Why mobile traction is getting harder, not easier

Andrew Chen lists the reasons why startups are finding it harder to get mobile traction:

  1. Product differentiation is harder with a much bigger app store …the number of apps has gotten a whole lot bigger.
  2. Cost Per Installs have gone up over time …both due to demand and a lack of supply. The supply of paid installs has contracted as Apple has banned some providers and warned others.
  3. Editorial teams further the platform’s own strategic goals …[the Apple app store editors] care more that the first 25 apps that a user installs are amazing experiences from well-known brands, [the GooglePlay editors] care a lot about tablet devices.
  4. Investment has dried up for experimental new consumer mobile apps …there doesn’t seem to be a lot of conviction to deploy their capital on risky new consumer mobile startups.

This raises a dilemma for companies with a “mobile-first” strategy: mobile is clearly the highest growth area, but mobile traction is getting harder unless you already have a strong web presence.

We’ve experienced this directly in Seeking Alpha: it’s hard to acquire meaningful numbers of new app users from app stores and other marketing channels. In contrast, over 500,000 dedicated users of our website downloaded our app in 2013, and we expect that number to increase in 2014.

2 thoughts on “Why mobile traction is getting harder, not easier

  1. Pingback: Why mobile-only business models aren’t working | A Founder's Notebook

  2. Pingback: Why startups shouldn’t develop iPad apps | A Founder's Notebook

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