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Being blinkered with doing promotional apps

Being blinkered

Lars Eirich / pixelio.de

At least inside the pharma branch of industry I am working in, there clearly is a preference for iOS devices, iPhones and iPads. Everyone has at least one of those devices in his pocket, if not in his or her hand most of the time. iOS devices are internal corporate if not even industry standard.

Now, I am not going to start an ideological discussion today if this is good or bad, respectively which mobile platform would be the better one. In all pharma companies I was working with so far, iPhone is standard and many people really love it. They are used to it and enjoy it. Having an iPhone in your hands every day is absolutely normal and felt as a matter of course.

And that is where the issue starts.

Because iOS devices are used inside the company like a duck takes to water, they are often also unquestioned as the standard when it comes to developing innovative mobile apps for outside, e.g. for promotional use, for sharing information with target groups, or for communication with stakeholders and multipliers. Meaning, any mobile app for outside the company is inconsiderately expected to look and feel like an iOS app, to work and behave like an iOS app does, to be smoothly working inside an iOS environment, and to be developed by a digital agency selected for being strong with iOS apps, and and and …

But actually, outside the pharma microenvironment, the use and usability of iOS devices is by far not given. In the “normal” world, there are dramatically more Android mobile devices in use. According to Gartner, in 2017 Android had a global market share of 86% compared to 14% for iOS. (other mobile platforms can factually be ignored)

OK, you might say that your audience also has a high affinity for iOS. Yes, sure, might be. But even provided the ratio might be reverse, with more iOS devices owned than average, it will never be 100% and cannot just be taken as granted.

In my case for example, one major audience for our promotional or medical apps are physicians. I dare to say that with physicians you will also find a much higher frequency of iPhones compared to the average population. But in all projects we were facing a considerable number of people which could not be reached by an iOS app. An with another pharma major target group, patients, there you anyhow have to consider the general Gartner figures.


It is obvious that limiting your digital solution to iPhone/iPad …

  1. will exclude a relevant number of people and – depending on your target group – having either a lower or dramatically lower penetrance
  2. will add a certain level of bias to your campaign or project
  3. will substantially limit the success of your initiative

As a result people frequently realize quite late in their mobile app development, that yet an Android version is needed in addition. And this late change misses cost-reducing synergies you have when considering both versions early on.


The solution is easy

Don’t be prejudiced by blinkers, remove the iOS fences in your brain. And with mobile apps

Consider versions for both key mobile platforms, iOS and Android

… as soon as possible in your project. Get rid of the limitation by being focussed on a single mobile platform. And avoid the trap realizing later in your mobile app development, that yet another platform version is needed in addition. With this late change jeopardizing your project milestones as well as missing cost-reducing synergies you might have had when considering both versions early on.

At least do an analysis of the mobile platforms used by your audience

… to early identify the one used by 99% of them. Certainly provided that the target audience of your digital solution is such confined and has such a clear preference for a single platform.

Alternatively consider handing out device+app

… which we did in one of my projects targeting a very small group of users, “SAMS – saccade analysis made simple”, a training tool for medics and paramedics on recognizing ocular motor function deficits. This device+app package approach also has some challenges, but to be addresses separately.


Not limiting yourself to any technology platform will be beneficial for your target group penetration … and your budget.