Reddit and Alien Blue, or Should Your Business Have Its Own App?

Reddit, the mega popular link sharing website and the home of the ever popular Ask Me Anything, has finally come out with their official iOS app. Unusually, the app is one that was already available in the iOS store. Alien Blue, developed by Jase Morrissey, provided readers with an app based method for accessing the site. Reddit have now bestowed the ‘official Reddit app’ stamp on it and have taken on Morrissey as their official app developer, with the hunt now on for a Google Play developer to bring Alien Blue to Android.

This news comes a month after Reddit rolled out their Ask Me Anything app, for one of their most popular subreddits. The app collects the most popular interviews that have been conducted on the site, allowing users to browse through without wading through the vast amounts of content on the site itself.

Interestingly, Reddit apparently had brought out their own app in the past, named iReddit, but abandoned it when a rash of third party apps came out and did the job better. With that in mind, why did they take over one of those apps now?

Many have opined that it’s because Reddit has been losing out on an undoubtedly large amount of revenue by not having an app presence. With UK mobile ad spending now set to take over newspaper advertising, any online company worth their salt will want an app of their own.

There appears to be a lot of worth in developing an app for your business. Research has shown that people spend an average of 162 minutes daily on their phones. With mobiles now swallowing up a large portion of traditional media’s attention, such as TV and newspapers, it seems to make sense to build an app. There is an argument that all businesses may not need one at all, as they may just need to optimise their website for mobile browsing. However, if your business has a dedicated app, once downloaded it will stay in the user’s phone menu, providing an easier way to access your information.

There is also the question whether you would see a return on your investment in the app. While the cost of entry into the iOS App Store and Google Play Stores are relatively low, the return does need to be worth it. Also, now with so many apps available, yours would have to really stand out, and be a useful tool for your user.

The next question is, would your target market want an app? For Reddit’s market, the app was the best choice as their audience are 35-44 year old males, who are more likely to want to browse the site via their phone while out and about. If your business targets a demographic such as the elderly or children, mobile apps may not be the best way to go.

Finally, it’s worth considering whether the app would be useful for your business. As all mobiles have the ability to track their users, the information can be used to improve the user’s experience with your app. For example, if a user walks past a branch of your business, a push notification can be sent to their phone with a special offer for them. This tactic must be used with caution however, as users can be wary of companies ‘spying’ on them.

While the use of an official app will be a boon to Reddit and similar companies, they may not be for everyone. With the way we consume media and our increased use of mobile technology, though, it is most certainly worth considering.

Posted in Blog & News.

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