As we embark on the new year, we review 2018 that just flew by. In 2018, the mobile app market exceeded 27 billion downloads, hitting a year-over-year growth close to 11%. This consistent growth trend over the past decade is evident of the strength of the industry, with mobile apps being more in demand than ever. To continue keeping up current trends to maintain user delight while contributing fresh innovations to the growing market, apps created have to constantly adapt to trends.
In this new year, businesses will be placing more emphasis on
mobility and keeping up with the pace of mobile app innovation to satisfy
evolving customer demands. In this article, several industry experts weigh in
on which mobile technology trends will enhance the industry in the coming year.
1. The Native Vs. Hybrid App Development Showdown Continues
To build a native app or hybrid app? The debate between the
two approaches has been persistent, but according to iOS Engineer, Marwan
Alani, “native apps will continue to dominate over hybrid apps in 2019,
regardless of the growth in hybrid technologies like React Native and Flutter.”
Alani goes on to say that native “domination can also be
accredited to the abundance of native-only features being added rapidly by both
Apple and Google to their mobile operating systems, and the fact that hybrid
app frameworks — while having a relatively low technical entry point — are
getting more and more difficult to maintain.”
Hybrid app often face with issues stemming from both native and
hybrid systems, which challenges the process of identifying and fixing bugs.
Another disadvantage is that hybrid apps often sacrifice aspects of user
experience due to the limited customisation for specific platforms.
On the other hand, native mobile apps are developed for a specific
platform and therefore, optimized and compiled with that platform’s core
programming language and application performance interface (API). This gives
native apps an edge over hybrids in terms of speed, responsiveness and performance.
2. Mobile App Development Is As Good As The Marketing
Developing an outstanding app is important – smooth user
experience, provides the solution to a consumer pain point, but it should not
be your only focus. The marketing campaign often only strikes as an
afterthought under the simple assumption that user acquisition is the central
metric for success. However, the real value and challenge lies in user engagement
Joyce Solano, SVP of Global Marketing at Leanplum pointed to
how “companies waste a lot of money acquiring mobile installs — currently $2.89
per install — only to see 79 percent of users never return after the first
visit, and 2 percent of users ghost your app by day 90. But marketing campaigns
play a key role in turning installs into loyal customers. In fact, engagement platforms
help brands increase their share of highly engaged customers by 37 percent and
the number of users who make in-app purchases in the first 30 days alone by
Ensuring that your product stays on in the market without
slowly disappearing into the app store graveyard is no easy job. Solano says,
“given mobile’s impact on loyalty and revenue … mobile engagement campaigns [are]
the heart of their monetization strategy. In 2019, if you’re not doing mobile
marketing, you’re missing a huge opportunity.”
The power of personalization has increased exponentially,
along with its depth and one-to-one precision, setting a baseline for
interaction that can both understand and mirror user behaviour.
According to Plot Projects, building user profiles and
surfacing content by tracking online or in-app behaviour is no longer sufficient.
This year, the open-rate of messages which are sent based on where and what a
user is doing, lifting the engagement to double with personalized messages.
In 2015, Google coined a movement called ‘micro-moments’ and
right-time marketing, opening up a discussion about harnessing real-world
consumer intent, with mobile as the viable gateway. Increasingly, businesses have
to maximise the value of marketing with targeted context to boost user interaction,
such as sending place-based coupon redemptions and dynamic offers, which helps
to reduce UX friction and uplift sales.
Furthermore, businesses should reconsider the train
commuters, store shoppers, local brand loyalists, and frequent travellers. Based
on the audience’s daily habits and life choices — across any channel or
technology — brands need to find these people’s relevance for campaigns, offers
or membership, working and connecting more audiences.
4. OTT Development
The OTT (over-the-top) market is showing huge consumer
uptake via providers such as Crave, Netflix and Amazon Prime. By 2019, global
OTT streaming subscribers are expected to exceed 300 million.
The mobile app development market is ready to shift focus
onto OTT with an existing infrastructure support; greater availability of
public WiFi; tablets, connected TVs, increasing popularity of streaming media players;
and better device interoperability. On the same bandwagon, major broadcasters
are also bringing in options for OTT.
Attribution and analytics companies are developing advanced
capabilities to harness the right data to keep pace with the OTT market. The
growth of newer OTT devices also creates more potential opportunities for
publishers and advertisers. Cohen, GM of the Kochava Collective says “marketers
will understand their users better and craft specific messaging that resonates
with them…media companies will be bringing more traditional content on these
As the audience broadens and new sources of revenue opens, it
is an incredible opportunity for companies who evolve with the market to emerge
on top of the competition.
5. Extending Augmented Reality
With big talk for augmented reality (AR), users can expect even
more AR technology in 2019. While AR libraries (Apple’s ARKit and Google’s
ARCore) continues to grow and mature, the adoption rate in user-facing apps has
not grown as much.
“It is expected that such technologies will be the basis for
rapid development on AR oriented mobile devices in a few years down the road
(Smart Glasses, Lens, etc.), so Apple and Google will continue their current
investments in AR technologies and frameworks in hopes of dominating the AR
market when it’s finally time for the technology to shine.” – Marwan Alani
Apple, specifically, has made a significant push by creating
a powerful AR platform that aims to enable businesses to extend the benefits of
AR technology across its entire iOS system, is evident in their partnerships
with Pixar and Adobe. As ARKit continues to improve, users can anticipate
improved face-tracking, rendering, 3D object detection, and stunning
experiences in the next few years.
A New Year In Mobile App Development
Apps have evolved into a mainstream necessity in daily life. The 2019 trend is clear: users will gain access to hyper-personalized, real-time, contextual content that connect their devices seamlessly, with new and creative ways to create and share experiences. The demand of mobile apps will continue to persist, and businesses will have to place more appropriate focus on app development to deliver value. One of the first steps to that of course, is engaging a top mobile app developer that best understands your interest, as well as for yourself to determine your own project scope and requirements.