Pre-App Strategy

benedictevansBenedict Evans has two new excellent posts on Mobile First and App vs Web. However, what he writes about is very different to the usual mobile first and app vs web arguments.

In Mobile First, Benedict suggests that we think about the desktop as the more limited cut-down version of the Internet. The smartphone allows interaction with more things (e.g. iBeacons, notifications, Touch ID) and knows a lot more, via sensors and APIs, than the desktop ever did. He argues that while the screen might be smaller, the smartphone is more of the ‘whole internet’.

In Apps vs Web, Benedict asks the usual question whether publishers should do an app or a web site. However, instead of the discovery or functionality arguments he distils the answer down to:

“Do people want to put your icon on their home screen”.

He goes on to argue that even if you have an app, you should also have a web site that functions well on mobile. You should also shape your proposition so that it works for people who have chosen to interact only via mobile and might not even be mobile (e.g. using on WiFi at home).

In both these posts Benedict is thinking about the business decisions made pre-app. I believe this pre-phase of mobile strategy is one that publishers don’t spend long enough analysing. People often leave issues such as usage, discovery, the channel, PR, marketing and analytics until too late on when solutions are often more difficult and costly to retro-fit. You also need to think about feasibility, platforms, business models, OS and form factor variants and cost. See my Mobile Development Primer for more insights.