To say smartphones are a popular way to access the internet would be an understatement. In fact, 51.6 percent of all global web traffic occurs on mobile devices. That being said, it may be wise to invest in apps that can drive customer engagement to the benefit of your brand.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of some valuable key terms and how they fit into your digital marketing strategy. Then we’ll review several leading mobile app builders you can use to create customer engagement tools. Let’s get to work!
An Introduction to the Mobile App Market and Why It Matters
It’s been more than 10 years since Apple established dominance over the mobile application market. You might recall ‘there’s an app for that’ becoming a popular phrase after it was used in an iPhone commercial.
While Apple may have claimed the trademark for the phrase, the market quickly expanded well beyond just iPhone users. In fact, the number of available Android apps far surpasses iOS options.
Additionally, apps claim 89 percent of total mobile internet usage minutes, while only 11 percent of smartphone users are consistently choosing browser-based experiences. In terms of marketing, that means there’s a captive target audience available for this type of online experience.
Games, ride-sharing, and video streaming platforms have all maintained high rankings in terms of growth in user base and downloads. The use of apps dedicated solely to shopping is on the rise as well, providing ample opportunity to engage with your customers and land mobile sales.
Understanding PWAs vs. Native Mobile Apps
When it comes to mobile apps, there are a couple of different types to consider—namely, PWAs (Progressive Web Applications) and native apps. It’s important to understand the differences between them so you can choose which one that best fits your marketing strategy.
PWAs are applications that run in a web browser and don’t need to be downloaded. They offer many benefits, such as speed, reliability, and security without the advanced programming required of native apps.
On the other hand, native apps don’t run in a web browser and can often be used without an internet connection. However, development requires choosing one Operating System (OS) or programming separate platforms for Android and iOS.
As you might suspect, native apps are more complex and therefore more expensive to build. However, they’re also faster and more secure than PWAs, and include several features that support user engagement such as better push notifications and compatibility with mobile payments and camera functionality.
That said, a Google case study on AliExpress highlights how the company increased conversions by 104 percent using a PWA. If you don’t have the funds to develop a native app, this alternative can still provide valuable customer engagement opportunities.
It’s also important to note that both the Apple App Store and Google Play have developer fees. Apple charges for submission on top of yearly payments, while Google requires a one-time expense. These costs are not included in the pricing plans for the app creators we’ll highlight shortly.
4 App Creators You Can Use to Build Customer Engagement Tools
Now that you know a bit more about your options for building customer engagement tools, let’s take a look at how you can make one. Without further ado, here are four app creators you should consider to enhance your digital marketing strategy.
AppyPie is a comprehensive app creator with a feature-filled drag-and-drop interface. You can use it to develop fully native apps for both Android and iOS, turn your website into a PWA, or build a hybrid app, which combines the benefits of the other two options.
You can get started with AppyPie with a two-day free trial. After that, plans start at $18 per month, per app. This makes native app creation relatively accessible to all skill levels and budgets.
This is a solid option if you have already sketched out a native app design or want to quickly convert your site to a PWA. In general, AppyPie is probably the most robust and reasonably priced tool on our list.
BiznessApps is specifically geared toward small businesses and has the features to prove it. Using their design engine, you can create stunning PWAs or native apps for iOS and Android. Some popular use cases include mobile ordering, loyalty rewards programs, reviews, and more.
Individual plans start at $99 per month. BiznessApps has a comprehensive reseller option as well if you’re interested in launching your own app development company.
If you’re looking for business-specific premium features such as tip calculators or custom YouTube design elements, BiznessApps covers all your bases.
Appery offers ‘low-code’ development options for creating hybrid mobile apps and PWAs. This is a solid alternative to some of the other more complex tools on this list, especially if you already have an optimized website you want to convert.
Plus, you can design your app using a simple drag-and-drop interface. You’ll then have the option to package your app for submission to the Apple App Store and/or Google Play. Appery plans start at $70 per month, but you can try it out free for 14 days.
If you’re new to the app market and want to test one out without creating a fully native app, Appery might be a wise choice. You can quickly convert your existing website into a PWA or create a new one from scratch to see your customer engagement opportunities first hand.
Shoutem takes a slightly different approach to app creation. It offers a modular builder that enables you to choose extensions. These act as building blocks that let you create reusable themes and templates. You can get started quickly with many preset options, too.
Android-only support starts at $49 per month. Adding iOS development will run you up to $79 per month. Fortunately, you can test drive any of the Shoutem plans for free. Extensions range from Content Management System (CMS) integrations to social tracking and advertising modules for monetization options.
Considering the comprehensive list of extension options, Shoutem is potentially one of the most flexible app creators and perhaps the best value. You’ll have access to all the features you need to boost customer engagement, build community, or monetize your content.
The proliferation of mobile devices has changed how we engage online. That said, you can create innovative mobile apps to reach customers as part of your digital marketing strategy. The development platforms we explored in this post provide a solid starting point.
Do you have any questions about how to create a mobile app to engage your customers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.