App trends for 2020 from Kumulos and Waracle

Mobile Marketing - Member Content

App trends for 2020 are on every mobile marketer’s reading list before Christmas! So, here at Kumulos, we caught up with some of our mobile app marketing friends to discuss the top 5 app trends for 2020 for Mobile Marketing Magazine readers.

First up, we spoke with the Waracle team and discussed these top 5 app trends for 2020:

1. The Progressive Web App

2. Beacon Technology Apps

3. Android Instant Apps

4. 5-G

5. The Super App

The Progressive Web App
The Progressive Web App is in our top trends because there’s barely a week gone by this year without someone somewhere waxing lyrical about the demise of the native app and the rise of its usurper. 

Around for a while, the Progressive Web App, or PWA, will, according to Gartner, be supplanting 50 per cent of all consumer-facing native apps in the not too distant future – and for this reason alone, it’s worth bringing yourself up to speed.

A Progressive Web App is basically a webpage that both feels and functions like a regular native app, but because it’s browser-based, there’s a ton of advantages that mean they’re gaining popularity at an increasingly fast pace.

PWAs cost less to develop than mobile apps, which means they’re great for businesses who might not have the budget for a mobile app, but realise the importance of delivering a streamlined, engaging UX across their touchpoints.

PWAs are ideal for the use of web push notifications  which allow you to reach and engage your PWA audience - in the same way that push notifications and in-app messages engage your mobile app audience. 

PWAs look and feel like native apps. Nothing says simple and easy like a native mobile app, which is why people love them – they simplify the mobile experience, make information easy to find and tasks easy to complete. Having a webpage, or pages, that follow this same ethos then is a huge bonus for the end-user.

Unlike native apps, PWAs work offline. The ability to work offline, or where there are poor connections, means they’re ‘always on’, which means you’re always connected, which means you’re always up to date. They’re responsive, which means that they’ll work across devices, screen sizes and orientations – which in turn means a great UX.  

There are even more advantages... but we can’t wait to tell you the second trend in our list! 

Beacon Technology Apps
Beacon technology first emerged onto our digital radars in 2013, when Apple unveiled its iBeacon protocol. Since then, it might be fair to say that beacon technology has been somewhat slow to bestow upon us the benefits it promised … or maybe it’s that we’ve all been a bit slow to embrace it? Either way, we’re hearing rumblings on our digital horizon – next year the number of global beacon deployments is predicted to reach 400 million – maybe, just maybe, 2020 is going to be big for the beacon…

In a nutshell, beacons use proximity marketing to identify human presence close by, and deliver a personalised experience – say a special offer, or an ad – to that individual via its short-range, low-energy Bluetooth transmitters. So imagine, if you will, perusing the offerings in your go-to tech store, eyeing up the latest (insert greatest tech desire here), and being instantly served via your smartphone a 20 per cent off deal for that very item.

Proximity marketing is something that the Kumulos team love to see in action. Initially seen as a huge boon for the retail sector, we and Waracle, have seen beacon technology make its way into entertainment, events, hotels and travel, and it’s unlikely to stop there. This simple ability to deliver highly relevant, highly valuable messages to a huge audience without the need for them to do anything is becoming an increasingly attractive way for companies to engage on a more personal level with their customers, creating an effortless brand experience that’s engaging, and if they get it right, enjoyable. 

Android Instant Apps
A ‘try before you buy’ option for app lovers everywhere, Instant Apps are small software programs that enable users to test native apps before downloading them to their android device – meaning no installation, and no impact on your precious storage space. Instant Apps have been around since 2016, but like all things tech, they’ve taken a while to enter our collective consciousness, though Google has reported that Instant App traffic is comparable to that of regular webpages. Result. And though you still won’t find a lot of apps supporting the Instant system, word is that 2020 will see them make a bigger splash.

Our marketing pal at Waracle enabled Instant Apps on Android a few months ago – and if they come across an app that includes the Instant version, they see a ‘try now’ CTA, which if they click, the app launches. They get to try it, and if they like it they can install it. If they don’t, they can pretend the whole sorry affair never happened! This method of trying out an app has a few benefits for all:

Instant Apps are great at increasing discoverability, because the app’s content is accessible out-with the app and not tucked away inside it. The upshot? Users are more likely to find your business – users that might not have found your app otherwise. Users get a taster of an app’s capabilities before deciding whether to download it and take up more storage space. If you use a lot of apps, then this is priceless.

