Media Pitch: Appticles Wants to Help Publisher Apps Avoid the “Mobile Death Spiral"
The walls that surround the app store are about to come crumbling down, predicts Appticles CEO Ciprian Borodescu. His startup, Appticles, is dedicated to taking publishers' applications out of apps stores and placing them on the open web, making apps easier to access for readers and more affordable for publishers to create. Borodescu writes that this shift to the open web will allow publishers to have more control over their apps, create more engaging web pages, and avoid the "mobile death spiral" where apps languish within the app store. Here Borodescu explains how trends in mobile and online media technology have perpetuated the demise of the app store and how publishers can succeed in a future where every website will be as immersive and engaging as an app.
Who are you? What is your technology and how does it work? Who are the entrepreneurs behind it?
Appticles.com is a platform that helps content-driven businesses, whether we're talking about online newspapers, magazines, or bloggers, to package their existing content into cross-platform mobile and tablet applications that run directly in the browser, making app stores obsolete.
Appticles was founded by myself and CTO Alexandra Anghel. I've been an entrepreneur for about 10 years, and previously founded a software outsourcing company in Romania from which I exited at the end of 2013. Anghel has 10 years experience in server-side development, infrastructure, and managing web projects. Over the last few years she’s been involved in various women in tech initiatives. For example, she pitched at GIT Paris in 2012 and won the runner up award and has been a mentor in the Learn IT, Girl! Program that teaches programming to young women.
Explain your existence: What problem are you solving or opportunity are you enabling? How are you unique and innovative?
When it comes to targeting their mobile users, online publishers (whether we're talking about newspapers or magazines) are trapped in a "mobile death spiral." They’re beginning to realize: 1) that having an application in an app store is not the ultimate distribution model they’ve been promised, on one hand and, on the other hand, 2) that mobile means more than just screen-size.
Inspiration: How did you come up with this idea? How does your new tech solution reflect changes and trends underway in the media world?
Back in 2011, Financial Times removed their native application from iTunes and launched their own Web-based mobile application, proving the entire publishing industry that it is possible to succeed outside an app store. We've been inspired by FT model and wanted to enable other small and medium publishers to have their own application without having to deal with app stores.
Obviously mobile is a huge trend, but for a long time we have been made into believing that mobile applications can't exist outside app stores. Since the technology is now available, it is time to challenge the way we create and distribute mobile apps and empower online publishers to go beyond responsive web design and directly engage their mobile users through applications that run directly on the open web.
Results: How have you or do you plan to help media companies increase revenue or cut costs? Can you quantify this?
Here's what most publishers are facing when trying to distribute their apps:
- They start from an average 40% of their website traffic that comes from mobile and tablet devices.
- Out of that, considering an average of 13% click-to-install rate when visiting their website from a mobile device and a further 80% loss in 90 days after install …
- a publisher ends up with tens of thousands of dollars invested, months spent in developing and promoting the application, for a staggering 1% converted into mobile app users from their already existing web traffic.
Any way you slice it, this is a waste of money, time and people. We’re disrupting this inefficient model, empowering online publishers to directly engage their mobile users by vastly simplifying the technical aspects of having an application and eliminating the need for an app store. That easily translates into a significant increase in mobile user engagement, which ultimately means more revenue opportunities for online publishers.
In other words, instead of paying tens of thousand of dollars to build an iOS and Android application only to convert 1% of their already existing mobile user base, we're offering them the ability to be up and running with an application that runs directly on their website, has their desired look and feel, at only a fraction of the cost.
Share some wisdom: What do you think are the most important trends affecting the media business today? What do you see that no one else sees?
What we're doing is also confirmed by latest trends, especially coming from Google: importance of the mobile ranking system in their search algorithm, the purchase of the .app domain extension (the biggest amount ever paid for a top level domain), and the recently launched Android Instant Apps.
We believe that the Mobile Web has the potential to go beyond responsive web design (solving only the screen-size) into something new and exciting, where everything is an app instead of website, where user interactions are more important than just page-views, and ultimately where all apps are interlinked in to a Web of Apps.
What’s Next? How do you plan on expanding or improving on your offering? Where do you see opportunities for growth?
We're expanding our offerings by partnering with the best mobile web app developers out there, enabling them to build rich mobile app experiences directly on the Web and make their apps ready to be used by our publishers. We want to offer content-driven businesses a robust platform, so our focus is to heavily invest in product development, while expanding our content marketing efforts to educate online publishers about their untapped mobile growth potential.