2018 was a momentous year in the world of tech, but now it is drawing to a close. Over the course of the year, mobile apps conforming to various niches in the market ended up being download several billions of times. In fact, the actual number ends up approaching around 27 billion or so, a remarkable number indeed and a sign that mobile apps are a firmly entrenched aspect of our internet culture.

This number also shows us that the mobile app market has grown by over ten percent. Mobile apps first came into the market about a decade ago. That’s a fairly long period of time, but it is fair to say that in spite of the length of time that mobile apps have been widely available they can still be considered a growing market.

Hence, if one wants to understand which direction this growth is headed in, it is very important that they look into the trends that are appearing. These current trends can then be used to innovate and change the course of the mobile app market.

Some aspects that businesses will definitely have to focus on are mobility and the pace of innovation. Customer demands need to be catered to, so understanding trends is not just something you might do in order to expand, it is something that you might have to end up doing in order to survive in the first place. Listed below are some observations that experts have made about the current trends in the mobile app market, as well as how these trends will translate into the situation in the market over the course of 2019.

#1 What’s Better, Native or Hybrid App Development?

A lot of app developers tend to wonder whether building a native app is better or whether they would be better off developing a hybrid app that has its own unique benefits. This debate has been raging for a while now, but we might be finally getting somewhere in terms of a definitive answer of some sort.

While it is definitely true that hybrid apps have been making a lot of headway in recent times, and the developments in the tech industry might have levelled the playing field to some extent, but at the end of the day there is nothing quite like a native app. Hence, native apps are probably going to continue to dominate the market in 2019, which is something that one should definitely keep in mind if one is working in this field.

One of the reasons why the domination of native apps will continue to be a feature of the mobile market is the fact that both of the tech giants currently influencing the mobile app market, namely Apple and Google, are aggressively working on native features for their individual operating systems. This is because of the fact that they are trying to differentiate themselves from one another and give users valid reasons to choose between them.

As for hybrid apps, while they do provide benefits such as cross functionality and access to a wider user base, there are a few issues that need to be ironed out. Maintaining hybrid app systems is more complex than working with native apps. Fixing errors and rolling out updates is also a lot more complicated than it should be. Finally, one of the biggest reasons why hybrid apps are not going to supersede native apps any time soon is the fact that they compromise on user experiences. If you are working on a native app, you will be able to customize said app for the needs and specifications of the platform it will be native to. Hybrid apps need to be more versatile, which ends up making them jacks of all trades but kings of none.

#2 Marketing Apps Is Very Important

One of the main things that any app development enterprise or professional works on as hard as possible is, obviously, the app itself. Functionality is considered a top priority, as are things like the problems that these apps actually solve. However, app developers tend to skimp out on one of the most important aspects of this entire industry, an aspect that often means the difference between success and failure: marketing the app itself.

As a result of this apparent disinterest in marketing, companies end up spending vast amounts of capital on getting users to install the app in the first place, but then fall off the radar. Essentially, what is happening is that these companies are focusing on the initial interaction rather than focusing on getting returning customers.

What companies truly need are people that are loyal to the products and services that they are offering. You need users that engage with the app that you have been working on, and a proper marketing campaign that focuses on every single aspect of the app downloading process. What these marketing campaigns focus on is turning users into actively engaged users. They won’t just install your app, they are going to use it a lot and tell people about it.

Engaged users are important for a number of different reasons. First and foremost they allow you to better understand your own app. If there are problems within the app these users would be able to give you the updates and reports you need to isolate the issue at hand and fix it permanently. Engaged users are also far more likely to buy things from within the app. This is one of the most important things to focus on because it is an enormous source of revenue that your company often sorely needs but is unable to get for a variety of different reasons.

This lack of focus on the right aspects of the marketing campaign is why so many great apps end up disappearing without being fully appreciated. The thing is, brands are starting to realize this which is why they are starting to invest in engagement a lot more than they used to. Monetization strategies are going to become a lot different in the coming year. Hence, if you want to stay on par with the rest of the companies out there, you are going to have to make similar investments in the world of engagement and user loyalty.

#3 A Rise in Moment Marketing

Over the decade during which mobile apps have become such an important aspect of our day to day lives, one thing that has consistently become more popular is personalization. Not only does it make users feel more at home while they are using a specific app, it also helps the app become a lot more functional and helps it learn from what user preferences are so that in the future these apps can be developed in such a way that they end up feeling personalized from the get go.

