The next matchup on our fight card of the heavyweights of app building is between AppMakr and iBuildApp. We’ve already seen some impressive showdowns; some app builders barely scraped by with the win, while others beat out their opponent with ease. It’s difficult to say, as of now, how these two competitors will compare. Will we witness another down-to-the-wire nailbiter or a knockout?

Remember, the purpose of the Best App Makers Showdown series is to compare and contrast the qualities that make an excellent app maker and see how each service out there stacks up to one another. These five must-have components are ease of use, design and flexibility, social media integration, features, and support. Using these as our criteria, we’ll be able to determine which of these two app builders, AppMakr or iBuildApp, delivers the best experience and final product.

This series is important because there are so many DIY app builders on the market now, with more coming each day. For a business on a budget, it is important to know which of these mobile development solutions actually delivers on the promise of a low-cost, easy-to-build app that looks and feels like a professionally made product. After all, as important as mobile development is right now, it is something you don’t want to get wrong. Having an underwhelming app is just as bad as having none at all. It may even be worse.

If you are a fan of this series, you know how these showdowns work. If you are new, however, we are going to go through five rounds, one for each of the characteristics listed above. At the end of each round, we’ll decide which app builder has the edge. After the five rounds, we’ll tally up the round wins and determine who the victor is. Let’s get started!

 

Round 1: Ease of Use

Businesses turn to app builders as a cost-efficient means to create a mobile app. These services are more affordable because they don’t require the in-depth knowledge of coding, programming, and design that a traditional, built-from-scratch mobile app does. Thus, many of the best app builders need very little prior knowledge of mobile development. That said, you can also have a phenomenal app builder that does require some training, but they should have the tools ready to deliver that education to the user (through blogs, video tutorials, etc.).

When you first open AppMakr’s editor, it prompts you with a name for your app and asks you to provide a URL to your business’ website. From there, it automatically grabs pictures, logos and other content from your website, which makes it easy to then insert those items into the layout of your app. AppMakr’s creations are compatible across all of the major platforms (Android, iPhone iOS, Windows) and what’s even better is that you don’t have to optimize every change you make for each platform individually; AppMakr does this for you. The one drawback is that some users have complained about the builder being a little slow, with each added feature/component requiring a small pause to load into the app.

iBuildApp’s ease of use has ups and downs. In the positive, it has an integrated content management system that makes adding new features, content and other media a drag-and-drop breeze. So, even the biggest mobile development greenhorn can use the product. If you have a little more experience, you can also access the source code, which allows for greater versatility in editing your apps. Similar to AppMakr, iBuildApp also lets you pull content from your existing website by providing a URL. Now, it is time for the downs. First, when adding pictures or graphics to the app’s layout, there is little-to-no assistance in sizing the images, which means you are going to be tinkering with the image’s dimensions until you get it just right. Second, some users cite that the “preview” option, doesn’t display the app correctly. You may think you’ve got it all set to go, hit publish and then find that the app looks different than promised and you have to go back to tinker mode.

Round Winner: AppMakr – while AppMakr may have some inconvenient pauses caused by slow load times, you are going to spend a lot more time tinkering in frustration with image sizes, bad previews and other features of iBuildApp.

 

Round 2: Design and Flexibility

One of the biggest problems that plague DIY apps is it ‘s hard to make an app that is unique and your own. You are limited to a finite number of templates and design options, which means it is possible to develop an app that accidentally mirrors a competitor’s mobile offering. To cut down on this potential risk, the best app makers offer a lot of templates. Not only does this mean you have more design options, but it also means there are lot more possibilities and thereby more opportunities to make an app that nears the land of uniqueness.

If this were 2015, AppMakr would hit the canvas at the very beginning of this round because they didn’t offer any templates. They only offered simplistic background images. Luckily, it isn’t 2015 anymore, and this app builder now delivers 12 different template designs. Many of these templates are structured for a particular type of business. For example, AppMakr has multiple templates that are intended to be used for a religious institution, while they have other, distinct templates for a restaurant. They also use different design styles for how the user navigates the app, which adds functionality and also another element to the appearance of your app, which helps it feel distinct from other, competing apps.

iBuildApp doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the design and flexibility of their app builder. They have a whopping 144 templates to choose from. You would be hard pressed to find another DIY mobile development solution that brings this many design and template options to the table. The templates are divided into different categories based on the type of app you are looking to create. And, if somehow you don’t find something in this sea of options that you like, iBuildApp has the possibility for users to upload their own background and then adjust the layout and features from there. It is also worth mentioning that because iBuildApp lets users access the source code, there is an additional layer of flexibility offered by this app builder, as manipulating the source code creates many opportunities for customization.

Round Winner: iBuildApp – you just can’t compete with 144 different templates. That said, AppMakr deserves a round of applause for how much effort they’ve put into improving themselves recently.

 

Round 3: Social Media Integration

Social media integration is an essential dimension of mobile apps. Chances are, you are going to use your social media pages to get the word out about your app, so it makes sense to integrate the two. But the benefits don’t stop there. Social media integration allows for in-app sharing, which, given how popular these channels are, significantly increases how much use your app gets (and usage often leads to more downloads). Essentially, social media integration is a must-haves for mobile apps.

