Though mobile apps seem to be all the rage at the moment, it’s suggested that it may be reaching a tipping point in terms of saturation, allowing other mobile communication, and primarily SMS, to remain the solid choice for mobile marketing dollars.
An article posted on AdWeek today makes a strong case against mobile apps, citing several reasons why the excitement surrounding the concept may be a little premature and why SMS remains the clear leader in terms of mobile marketing spend. “Don’t get me wrong. Mobile apps can be a great way to engage in the right context, but the reason that text continues to be the dominant force in mobile marketing is simply reach and usage,” the author explains.
The logic is hard to argue with; nearly every cellphone in the U.S. is capable of text messaging and because it’s used for regular personal communication, it’s always top of mind in terms of general daily use. By comparison, only 18 percent of all phones in the U.S. are smartphones. Further, Juniper Research forecasts that smartphones worldwide will account for just 23 percent of all new handsets sold per annum by 2013, hardly representing the mass market for general consumer goods and services.
Mobile apps are dominated by the iPhone, with most development going toward its platform, which only represents 4% of the entire mobile market. With such a frenzy for mobile apps, competition is rampant with very few avenues to distribute, apart from Apple’s App Store which has the most competition of all. Because of it, the mobile app market is beginning to be saturated. SMS, on the other hand, has none of these limiting attributes.
“Strategy Analytics confirmed that only four to six mobile apps are used on a consistent basis. Brands need to be aware that there’s intense competition for share of the mobile phone desktop,” the article explains. “It stands to reason that consumers are not going to continue to download and use an unlimited number of mobile applications, and there are many questions over whether we have reached the saturation point already.”