Mobile App ROI: The Net Worth of Different App Ideas in the Enterprise

A question we regularly receive from prospects and potential clients is “how can we measure the ROI of apps?”, or “is it possible to calculate the true ROI of mobile apps?”

It’s definitely one of the biggest concerns people tend to have when thinking of adopting a new technology. Luckily, measuring ROI for such an omnipresent channel is not too difficult, but it does require a couple of things to take place in advance:

  1. You must have an idea of your business case or uses for your app

It’s important to realise that mobile apps can be introduced to improve many different business processes. By now, you will have identified a use case (or use cases) that you’d like to focus on. That’s the first step, because the ROI of your app will be calculated relative to it’s purpose.

  1. You must have an idea of what success looks like to your business

In parallel with your business case, you need to decide what a successful business case will look like to you and your organization. Consider the question:

“In the scenario that everything goes to plan, what does it look like, and how will we measure that success?”

A perfect example of how your organization could approach this is to use a hypothetical law firm as a guide. Many law firms we’ve worked with have measured the success of their mobile apps based on:

  • Number of hours of partner time saved on a weekly basis
  • Number of new conversations started with prospective clients
  • Number of queries coming through the app itself
  • Amount of media exposure gained from apps
  • Print and shipping costs saved (usually event apps)
  • Hours of productivity gained from employees
  • Competitive advantage gained over competitors

These metrics can then be applied to relevant app use cases and used to determine what the potential ROI of the app would be. This is exactly what we’ve done below.

We put together some practical scenarios where the ROI of specific app types is calculated based on what an organization might consider important in each situation.

Mobile App ROI Ftd

Reference/marketing apps

More conversations = new business

The ROI of a marketing or reference app will largely depend on how much a new client or an upsell is worth to your company. For example, your average deal size might be $100,000. If a marketing or reference app only managed to start two new conversations and turn those into new clients, that would be a net gain of $200,000 (which, by the way, is 100x the current cost per app for the average Fliplet user!)

Media exposure

But that’s not where ROI would stop for this particular app. An added example where marketing or reference apps can show real ROI is through media attention and exposure. For our clients in the legal industry, for example, the estimated cost of being published on national legal publications hovers around $10,000.

Marketing or reference apps are still quite a novelty and often generate interest from the media. A common scenario is for firms to receive coverage from three (or more) of these media outlets. That’s essentially ROI of $30,000.

Event apps

Printing and shipping savings

With event apps it’s easy to calculate time and money savings as you’re able to correlate the app’s performance against your current event process.

For example, a client of ours estimated that the printing and shipping costs for agendas of a large annual event was approximately $20,000. By using an app this cost was reduced to literally zero from that year onwards. And let’s not forget that apps are also far more environmentally friendly.

Productivity gains

Not only are the financial benefits clear, you’ll also see:

  • Employee time saved as they don’t have to send follow-up emails with surveys or questionnaires for feedback.
  • Employee time saved as they don’t have to send follow-up emails with the event’s presentations.
  • Less time spent on updating or changing event materials before printing (live app updates are available at all times)

Collect more data

One of the main reasons why companies use apps for events is the potential to collect vast amounts of data from attendees. The ability for organizations to ask users questions before, during or after an event means they’re able to generate large amounts of high-quality, real-time information.

Rather than using email or paper-based surveys to gather feedback on the event, organizations can use apps to capture data in minutes after the event.

Competitive advantage

Lastly, there’s also an element of competitive advantage in play when considering ROI. Attendees now have an expectation that events will be supported by a mobile app, especially if you work within a fairly modern industry.

Events with mobile apps help your attendees feel like they gained more value for their attendance: they get to network more effectively, get their materials instantly and make the most of their event.

Partner support apps

These are currently a trending app type within the professional services industry. They allow partners to see key information about clients or prospects before they meet them.

Time savings for partners

If a partner support app saved just one hour of partner time per month, and you had 200 partners, that would represent an annual saving of $750,000 (this assumes each partner charges about $250 per hour).

More efficient partners

Better prepared partners and fee earners are more impressive and confident in their relationship with customers. This is the very premise of the best CRM systems – put it all into an app and the ROI could be vast.

Pitching apps

When it comes to pitching and proposals, differentiation is key. Pitching apps would allow you to stand out from your competition, punch above your weight, and impress tech-savvy prospects. Using pitching apps could potentially gain your firm millions in extra business.

Additionally, you’re giving the impression that you’re ahead of the curve and more engaged with your clients needs than your competitors.

Cross selling apps

Cross selling apps are a kind of employee app that is created to empower staff with key information about your company’s products and services. The information is presented in at-a-glance screens, and enable everyone to cross and upsell more efficiently. Think of these apps as giving everyone the ability to carry company brochures with them at all times.

If you’re successful at distributing these apps in your company and encouraging their use, you could easily gain a few extra clients a year.

Other employee apps

Clients of Fliplet are quite good at proliferating their employee apps – some apps cater only to a few departments and help them report their successes or keep track of projects. Some other apps are company-wide, like company directory apps, mobile intranet apps, or IT Support apps.

Internal efficiencies

We could get fairly mathematical with this example, but you’ll need to know your own figures. For example, Company X has 3,000 employees. If the average employee earns $30/hour, and you manage to save 10 hours of each employee’s time every year, that’s a net gain of $900,000.

To add to the above, one study showed that when employees are empowered with mobile, they work an extra 365 hours every year. For Company X, that would mean $1,095,000 of extra productivity.

At the end of the day, ROI in mobile is about your app ideas and how effective you are at implementing them – but don’t go spending too much before you have a good proof of concept. We’ve heard of several companies who spent hundreds of thousands in app ideas that never saw the light.

If you’d like to try your app ideas before you go full-steam, try Fliplet! Its unlimited app model is ideal for large enterprises seeking to try different ideas.