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Apple announced this week that their App Store reached a landmark 10 Billion downloads. From a digital marketing point of view is this good news? Does it validate the app space or diminish it as an opportunity?
If you do the math, total iPhone sales in the last 2 years (average hardware life cycle) are 60 million units and total iPad sales in 2010 were about 10 million units. That is 70 million units total, or an average of 143 apps per active device (assuming older iPhone were retired and replaced by new iPhone and kept the same apps).
This leaves digital marketers with the question of how to keep your app noticed amongst this clutter on the iOS device. Especially in light of the current trend of "I've got to have an app" mentality and the already existing 300,000 apps available for iPhones and 40,000 apps available for iPads.
Think of your own smartphone - how many Apps have you downloaded? How many have you used in the last week? How many did you try once and never use again (other than the persistent bi-monthly updates with no discernible enhancements)?
There are very few use cases where an App makes sense for both the marketer and the consumer - perhaps during the buying cycle with something like the Toyota App, but even then, nearly everything in the App can be rendered in HTML5 and made as a mobile web experience with more flexibility.
My take is don't get swept up into the App hype - it is extremely unlikely that consumers will find your app and if they do, even more unlikely they regularly use it enabling reliable communication with your customers. You don't have to have an App - HTML5 is perfectly capable of delivering your mobile experience and integrates into your current digital marketing capabilities.