Mobile apps 101

This article has been newly updated to better reflect the industry’s context.

In this time of ours, consumers strive for efficiency and are constantly on the lookout for tools that will make their day-to-day easier. After a long day at work, they want to minimize time spent doing chores and boring obligations in order to be able to spend more quality time relaxing with friends and family. No wonder the popularity of mobile applications is rapidly rising and becoming more and more innovating. Apps provide the consumers with flexible solutions, help boost brand awareness and allow them to access the information faster than ever!

Whenever, wherever!

57% of Quebecers now own a smartphone. This means that more than half of the population is now able to pay bills on the bus, sketch up and share a grocery list during break and get their daily dose of news and entertainment while waiting for friends in the park. This is where a mobile application for companies can prove itself to be extremely beneficial! While many consumers may find it time-consuming to compare quotes and services, doing so on an app during a spare moment could be very appealing. This would allow them to look at services when they feel like it, meaning that they will be more receptive and interested. Apps are all about empowering the users!

Look at me!

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Applications that are not all about breaking walls with flying birds or watching the latest funny viral videos are still a rapidly rising trend. Companies that are investing and equipping themselves with such tools seem more cutting-edge and innovating than those who don’t. Think SEO; the App Store or the Google Play Store is all about key words and strategic planning. Your app will show up in the result queue even when the user looks up a competitor or related application. Therefore, you are not limited to users that are looking specifically for your app.

Better, faster, stronger!

Mobile apps can be faster than a mobile web site and empower the user to find exactly what he needs, when he needs it. The mobile app can have key functionalities residing on the device itself, is targeted for navigation on a smaller screen and focuses on key information (address, phone number, main services…). Applications can be a strong addition to a marketing strategy and help a company get closer to its customers.

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Native VS web applications

Native apps are downloaded directly onto the user's phone and can be accessed from an icon placed on the home page. These apps are 100% integrated into the device and can take full advantage of all of its features (Camera, phone, compass, GPS …). It is important to point out that such applications can significantly be more costly to develop than the web applications.

Web applications are actually more of a web site designed to look and feel like a native application. It is accessed with a URL like any website and can be saved thanks to bookmarks and favorites in any browser. A major upside of this solution is the very little maintenance required; indeed, the ‘’app’’ is automatically updated by the developer like a website so the user doesn't have to update them manually. (NN Group)

IOS VS Android

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Given the cost related to developing an app, it is important to choose wisely which operating system to opt for first. Although Android has nearly 83% of worldwide smartphone market shares, Apple iOS is generating 85% more revenue for app makers than Android. In addition, Apple users are more loyal than Android users. Both clienteles have their own peculiarities and when developing your first app, it is important to correctly establish your prime clientele.

A few examples

There are already a few apps on the market, allowing consumers to connect with their insurance company, but there is room for a lot of innovation! In the Insurance industry, Apps like Kanetix and Sun Life allow a customer to save quotes, view coverage plans, manage their savings and retirement plans and be reminded when it is time to renew their policy. Other user-friendly features can include:

  • Filing claims in 5 minutes or less!phones
  • Track belongings and bills with the help of the integrated camera in the phone
  • Get notified for special offers and contests
  • Access important documents such as Joint Reports
  • Find the closest broker

Correctly understanding your clients needs and desires is the key to building a strong and interesting application!  As long as it looks great, feels natural and provides value to the user, an application is a great way to boost brand awareness and attract more customers all while encouraging sales and differentiating yourself on the market.