multiple mobile apps?

Author: Ian Wallis, Mobile Technical Director, Oracle EMEA


There is definitely a trend by brands towards multiple consumer mobile apps but mainly for very popular services that users use regularly in order to speed up their access to specific services. An example is Facebook breaking out Messenger into a separate app.

If we take Banking as an example, it is still early days in this shift, and I see near term potential for a maximum of one or two apps per brand. Barclays had great success with their PingIt mobile app, but HSBC recently withdrew their Fast Banking access app in the UK to try to get users onto their main Mobile Banking app. Interestingly, one of the banking industry’s biggest challenge is that millenials (18-30 year olds) are flocking to their mobile app channel but the banks only have a limited set of their products available on the mobile channel vs their online website channel. This is a big headache for their Product Managers.

In a perfect world, Digital focused brands would have one mobile app and know who the user is and what the user wants to do next rather than getting the user to do multiple downloads and have to choose which app to engage with. Most companies do not have this capability yet and should consider how to increase their contextual capability.

If a company is driving different branding for millenials versus other age groups or to a different segment of their market, then a separate dedicated more trendy or applicable app my apply.

There are a number of exceptions to the one app strategy:

1. Frequently used apps - where mobile apps are used multiple times a day and a separate branded app would help reduce navigation and reduce time for the user getting to value – this is more applicable to the likes of Google and Facebook or something like the Barclays PingIt example

2. Apps targeted at Millenials or other age groups and segments – usually with a different brand flavor to the main mobile application. See recent Oracle Mobile research on this here on millennial’s

3. Event apps - e.g. for specific events like sports, music festivals, elections etc…

4. Media companies – where they are looking to expand their presence and expand screen time for advertising and 'mobile moments'

5. Business to Employee scenarios - there is definitely a move to lots of micro apps for specific jobs and tasks done by employees

I am sure there are many other exceptions and would love to hear back on this @wallisi. Forbes published an interesting article on this last year here.

If you would like to read more about Oracle’s Mobile Cloud Services and how we can support brands with multiple apps and immersive mobile experiences take a look at our eBook here.


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