Top 3 alternatives to consider before building a new mobile app in 2018

by | Dec 29, 2017


Here’s why: we’ve hit app saturation.  Users have simply stopped looking for new apps. There are so many lofty articles and surveys touting mobile app engagement.  Most of that information is old.  If your app won’t do anything truly different than a well-designed mobile browser experience, your app might even get in users’ way.

As of December 2017, there are now well over 2 million apps in each of the iTunes and Google apps stores.  It is estimated that just 0.01% of them are financially viable.

The average smartphone user now spends 70% of their time in just their top 3 apps. These are usually a trio of Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Amazon, Google Maps, YouTube, etc.

In 2018, we think many businesses should carefully consider 3 alternatives before committing to build a new mobile app: Responsive Design, SMS Interaction, and Facebook Messenger.

Responsive Design

Responsive Design is creating websites and experiences that detect the user’s screen size and orientation to render content correctly. We’re talking about simple HTML5 and CSS that can leverage your existing content, backend, database, etc.

Creating responsive designs is usually orders of magnitude less expensive than developing full mobile apps, and it frees you from having to stay in lock step with iOS and Android releases. That’s more energy you can apply to improving customer experiences.

SMS Interaction 

SMS is, of course, plain old text messaging. These days its so easy to build SMS integration using cloud-based platforms like Twilio, it should often be the first step for businesses looking to improve mobile access and engagement.

Text messaging delivers simple user interfaces that are easy for users to understand and are even easier to develop and test. That means you can focus on the functionality that is most important, and integrate more easily with internal processes and systems.

SMS effectively has total market penetration, and text messages have an unbelievable 98% engagement rate. You just need to take extra care to get user permission before sending SMS messages, and never, ever betray users’ trust by spamming them.

Facebook Messenger

One of the best opportunities we see on mobile in 2018 is Facebook Messenger. Since Facebook made Messenger mandatory in 2017, it has an excellent presence across the mobile device spectrum. Facebook Messenger delivers a richer user experience than text messaging and is fully integrated with the Facebook app ecosystem.

Messenger is incredibly well suited to writing interactive chatbots, which can use artificial intelligence to create natural language user experiences. Facebook now has native NLP capabilities built into the Messenger platform, making it easier than ever to develop smart bots.

Ready to get started?

We think savvy firms who reprioritize their digital efforts along these lines in 2018 will create better differentiation, and realize an excellent return on investment for customer engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Need help with your mobile strategy?  Let’s get started.


James Thomason is the Founder and CEO of Rave Media, a digital strategy, design, and technology firm. His career spans 20 years building new product and technology startups in Silicon Valley. Most recently, he was the CTO of Cloud Marketplace at Dell. James writes and speaks about strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He is a member of the Forbes Technology Council.


Need help with your mobile strategy? Contact us now.

About Rave Media

Rave Media helps businesses reach and engage their customers through digital products and platforms.

We are a team of Silicon Valley veterans with deep technology and creative design backgrounds that take you from idea to innovation and beyond.

Our passion is for building digital brands, products, and apps that excite users and grow businesses.

Let’s do something big together.

Let's work together