AppMakr hits the primary targets with their social media integration. You can include buttons that send users to your respective Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram sites. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options beyond this. Some app builders offer a ton of social media integration and even include niche channels that, while less popular universally, may be popular with certain customer groups. That said, they do have some features that allow for communication to take place within that app, which gives a similar experience to social media.

Similarly, iBuildApp doesn’t particularly go above and beyond the call for social media integration either. They hit the major players, but it isn’t clear if they allow for integration of less-known social media channels. Again, this might not worry you if you only use Facebook, Twitter and so on, but if you are using a social media channel like Tumblr or Flickr, you might find it hard to bring those less common networks into the fold of your mobile app.

Round Winner: Even – neither app builder offers much social media integration beyond the usual players. It is hard to give either side the ‘W’ for this round.

 

Round 4: Features

Apart from social media integration, today’s mobile apps are expected to deliver a broad range of features. These features improve an app’s usage and help encourage customers to be active users of the app, not just one-timers. In other words, features are how users see value in an app, which ultimately leads to them downloading, using and keeping that app on their devices. For brands, many of these features have benefits beyond just stimulating more downloads. For example, an in-app loyalty program helps improve client retention. Or, location-based push notifications help alert customers to deals or store locations that they might not have otherwise discovered.

AppMakr brings a lot of features to the table. Even its cheaper, basic plan doesn’t hold much back. As mentioned earlier, these apps allow for communication and comments to take place inside the app. This allows users to share experiences, answer one another’s questions and much more. There’s even a live chat option so that you can talk to your users directly through the app. It also allows users to message one another if you enable this feature. Aside from communication, AppMakr also delivers on location-based push notifications, an eCommerce catalog that can link to your existing website’s store or even an Ebay account and much more. One feature of AppMakr’s that stands out is the “Classifieds.” Leveraging their strong community-based chat functions, the classifieds allow people to share their own private advertisements for local business, odds jobs needing to be done, etc.

iBuildApp has some the same features as AppMakr, like geo-located push notifications and an eCommerce platform. However, iBuildApp doesn’t just link shoppers to a website store but has a shopping cart feature, which allows in-app purchases to be made. One area where iBuildApp stands out above AppMakr is by giving developers the ability to create an app-based loyalty program. These reward programs are very effective at convincing customers to return again and again. Unfortunately, some of these features are only available if you step up and invest in one of their more expensive price plans.

Round Winner: Even – this is a hard round to score. AppMakr stands out because it includes most of its features in their most basic price plan, but their lack of an app-based loyalty program is troubling. Meanwhile, iBuildApp includes the loyalty program, but you have to buy into one of their advanced packages to get it.

 

Round 5: Support

As intuitive and user-friendly as many of these app builders are (or at least claim to be), that doesn’t mean they are utterly void of all problems. As we know with any tool or service, sometimes things don’t quite go as planned. Regarding app building, this could mean an error is preventing you from finishing the creation of your mobile experience or, even worse, an issue that causes users to be unable to use the app. In either case, your chosen app builder needs to have an ace support team ready to fix these errors and solve any crises that you may come across.

One way that app builders deliver a high level of assistance is through helpful resources on their website, like a Frequently Asked Questions section or a knowledge center that is full of blog content, video tutorials and more. AppMakr delivers on this end of the support spectrum for the most part. The only negative is most of their content is blogs, instead of videos. Their website features live chat support, which helps get a more immediate answer to a problem. For even faster support, they also supply a phone number. If you can stand to wait and don’t like the concept of live chat support, they also have a contact form that you can submit and detail your problem. From there, a representative will reply via email.

iBuildApps offers a little more in their knowledge center. Not only do they have helpful step-by-step guides, but also a YouTube channel full of helpful videos. They even have a community forum where developers can come together to discuss topics and answer one another’s question. While they don’t offer their phone number for immediate contact like AppMakr, they do offer live chat support on their website and the same contact form submission. Their live chat is quick to respond and will either help you directly or send you to the right resources to answer your questions.

Round Winner: iBuildApps – even though they don’t have a phone-based helpline, their knowledge center is much more robust and includes a wide range of content and tutorials. In most cases, you’ll be able to answer your question on your own.

And the Winner Is…

It was close, but iBuildApps managed to get the victory. With these two app builders drawing even in rounds three and four, it only took iBuildApps two wins to beat out AppMakr. Plus, they had a huge landslide win in the Design and Flexibility round. That said, neither of these app builders is without fault and both are actively working towards improving their platforms.

AppMakr, in particular, has made some significant strides over the last two years. If this showdown were to have taken place in 2015, the outcome wouldn’t have changed, but AppMakr certainly would have lost by a much bigger margin. They’ve made big improvements to their support staff, many of their features and the overall functionality of their app builder.

If they continue on this trajectory, iBuildApps might not be so fortunate in a future showdown.