Branded mobile apps – that is apps from companies like Starbucks, eBay or Nike – are now a standard fixture in mobile app stores, but a new survey that user interface design and app development agency EffectiveUI commissioned from Harris Interactive found that 38% of users today are not satisfied with these branded apps. That alone would be bad, but these users are also quite vocal about their experiences and 69% of respondents said that a bad experience with a branded mobile app resulted in a negative perception of the brand as a whole.

Users Want Useful Apps – Not Marketing

EffectiveUI’s Advice for Brands:

  • Focus on the customer need, as well as the business need.
  • Design for the right device: uncover which devices your customers use most.
  • Make sure your feature set fits the mobile experience: Too often, companies try to put the same features in their mobile device as their website.

The problem here is that brands often approach app development without even considering their customers’ needs. Most users, for example, are not interested in apps that are just marketing vehicles for a brand and will leave negative reviews when they encounter such an app. Given the nature of mobile app usage, customers expect to get some value out of the app that is related to the brand and its products.

As Anthony Franco, EffectiveUI’s co-founder and president, told us yesterday, a lot of companies still think of apps as “microsites” and don’t consider that mobile apps have to offer more than just great visuals and good copy. That doesn’t mean that users don’t want good design, too, though. The majority of respondents (57%) noted that apps should be well designed and 74% said that they want apps to be easy to use (leaving us to wonder if there are users out there who want apps that are badly designed and hard to use…). Even more importantly, though, 73% of those surveyed by Harris Interactive think that mobile apps should be easier to use than the brand’s website.