“From videos to music to maps, digital was at the forefront of consumers’ (and marketers’) minds this year.” Whether or not the wellness industry is ready for it, everything is going digital/mobile, and simply having a mobile app is not enough. Thanks to Nielsen’s year-end review, the wellness industry can learn from the top apps of 2015, which are depicted below.
The first thing one should notice is that three companies (Facebook, Google, and Apple) manage all the apps in the top 10. Why do these companies manage individual apps rather than creating a consolidated platform? The short answer is that the comapnies realized that app usage is designed to be focused, which caused a great unbundling of their features into separate apps. At one point, Facebook had a messaging tool in their app, and then they forced users to install Messenger in spring 2014 by ripping out chat from its main app. Facebook also includes pictures, but they allow a picture-focused app (Instagram) grow and operate separately. Facebook learned unbundling apps drive engagement. Users want focused experiences.
Focusing on consumerism through unbundling is the takeaway for wellness vendors and for those evaluating them. The goal is often engagement, and although both groups recognize the potential of mobile and digital technologies, the belief is that consolidated, comprehensive mobile experiences are the way to go. There are too many vendors trying to build a single mobile experience around their entire product, and this is goes against everything consumers like about mobile apps. If they really want to have a successful mobile experience, employers and wellness companies should unbundle their solutions into distinct mobile apps.
Rather, we think the better approach is to leverage what is already happening in the consumer market and incorporate that into an employee wellness experience. We call this a consumer wellness strategy. The goal is still engagement, but it is delivered through consumer solutions that are already unbundled. The best example of unbundling in the consumer wellness market is through activity and nutrition trackers. The most popular activity trackers are different from the most popular nutrition trackers, despite many of them offering solutions for both. Consumers have chosen the best of breed apps and devices for their wellness needs, and by embracing and empowering consumerism, employers can deliver better wellness solutions at lower costs.