Best App Makers Showdown: ShoutEm vs GoodBarber

 

In the blue corner, hailing all the way from the island of Corsica and boasting a range of beautiful app templates – GoodBarber. And, in the red corner, from Brooklyn, New York, the app builder on a mission to make mobile development affordable for all – ShoutEm. That’s right; it’s another ‘Best App Maker Showdown’ to continue our quest to find the very best, heavyweight champion of app builders.

This, mind you, is no easy task. Mobile development is the topic on everyone’s mind, and businesses are climbing over one another to be the first on the block with a shiny, new app to offer its customers. To meet this demand, the number of mobile app builders seems to just multiply overnight. There’s a new one hitting the marketplace all the time, and each one is looking to make a name for themselves and seize the crown as the best app builder in the biz.

The purpose of this article, and others like it, is to look at the essential qualities and specialties of each maker and compare and contrast to ultimately determine a winner of the showdown. Specifically, we’ll focus our gaze on some of the essential qualities of app builders: ease of use, design, and flexibility, social media integration, features (location-based services, loyalty programs, E-commerce, etc.) and support. Each of these five characteristics will have its own round and discussion. At the conclusion of each round, we’ll decide on a winner for the given category, before picking an overall victor at the end.

The bell rings and fight night is underway.

 

 

Round 1: Ease of Use

Most businesses developing apps today cannot afford the high costs of a design and development agency or even hiring an in-house developer. Instead, they are more likely to opt for a less expensive consultant to lean on when they need advice or help. Thus, app builders need to be relatively straightforward to use, while simultaneously delivering on the promise of a high-quality, professional-looking final product. Balancing these two objectives is difficult and getting it right take a lot of tinkering and some reliance on the user having some understanding of mobile development.

ShoutEm, like many of the other app builders, is trying to change the notion that mobile development is a luxury only for companies with deep budgets and specializes team members. Their price ($49/mo for the good stuff) is pretty average for builders and definitely affordable – no Scrooge McDuck swimming pools of money necessary. However, parts of the maker aren’t very easy to use. Even adding additional features, which should be one of the most common and repeatable tasks during app building, is a somewhat complicated process. Most users and reviewers highly suggest taking advantage of the video tutorial library before you sit down to construct your mobile experience. In other words, it’s not out-of-the-box accessible.

On the other side of the ring in the GoodBarber corner, the story is different. The Corsican app builder prides itself on being easy to use. The interface and design experience, from a builder’s standpoint, is very intuitive. They offer step-by-step guidance inside the builder, so you are never lost as to what your next step should be. Plus, you can add other collaborators onto the project. So, if you’re working with a freelancer or consultant, it’s easy to add him or her to the project and let them see first hand what you are working on.

Round Winner: GoodBarber – it’s an easy win because of how lackluster the user experience of ShoutEm is, but GoodBarber’s ease of use would give most app builders a challenge to beat.

 

 

Round 2: Design and Flexibility

One of the unique challenges that come with using an app builder, instead of building an app from scratch, is making the end product look not only professional but also unlike anything else being created. When you consider that these DIY software solutions only have a limited number of templates and design options, while also having thousands of people and businesses using them to develop apps, you begin to see how difficult this challenge can be. Thus, some of the best app builders are the ones that offer many different design options to increase the greater likelihood of creating an app that is totally unique.

When it comes to design, ShoutEm offers only a modest eight unique templates. The upside is that these templates are clean, professional and very well designed. The downside is the lack of options. To make the app unique, you really have to get under the hood and poke around. Luckily, there are a lot of internal design options that make it possible to morph one of the starting eight templates into something truly unique. For more advanced users, ShoutEm allows access to the CSS editor, which a lot of app builders bar users from using. This actually creates the opportunity to make the app super unique, but it does require someone with knowledge of CSS coding and programming.

GoodBarber, in the opposing corner, throws some heavy punches when it comes to their app designs. The look and appearance of their apps are actually where this app builder focuses most of its attention. While other apps focus on having tons of features, GoodBarber cares about looking good. They offer more than 50 templates, and each one has numerous additional options to control the colors, fonts, and layouts of every section. Thanks to the vast number of choices and superior flexibility in creation that GoodBarber offers, their apps are some of the most visually stunning and unique products on the market.

Round Winner: GoodBarber – There’s nothing inherently wrong with ShoutEm’s approach to design, but with only eight templates to choose from, the user really has a lot of work on their plate if they want to make a unique app. When you factor in GoodBarber’s dedication to the look and design of their apps, it is another easy win.

 

 

Round 3: Social Media Integration

One of the most popular steps of developing mobile apps is to integrate them with your brand’s social media channels. This achieves many key objectives: it makes your mobile experience more expansive for customers, it makes it easy for the word to get out on social media, it encourages users to follow your social media accounts, the ROI is very easily measured and more. With all of these big upsides, it is important to examine how these app builders tackle social media integration.

Similar to how GoodBarber focuses its attention on design, ShoutEm spent a lot of time developing their social media integration features. They offer easy integration to all of the big names: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And, there’s a few more niche-specific social media integration options, such as EventBrite for events or SongKick for music. You can even connect podcasts or digital radio stations. ShoutEm takes it one step further and lets app users connect to their social media accounts right inside the app and then comment and post on mobile content. This is an experience unique to ShoutEm, and some of the businesses using this app builder have managed to create quite the mobile community because of it.