Instant apps open faster than websites – people like fast. They make for a more seamless, frictionless UX, bridging the gap between a web search and directing users to the Google Play store – kind of like a webpage/app combo.

As alluded to above, Instant Apps have been slow to catch on, but the benefits of getting friendly with the technology are reaching the shores of enterprise – both Hollar and the New York Times have claimed increased conversion rates – a 7 per cent increase – through the introduction of Instant Apps. Expect the news to catch on and see everyone reaching for a big ol’ slice of Instant App pie over the next 12 months!

We tried to leave this one off the list, given the magnitude of hype surrounding 5G and the certainty that you’re almost done reading and hearing about it.  Did you read our previous piece on how 5G will transform enterprise IoT?  But it’s exactly given that hype that we can’t ignore the undeniable, imminent arrival of 5G racing towards us – and 2020 is D-Day. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G; Huawei Mate X and LG V50 ThinQ – amongst others – are standing by ready to lighten your smartphone load and get you innovation-ready. And good job too. 

As far as Gartner’s concerned, 66 per cent of businesses are planning to deploy 5G within the next 12 months, and telecoms giant Qualcomm told us that by 2035, 5G could be supporting around $12.3 trillion worth of goods and services across global industry, generating up to $3.5 trillion in revenue by the same year, and creating up to 22 million jobs. according to a study by Gartner. Cisco estimates that by 2020, 5G will generate three times more traffic than the average 4G connection, and those connections will make up 3 per cent of total mobile connections. 

The bottom line? 5G is very good news for mobile apps:

Speed – superfast uploads, downloads and connections mean we really will get what we want yesterday (almost!) – plus no more app lag, one of the key reasons users abandon apps that don’t measure up. Audio and video will be enhanced, delay-free and deliver a vastly improved UX.

Due to lower latency, we’ll see the slow-to-catch on AR and VR-based apps take a much-needed leap in popularity because the period of time it takes these apps to react to our prompts and the world around them will be much, much faster…

Delivering a new digital experience that embodies a user’s surrounding environment and conditions, coupled with the ability to detect and connect to multiple devices and sensors, ambient computing will be on every business’s radar in 12 months time – and 5G will drive it. A discipline that allows the simultaneous use of multiple sources of data pulled from the users ‘environment’ – both internal and external – to improve the CX, boost competitiveness and enhance product and service delivery, ambient computing is about to land with a thud. 

The Super-App
Brace yourself, the super-app is coming. And to be honest, our Kumulos team and the Waracle team are surprised it’s taken so long. For nearly two decades now, we’ve been content with the single-purpose app – doing exactly as it says on the tin, no more, no less. 

Single apps keep things simple – at least that was when we had a clear definition for ‘simple’. As we cruise into 2020, simple is on everyone’s wish-list, thanks to the global swathe of digital natives redefining its meaning with increased frequency and ensuring that for today at least, simple means ‘more’. More to make things easy, more that takes less time, more that allows me to do what I need to do without the added … moreness. It was only a matter of time before the super-app stepped in to sort things out.

Originating from China, the super-app has grown out of consumers’ needs (where else) – consumers who want to be able to do everything they need to via their phone, but without hopping between apps. The most commonly-cited super-apps, WeChat and Alipay in China, pull a vast range of services together via their interface, including basic banking services. A one-stop-shop for practically any service or product their users might need.

These users aren’t phased by a fussy, elaborate interface that delivers a cacophony of services via one-pane-of-glass – in fact, they’re used to such ‘shop windows’, happy to stick to those that provide the seamless, frictionless, efficient super-app experience that makes life … you guessed, simple.

Think messaging/weekly shopping/social/travel booking/food ordering/movie watching – all rolled into one. These super-apps create a highly sticky environment, one where the user simply has no need to use other apps – why have 10 apps to perform 10 different activities, when one will do it all for you?

Whatever the trend, make 2020 the year you engage users
Whether you and your team are working on a PWA, Instant App or Super App, then make sure you put some thought into engaging your user with intelligent, targeted messaging - whether push notifications, in app messaging or web push notifications, Kumulos gives you all the tools you need to engage your audience. Contact us for a demo or take a free trial!