Apps are not ads
One of the most common mistakes brands make in the digital space is the "me too" syndrome. A certain platform performs well for other companies, gets a lot of media attention, and suddenly it's, "We need one of those too."
Attention is paid to the "what" and the "how" of obtaining the bright shiny object, but never to the "why." Why do we want one? Why would someone want the one we're building? Why are we spending so much money on something that we're not likely to see much return from?
It happened with microsites. And for the past year or two, it's been happening with apps.
Mobile apps. Web-based apps. Everyone wants one. There are many success stories around apps and countless articles on how apps are going to replace the web. So it's the rare brand manager or ad agency type who won't suggest an app as part of the newest marketing campaign.
But apps are different than ads.
Ads are, by their very definition, created to promote a brand. Apps are not. If apps were like ads, then television would be chock full of fun 30-second films created solely to entertain us. A good ad would need to be as clever as those unbranded short films. And if you've spent any time in front of a television, you know that's highly unlikely.
With that in mind, let's take a look at reasons why some branded apps flourish while others flop.