I recently came across a great article in The Guardian that discusses the importance of mobile apps, and the common misconceptions that businesses have when developing them. There is a quote in the article from Julien Theys – a Screen Digest analyst – that really resonated with me.

Theys commented that “Often, [marketers] don’t know what they want – they just want to be on mobile. A classic mistake is they say, ‘Look, I just want an iPhone app’.” Theys also pointed out that all too often, businesses are developing apps as a way of ‘box ticking’ into the mobile arena without having to do any more, and should not approach mobile apps so ‘half-heartedly’.

If you take a look at the statistics surrounding mobile apps, it’s a massive surprise that organizations still believe that having an app on just one platform qualifies as a ‘mobile strategy’ – especially with the rate of mobile fragmentation continuing escalate to at breakneck speeds.

Let’s take the UK mobile market, for example. According to research by Screen Digest, in 2010 – which was only the second full year that mobile apps have been widely available – the UK mobile app market was worth £95 million, equating to a total of 575 million downloads. The size of the market will more than triple by 2014, when it will be worth over £300 million – and downloads will hit 1.8 billion.

Another set of interesting numbers showing how much apps are really worth is the amount of money Apple iAd (which makes ads available inside mobile apps) secured before it was even unveiled – a whopping $60 million, which is 50% of the total forecasted mobile ad spend in the US for second half of last year.

This undoubtedly shows that businesses which don’t take their mobile app strategies seriously will lose out on a massive chunk of potential revenue and be abandoned by their increasingly mobile-savvy customers. Indeed, statistics show that generally, retailers are still unprepared for increasing m-commerce demand – and this needs to change if they want to maintain a competitive edge.

It is clear that when it comes to mobile apps, businesses certainly need to focus on content and producing a high-quality app. However, no matter how brilliant the app is, if it is only accessible on one platform, it will not reap the monetary rewards that mobile apps have the potential to bring in. Ultimately, the mobile app market is one of the fastest growing areas in the mobile arena, and businesses who aren’t taking their app strategies by the horns will soon get left behind.