GoodBarber also ensures that their apps connect to all the major Social Media players. The app builder leverages a couple other less-popular video and photo hosting services, which opens up the door for greater content diversity and a more engaging experience. That said, there isn’t much else offered in the way of social media integration with GoodBarber. They hit the major spots and do what’s expected of an app builder, but don’t go above and beyond like ShoutEm.

Round Winner: ShoutEm – Again, GoodBarber’s social media integration efforts aren’t lacking in any way. ShoutEm just offers a lot more.

 

 

Round 4: Features

Whether you are an app builder, an app user or both, you know that features are the bread and butter to any mobile experience. Most app builders hit the major and expected features: E-commerce, loyalty/rewards program, push notifications, etc. This is similar to how most builders offer the same major social media platforms for integration. Thus, the app builders that go above and beyond, as ShoutEm did in the previous round, and offer features that are entirely unique are often the ones that stand out in the marketplace.

One of ShoutEm’s biggest standout features is their loyalty program. It is a two-pronged effort that allows a brand to create both customizable, app-special deals and discounts AND a point-earning system for check-ins and other actions. The loyalty program integrates nicely with their big social media focus. The app builder’s location-based services and push notifications have the ability to work in tandem, offering special, segmented notifications based on where the user is. The least appealing feature for ShoutEm is their E-Commerce platform. Currently, they only offer two options: connection to an existing Shopify account or a catalogue-type layout. Unfortunately, this catalog design doesn’t allow for purchases inside the mobile app and instead links users to the brand’s existing website store.

Even though GoodBarber’s primary focus is on the look of their apps, they definitely do not slack on the features. They do, however, face similar problems with their E-Commerce offerings. They allow integration to Shopify, Amazon, and Etsy, but that’s where the train stops. There’s no option for a catalog, like with ShoutEm. Past the E-Commerce, GoodBarber offers the opportunity to create push notifications and reward options based on user location. The only drawback is some of these features require you to upgrade to one of GoodBarber’s more expensive pricing plans.

Round Winner: Even – This was a tough round to judge. Neither competitor really delivers a great platform of features. They each have their issues, especially in the E-Commerce department, as well as their advantages with location-based rewards and notifications.

 

 

Round 5: Support

Support is an essential component to app builders. Despite how DIY these solutions are, issues are still an inevitable part of developing a mobile experience for your customers. To resolve these problems, app builders need to have a dedicated staff ready to tackle any obstacles and answer questions. Additionally, the mobile industry is a rapidly evolving one. So, app builders need to also offer resources on emerging trends and how to make the most out of their build tools.

ShoutEm has both an expansive collection of online articles and videos and also a great, responsive support staff. Considering the unorthodox and complex approach that ShoutEm’s builder takes, as we discussed in Round 1, these tutorials, especially the videos, are very helpful and necessary to understand this mobile development tool fully. While this app builder only has email support, the response time is pretty quick, and their customer service staff is knowledgeable and thorough with their replies.

GoodBarber produces a lot of good blog content that covers both how to use their builder, including tips and helpful shortcuts, and also emerging mobile trends affecting how apps are being built. If questions or issues arise during development, questions can be sent to GoodBarber’s online support staff. The downside is that they have a smaller customer service team than some other app builders, which means, if they have a high traffic of questions, it could take some time for them to get to your request. Nothing is worse than having a major problem with your app and having to wait and wait for a response. That said, once you do get ahold of one of their support staff members, they are very helpful and will work diligently to resolve the issue.

Round Winner: ShoutEm – The real decider of this round was the long response times by GoodBarber’s support staff. Even though their online resources are plentiful and very helpful, this can be a huge problem if you are having a crisis and need to wait for help for hours or longer for assistance.

 

 

And the Winner Is…

As we look at the rounds, these two app builders are even. GoodBarber came out swinging and clobbered ShoutEm in the first two rounds, but lost their momentum after the third round loss. This allowed ShoutEm to battle back. After a draw in the penultimate round, ShoutEm claimed the last round for a virtual tie. This makes it hard not to see this one ending with a split decision.

These two app builders have very different and distinct approaches. ShoutEm focuses on social media integration, while GoodBarber cares most about the look of their apps. Because of these very different approaches, it is hard to say one is better than the other. For a brand looking to develop their first app, you have to consider which of these approaches best suits the goals and objectives of your mobile marketing plan.

Additionally, it is worth some consideration that ShoutEm’s builder is a little more complicated to use. If you aren’t a very tech-savvy individual, it may be better and safer to choose GoodBarber because of its superior ease of use.

Ultimately, no one likes a draw, and a winner has to be chosen. As close as it is, GoodBarber’s wins in the first and second rounds were much bigger wins than ShoutEm’s later victories. In other words, ShoutEm’s really lacking in the ease of use and design/flexibility categories. Meanwhile, GoodBarber’s social media and integration efforts aren’t terrible; they just are subpar compared to ShoutEm. The winner is GoodBarber.