Standalone Apps Come with Little Risk and Big Rewards
More and more frequently, major companies are investing prime capital in mobile apps comprised of many different moving parts circling a single nucleus. Facebook isn’t just a news feed, and Google Drive goes far beyond a simple blank document.
Applications are often hubs for messengers, editing software, or other social functions, putting a great deal of pressure on a single icon inhabiting your phone. That strain is just one of the many reasons why we’re seeing the advent of standalone apps that provide functionality once tied to the original service.
The shining example of a successful standalone app comes in the form of Facebook Messenger. What was once incorporated in the standard Facebook app now acts as its own unique download, and according to App Annie’s recent data, Messenger is close to the top messaging app of all time on Apple’s digital store.
Splitting a single profitable app into two even more lucrative avenues sounds like a no-brainer, but not every company is going to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Instagram Bolt, which provides one-to-one video and picture messaging, isn’t producing the numbers the company expected. Even Facebook is struggling to help its own SnapChat competitor, Slingshot, gain traction.
There’s no easy-to-follow recipe for success when it comes to standalone apps, but that just means experimentation is critical. Facebook’s Paper app barely looks like Facebook at this point, and its popularity is nowhere near Messenger or the basic app. However, the costs behind putting a small team in charge of developing what could be a breakout success are worth the risks.
Google sees the value in cleaner, more focused apps as well. Google Drive, which has a medley of different features and uses for both personal and business needs, will continue to see its main app dispersed into smaller counterparts. Cloud storage, Docs, Sheets, and Slides are all in the drive family, and Google has taken the opportunity to promote and release each piece of this puzzle as its own product.
Standalone apps will come and go. Failure is part of the game. Although there should be some hesitation before breaking up an app into smaller pieces, the low cost and often quick turnaround can be just too appealing to pass up.