There’s more to a good app than an aesthetically-pleasing icon. Here’s what brands of all backgrounds need to consider when trying to master the art of the app.

When deciding whether to build an app, brands should consider what audience they are trying to reach as well as their overall objectives. This creates a bifurcation between brands with a “mobile extender” strategy and those with a “mobile-centric” strategy. Mobile extenders seek a larger public audience and devote mobile spend on a campaign basis. These brands must prioritize platforms like mobile sites and then evaluate the feasibility of an app. Mobile extenders, on the other hand, may find enough utility in mobile-optimized sites to forgo an app altogether. That said, brands should not deploy apps for the sake of it.

Meanwhile, mobile-centric brands engage with a more targeted audience and lead with unique in-app mobile experiences to drive loyalty. Additionally, mobile apps must differentiate themselves from mobile sites to add value for consumers. And to make the most of an app, brands need to integrate features that promote high rates of customer acquisition, retention and conversion. To accomplish this, they should include unique features not commonly found on mobile sites, like biometrics, push notifications, and personalization—a current favorite amongst the feature set.

While baseline features like push notifications are almost universally adopted by analyzed brands, other, more sophisticated tools like preferences settings are only found in 35% of cases according to Gartner L2’s report on the topic. Underwhelming adoption figures like this prove brands have decided to build apps without fully understanding how to properly execute them or tailor them to frequent, loyal users.

Daily Insights in Your Inbox