However, things are starting to change. Gathering data on in app user behavior is not going to be enough anymore, at least if your goal is to get a more engaged userbase overall. The fact of the matter is that personalized messages are now no longer getting that same level of engagement. Instead, open-rate messages have been found to be a lot more effective, with open-rate messages being messages that are sent based on location and the activities that they are currently involved in rather than who they personally are.

Three years ago, there was a huge discussion about a shift that was being noticed in the world of marketing. Google gave this movement the name of “micro moments”. It was also often referred to as moment marketing, as well as right time marketing. This movement is all about trying to understand what the intent of the consumer is in the real world through their in app activities.

Context is starting to matter more. Companies are starting to realize that we don’t live in a digital bubble. The real world affects how people tend to use apps and engage with the digital world in general. Location based offers and deals, offers that take into account how people might react in their normal day to day life, making the user experience more seamless in terms of expanding their horizons to newer platforms, all of these are things that matter greatly in the world of modern mobile app marketing.

Basically, what businesses need to do is that they need to figure out what the right moment is to market to someone. Random marketing gimmicks are no longer going to help. If you hit a user with the right kind of offer at the right moment, they are going to be far more likely to accept that offer in general. People that are on their way to work, people that are in class, people that are bored and tired at the end of a long day at work, all of these are people that need to be approached differently. 2019 looks to be the year when this finally becomes the way things work.

#4 Growth in Over The Top Media

Over the top media, often shortened to OTT, refers to things like Netflix, Amazon Prime and even YouTube in some instances, at least as far as their latest offering “YouTube Red” is concerned. These are basically services that allow you to get access to content without having to buy a cable subscription or anything like that. Basically you get content directly from the source without having to worry about the middle men that often end up ruining your experience entirely.

This market is growing by an enormous amount. We can already see how people are starting to prefer Netflix to traditional media outlets like TV channels. In fact, by 2019 it is estimated that total OTT subscribers are going to cross three hundred million in number. This is a vast number and it will definitely prove to be a complete game changer.

One area where this is going to be an enormous changer in particular is the mobile app market of course. The world is becoming a lot more internet friendly. Internet is now widely available to pretty much everyone that is involved in the mobile app market. TVs are a lot more conducive to OTTs. Even big companies like Disney are going to be offering a lot of content through their streaming platform.

The rate of content distribution on these platforms is definitely going to be massive. It is going to allow app developers to develop their own apps and services, whether those apps and services are in the world of OTT or whether they are to be used in conjunction with these apps. We will probably see a further rise in OTT in the year 2019. Indeed, it is fair to say that the whole world will be about OTT after a certain point. Mainstream channels are definitely on their way out.

#5 Exploration Into The World of Augmented Reality

Augemented reality is a field that has exploded after the release of games like Pokemon Go. We have been hearing about it ever since Google Glass was announced, and even though that experiment did not go as well as everyone that it would, it has not changed the fact that augmented reality is becoming a lot hotter in terms of the potential it has in the current market. Examples of new AR technology coming in 2018 is the ARKit by Apple as well as Google’s ARCore. With the release of these new updates to the world of AR technology, we can rest assured that the mobile app market will be following suit as well. This is in spite of the fact that adoption rates are not as high as people thought they would be at this point.

Smart Glasses and Lenses are probably where this market is headed. With Google and Apple’s major investments in AR frameworks, the technology behind these innovations is going to become a lot more important. In fact, Apple is investing so much into its AR technology that it is going to extend the tech across all apps that are currently available with iOS, along with the hardware that goes with these kinds of apps. Features like face tracking are going to become a lot more prevalent. This is a trend that will definitely gain a lot of steam in 2019.

The Shape of Things to Come

It has been a decade since the first apps were launched. They are now not just something we use to have fun, but necessary components of our routine. We can’t text without WhatsApp anymore, and for some people Facebook is not just a social media platform but a place where they can find work and stay in touch with loved ones even though they are quite far away. Hence, the shape of things to become is a lot clearer than it used to be.

Users know what they want. They want their experience to be personalized, they want instant gratification, and they want their content viewing process to be as seamless as possible even if they are using multiple devices to gain access to it. The mobile app market is going to grow next year. Only time will tell how far it can go before growth ends.

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