Scrap the App


The Home Screen on your smartphone hosts some of the most sought after prime real estate available in the modern world. Whether you’re a folder’s kinda person or not, a “20, 16 or 12 icon screener”, widget or without, by and large the vast majority of smartphone Home Screens look surprisingly alike.

From the screenshot below, my home screen is a mix of function (WhatsApp, banking, image gallery, taxi, maps) and social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) and entertainment (Shazam, Spotify, Soundcloud, The Journal) etc. Granted, I am one of the most “basic bitches” you’ll come across, there will be a similar icon set appearing on 99% of the Home Screens across the country. How many of your apps match these?

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You can actually decipher a person’s personality by the apps they keep on their Home Screen’s first page – people who keep QR code readers there are serial killers, people with dating apps are desperate, and people who keep image editing apps are too busy admiring themselves to give shit about what you think. But we’re not getting into the psychology of that today, are we? Are we???

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In the early days of iTunes App Store and Android Play Store, apps were downloaded and installed with aplomb – gaming, image editing and magazine apps were picked up and dropped at every whim. As we grew more accustomed to this digital world the novelty eventually wore off, whilst the big platforms’ abilities widened and strengthened their case for prime positioning.

Disrupters and functional apps like Hailo/Uber, Deliveroo/Just-Eat and the “Big 5” social media giants reigned supreme – and they still do, with a few contenders appearing and disappearing along the way.

If you’re brand manager or a marketer who for some reason is thinking of adding an app to your communications portfolio… don’t, just don’t. Figure out the best way to do the same job by creating a digital ecosystem that exists without one. If you want to do AR – utilise a creator platform that exists already. VR experiences take up huge amounts of memory and all are all encompassing, so you’ll need a marketing budget bigger than a blockbuster movie to get people involved. Rewards apps for your favourite supermarket might be an exception with continuous incentive, but it’s a stretch, and as a whole, we as marketers need to scrap the idea of standalone apps. “Scrap the App” you’ll shout from the office rooftop and delight that you’ve saved time and money for everyone involved, including your target audience. As we’ve mentioned before; keeping your user journey as short, streamlined and concise as possible is vital to your campaign growth. Obvious, yes. But the trend has started to creep back in now that people want to investigate AR/VR campaigns.

Are we clear?

Good. Good hustle.

Now, if you really need to scratch that app download itch, here are two totally unrelated ones we recommend;

  • Pixaloop. You’ve probably seen the Instagram led promotion of this app or countless influencers posting basically cinemagraph style images where the clouds are floating by or rivers look like they’re flowing as the focal point in the picture stays still. Well, it’s actually kinda fun. While a lot of the filters etc come at an added cost there’s enough in the free download to help you more than raise your content game. It’s incredibly user-friendly too, providing you with an easy way of garnering that social validation you so crave.


  • Seek. Seek by iNaturalist is basically Vivino for nature. If you don’t know what Vivino is then I’m not sure we can be friends anymore. Okay, we’ll call it ‘Shazam for nature’ so. Seek uses the same multi-point image recognition to determine what animal, plant, or insect you’re looking at. Simply point the camera at the plant and you’ll instantly be told the difference between your Peace Lilies and your Cornstalk Dracenas. For the outdoorsy types among you it has collector’s challenges and badges to collect, gamifying the whole experience. For the rest of you, back to Vivino, ammarite?!


- GC

Gavin Coffey