Each year Carat produces a trends report to help us think about how the worlds of technology and media will change over the next few years.
Dan Calladine, Carat’s Head of Media Futures, put together this year’s report, with help from experts around the business, including Mark Greenstreet, Matthew Jacobs, Alex Hooi, Graeme Wood, Angus Wood, Casey Fitzsimmons, and Mark Linford.
Over the next few days we’ll be looking at some of the most interesting trends for 2015 in detail.
“These are trends, not ‘the trends’. There are lots of things happening, and we hope we have chosen some the most interesting,” says Dan.
“Brands need to organise themselves for the real world – we highlight what the trends are, why they are growing, and give implications for brands, rooted in what we have observed this year.
“It’s a given that lots of things will continue to grow – including web access, mobile usage, ecommerce, and online video viewing.”
Today Dan looks at Trend 1 – App Simplification & Integration
Apps are big – according to Flurry, 86% of time spent on mobile is in apps, and just 14% on the mobile web.
These apps are now becoming more simplified – brands like Facebook are breaking off key tasks like messaging into single purpose apps. At the same time it’s becoming possible for apps to integrate with other apps to share data and information, and to link to each other.
This means that brands need to re-think what their apps are for, and what they should functionality they should offer.
Facebook’s main app has pretty much all the functionality of the site. However now it’s splitting some areas, like messages, groups & local search, into single purpose apps, and others are following the same strategy.
Foursquare split off its check-ins to a separate app, Swarm. When Instagram added the ability to make time-lapse videos, it did so as a separate app, Hyperlapse.
The rationale for this is being made easier because apps are now less self-contained – they can link to each other.
For example, Uber has allowed other apps to embed an Uber button – so that you can open Uber easily, for example a button in the Starbucks app to call a car to take you to your nearest coffee shop.
Apple’s HealthKit in iOS8 lets a number of health and fitness apps share data, to get a fuller picture of the user’s activity levels.
Ads within the Facebook app can deep link into other apps, for example YPlan’s events ads which deep link into precise events in the YPlan app.
Over the next year it will become easier for developers to link apps. Twitter and Facebook both have code & resources to help app makers produce apps that will have common elements that can integrate well.
Twitter has ‘Fabric’, which offers a universal sign-in to apps, and access to Tweets and related tools, plus Twitter’s in-app ad service.
Facebook has ‘Parse’ which cuts down the differences between developing for different mobile operating systems, and will also standardise more of the way that apps work, also making it easier for apps to talk to each other.
Implications For Brands
- The changes will strengthen apps’ roles in how people access content and services from their mobile devices.
- Apps will be even more easy to use, and become inter-linked, like the web.
- Brands need to think about what their apps should be for – which services they should offer, as simply as possible, and what they could link to.
- If your app isn’t one that people will use every day, find ways of getting your app into one that is
- Think about advertising your app, to both drive downloads and use.
- If you don’t have an app, make sure the mobile web experience for the brand is as good as it can possibly be!