Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook CEO, sat down with the New York Times to discuss Facebook’s latest digital strategy of unbundling their app experiences. At Centric Digital, we find a lot of innovative and traditional companies facing a similar dilemma; how to structure their mobile app ecosystem within their mobile strategy?
Originally Facebook had a single, yet powerful feature, to share photos. That market was rocked by, then newcomer, social powerhouse Instagram, which Facebook acquired for a cool $1B — seems cheap nowadays. History was made, and it became clear that single-purpose apps were a treat to the mobile strategy of one-app-to-rule them all.
Google may have completely missed the boat in social, but they are well ahead of Facebook in their mobile app strategy. Every single one of Google’s 40+ mobile apps is a single-purpose app. If you use Google’s apps, you can understand why the simplicity works well for them. The context for email is much different than maps. Google has done a great job of having the apps launch each other, even on iTunes, for cross functionality, such as clicking on an address in a Gmail app to launch the location in Google Maps App. It’s no surprise that the main Google search app is an easy index to launch other Google apps.
Some traditional businesses have started to follow a similar path to Google and now Facebook. In cases where a customer experience is segmented (customer is in a different mindset, locations are unique, or they require varied situations for different experiences) the unbundled mobile app approach may make sense. In cases where the experience of a company’s features are really tied together (all one point of context for an experience), and all-in-one mobile app strategy may make more sense. The first step is to evaluate which direction to go with your mobile ecosystem, to review the trends in your industry, and benchmark your current mobile strategy vs. best practices.