Mobile growth trends, tactics & tools No. 2

Get offline or get out

I mean it. App makers seem to forget the simplest, most fundamental challenge we as mobile app users have: Off line access to apps. Nothing kills an apps value more than the inability to use it when we step away from signal (shudder). It happens and when it does and the apps I use don’t work, that kills the experience, the app and the brand.

This widespread problem – and the pathetic UX those that have enabled it make us suffer through – should be the FUNDAMENTAL challenge that you overcome if you have an app in the marketplace. Apple Music, Spotify, Google Maps – they all have it but they don’t make it easy to figure out nor do they make it easy to use once you have figured it out.

Simple things like “if the place I’m going to doesn’t have a signal, why not include the way back offline automatically as well?” – seems logical but doesn’t happen. Even apps from companies like Audible try to connect to the network before they play (despite downloading the entire file ahead of time). This creates a terrible experience – especially when the signal is dropped and the book stops playing (AHH!). My gym app – BodySpace by – exits out of the app mid-workout when my phone loses signal. How many gyms do you know that aren’t in the basement surrounded by signal-blocking concrete? Fail. Delete. You get the point.

If your app is something that you want your users to rely on you need to understand the situations they use it in and make sure it works in those situations. Don’t go further than this until you’ve solved it. Please.


—————————————– posts

bv02’s The Brief #4 – Mobile Strategy with Rob Woodbridge Link

Podcast: This Week in Location Based Marketing #241: Location IS the OS + Jeff White of Gravy Link

Podcast: Mobile Commerce Minute #523: Mobile commerce around the world – not a small number to be found Link

Trending: How mobile impacts productivity – with Getting Things Done author David Allen Link


Have you tried Apple Music yet? According to Mixpanel almost 47% of iPhone users have upgraded to iOS 8.4 and their CEO says this is dangerous to Spotify (link). I’m not sure this actually means anything at all (although I did ditch my Spotify subscription and moved over to Apple Music and love it – you?) but Spotify has become more aggressive (aside from raising $526M in June) trying to help their users now disengage from paying through iTunes (link) which is very smart. Apple charges an extra 30% through iTunes (but, incidentally only charges $9.99 for their own service…Is the extra $3 a marketing expense for Spotify or a marketing strategy for Apple? You can draw the conclusion there). This begs the question, can independent apps make it when the OS introduces their own version of that app? Facebook thinks so – especially in music and especially with their 1+ billion mobile users (link). While we do spend a serious amount of time using mobile apps (85% of our mobile time!), the number of non-native apps we use is frighteningly low – only 16% of us use more than 5 non-native apps (link). The ones that break through don’t do it by accident but they are the new corner cases when it comes to mobile.


– Skip the intro, don’t skip onboarding! (link)
– Is Deep Linking The New Digital Marketing Battleground? (link) (me: YES! Learn what this means here)
– Evernote’s mobile strategy advice: Be everywhere (link) * I interviewed Evernote COO Ken Gullicksen. Watch it here*
– Reinventing Google for a mobile world (link)
– How to take over the app store in 48 Hours (link)
– Why ‘Assistant-As-App’ Might Be the Next Big Tech Trend (link) **more on this topic next week**
– Steven Sinofsky’s take on the Mobile OS Paradigm (link)


What do you use to personalize your user’s experience?

Do you Tinder?

Here’s something for you Apple Watch Tinder folk: Perhaps your eyes say no but what about your heart? Hands-free Tinder uses your heartbeat to decide ‘hot or not’ (link)

A question for you

Apple Music vs. Spotify vs. everything else. Where do you land?

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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