In 2013, over 56 billion smart phone apps and 14 billion tablet apps were downloaded. By 2017, that number is estimated to be upwards of 200 billion. 80% of all mobile time is spent using apps. On average, people use 6.5 apps over a period of 30 days. And, according to Gartner, 93% of them are free.
More brands, looking to reach their customers in new ways, are taking advantage of the skyrocketing use of apps by creating their own. The best of these branded apps offer something of real value. Starbucks, for example, has created a nudge app called Early Bird. It’s an alarm clock, but with a reward. Press “wake up” instead of “snooze” and you earn a discounted coffee if you can crawl out of bed and make it to a Starbucks within an hour.
Cool idea. But what if a brand is not quite ready to build its own app, yet wants to dip its toe into these rapidly moving waters? Why not begin by becoming an “App Curator”?
The word “curator” comes from the Latin word curare, meaning to take care. A fitting thought as it relates to brands and their customers. Quite simply, an App Curator is a collector and organizer of apps that are of real use to a brand’s customers.
Imagine that once a month a company posted a list of its favorite (free, of course) apps on Facebook, Twitter, its own website, or pushed out through email. The list is based on very targeted apps that will add clear, relevant value to a brand’s customers while also aligning nicely with the brand’s core purpose.
For example, a lifestyle brand might curate apps that encourage family harmony and smart parenting. Like myHomeworkApp or ChoreMonster. Both apps work to nudge children into better homework and chore habits.
A car dealer could share something like the SlowDown app for the iPhone. It ensures that drivers stay at the speed limit even while they’re rocking out to their favorite tunes. It literally shuts the radio off if the driver speeds. Parents who are considering a first car for their teen might appreciate a dealership that has teen safety in mind.
A health system has thousands of fitness, weight control, meditation, and better sleep apps to choose from to share with its community. A university could curate apps that help students survive college. Study apps like iStudiezPromonitor keep track of classes and deadlines across all Apple devices. DrinkControl is an app that monitors alcohol intake. While Pocket First Aid & CPR is right there with quick first aid instructions.
The possibilities are as endless as the number of apps being created every day.
With a little savvy research, a company can curate highly useful apps that will help them stay front and center, every day, with their customers. And, by seeing what their customers download, perhaps also set the stage to create an entertaining, utilitarian and engaging branded app of their own.