I like reading about the latest gaming app as much as the next person, but why isn’t the value of useful business tools given more column inches in the tech press? There are some pretty amazing professional mobile apps on the market right now and yet the ones that get the coverage, and therefore the downloads, are the kooky games, the pretty exercise apps and the image manipulation tools.
Portio research states that 15 per cent of apps in the Apple App Store are categorised as tools & productivity, yet Distimo claims that these only make up 7 per cent of the total downloads. Is this because people don’t want to use professional apps – given the rise of BYOD and mobile working this seems unlikely – or because they are not aware of them?
As a marketer working for a business it can be quite hard working out how to make our professional applications appeal to the tech press, especially when we are seen to work in a pretty niche market. It doesn’t matter how brilliant ours – or anyone else’s business is – it is unlikely to be considered attractive enough to grace the pages of the tech magazines that we love to read.
The problem is the assumption that business apps can never be sexy, just functional. But does that mean they don’t doesn’t deserve praise and recognition? I don’t believe so, although maybe some businesses do need to place greater emphasis on innovation and usability when designing an app in the first place.
I like to think my own company is an example of a business that understands this. We have just launched a recruitment app that is, in our opinion, better designed, more comprehensive and less gimmicky than other recruitment apps.
In fact, it is the only recruitment app available for its target market – but does having unique functionality and content that sets it apart from rival products make it interesting to the tech press? Not necessarily. So maybe it is in fact the press that needs to reconsider what is of interest to their audience?
The majority of consumers also work for a business, right? Business apps can be used by them and, if they were made aware of these apps’ existence through the media, the number of downloads would surely pick up. Yes you can argue that a recruitment app is only of interest to someone looking for a job, but then an exercise app is only going to be used by those that like or want to like exercise and that also narrows the market somewhat.
Angry Birds is great if you like games, and shooting games specifically, but it’s not so brilliant if you’re into platform or puzzle play.
You might argue that the business world needs to work harder to come up with interesting angles and that they need to follow the example of consumer apps in order to grab the tech media’s attention. But it’s also up to the tech media to give our business apps a better chance. They might prove more innovative and interesting to readers than they first think.