Mobile Apps Streaming

Streaming: The Essential Worker for Radio

When jācapps introduced its first mobile app for radio close to a dozen years ago, most people thought we were nuts.  In late 2008 apps were a novelty. The two leading apps in the iTunes App Store were the Zippo Lighter and iFart.  You can imagine the questions we got from broadcasters.

At the time that mobile technology was introduced, broadcasters were still suspicious of streaming. It was disruptive, expensive, and foreign, and since we were in the throes of the Great Recession, many were reluctant to jump into the pond.

Between then and now, it’s become pretty standard for radio stations to have a mobile app as streaming by listeners has grown steadily each year.  Broadcasters recognize the necessity of having an app, but for some, the reluctance remains.

Until now.

As more Americans are working from home, the way they consume audio content, including radio, has shifted dramatically.  They are spending significantly less time in their cars, and while working from home or schooling their children, streaming audio, especially radio, via a mobile app, website, or smart speaker has become more popular. 

According to a recent article in “Inside Radio” the percentage of AM/FM listening taking place online hit 10% in May, with Triton reporting Total Listening Hours to AM/FM streams up 16% year-over-year.  So now with Nielsen recognizing this shift and adjusting ratings to account for headphone listening, having a great mobile app is no longer a “check the box” investment, but a key aspect to the way radio connects with its audience.

Your stream is now central to the delivery of your content, and things like mobile apps and smart speaker skills are an essential way radio stations compete and grow their audience, and stations without them are at a significant disadvantage.

Mobile Apps

Covid-19 Spurs Mobile App Usage

The pandemic and resulting impact in work, home, and leisure routines has also generated a surge in mobile app usage.  A study just released from Airship finds an incredible surge across almost all app categories in the March-June period, when so many people found themselves at home.   And while they were at home, many found mobile apps as the optimal way of continuing to connect with all aspects of their lifestyle.

As we have shared in this blog since the beginning of the pandemic, consumer behavior is changing radically.  Limitation on consumers’ ability to go into stores or businesses to interact with merchants the way they used to has made investment in mobile app technology a must-have for all businesses.  Those who choose to conduct business in the same way they did before March are leaving themselves vulnerable to being left behind as this new reality emerges.

Comparing March through June activity in 2020 to 2019, the health care (+60%), media (+55%), and entertainment (+40%) categories led in app usage growth.  And compared to the February year-over-year app activity, the biggest change was with Business apps.

Three companies that have seen their business explode since the pandemic are Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon.  They were each perfectly positioned to shift their shopping experience from in-store to online with curbside pickup, and not surprisingly, each provides an excellent mobile shopping experience.

There is no reason why any business – regardless of size – shouldn’t be able to compete with these retail behemoths in the mobile space.  And ceding this turf to them will just empower consumers to shift their spending to them.

While we have no way of knowing if – or when – things will return to normal, it’s safe to assume the importance of mobile apps in all aspects of commerce will remain.  And this is especially important for any business that depends on the revenue burst from the holiday shopping season – providing a mobile app/shopping experience is going to be key to your success.

Mobile Apps

6 Questions To Ask When Looking For A Mobile App Developer

After close to twelve years in the mobile app development business, we can tell you the majority of prospective clients have one thing in common:  they’ve never bought a mobile app before.  In many cases, they don’t know which questions to ask, and as a result, make a decision on a developer based on price or a pre-existing relationship.  We can’t tell you how many times we’ve lost a bid because the client wanted the lowest price and selected a company with offshore development.  Or, they had a family relation or friend who knew how to write code and had developed a couple of apps.

So, based on our experience, here are the questions you should ask when selecting a mobile app developer:

  1. Do they create custom solutions, have a platform, or provide both approaches?  There tends to be two types of developers – those who have invested in a platform that allows them to develop apps quickly and inexpensively, or those who provide more expensive custom work.  It’s important to understand the benefits and limitations of each approach.  Beyond cost, platform apps can be versatile and provide an array of solutions, while custom apps can provide a company exactly what they require.
  2. What is their core business?  A lot of mobile app development is done by large software companies where apps are just a part of what they do.  Successful mobile app development requires dedicated teams with specific expertise, working for a company that prioritizes mobile app development.  This is a space that changes rapidly – new devices and operating systems from Apple and Android come out regularly – and without the proper focus, problems will occur.
  3. What is their service philosophy?  Many app developers provide their clients with apps – from there, the client is on their own.  Given the rate of change in this space combined with the fact mobile apps should be refreshed regularly, working with a developer that has an ongoing maintenance and upgrade plan is essential.
  4. Where are they located?  This is a tricky question, but we’ve had a lot of business come back to us from clients who tried an overseas (and less expensive) solution.  Lots of developers have a representative in the US, but the actual development is done overseas, often outsourced.  While non-US developers can be technically capable, there are numerous issues with this approach, including language barriers, time zones for strategy calls, cultural differences, and more. 
  5. Do they provide an end-to-end solution, or do they just develop apps?  It’s important to select a development firm that provides an end-to-end solution, starting with the strategic purpose of the app, and including design, wireframes, technical documentation, testing, and final development.  If a firm doesn’t provide a complete process, there will be surprise costs that emerge.
  6. What was the company’s last innovation?  While a generic question, you’ll learn a lot about how the firm operates.  If they are relatively static, they are sending a message that they are a) too busy, b) not focused on advancing their software, or c) mobile apps aren’t a priority in their firm.  Select a company that can provide solid examples of not only work they’ve done, but what’s in their product plan and their vision of the future.

If you are asking these questions, we would love for you to ask US! Jacapps is always available to answer these questions, and any others you may have about mobile app development.