Mobile Roadie is an app maker designed primarily with musicians and their fans in mind. Even though they note that small businesses, restaurants, authors and even churches are using them too, it’s all in the name really. Mobile Roadie do, of course, have some bragging rights based on their past clients: Taylor Swift, Madonna, One Direction, Red Hot Chili Peppers...the list goes on.
One of the highlights of Mobile Roadie’s offerings is their fan points reward system. The top user in the Taylor Swift app has accrued over one million points! This shows that gamifying your app can have positive effects on user engagement. Although there still doesn’t seem to be any progress from Mobile Roadie on new ways to reward fans for accruing points apart from appearing in the ‘Top 5’ list on the app, and earning ‘badges’.
You can even find some unique location-based features (if you’re willing to cough up $799 a month) such as geo-fencing, allowing you to send push notifications to fans when they enter a designated area. This could be useful if you want to target fans at a particular concert venue, event or even a particular city. Perhaps this would be more useful, though, for bigger retailers who could target shoppers when they get close to their store, for example, whilst also being able to afford the ‘Pro’ price tag. It’s hard to see the cost/benefit of this feature for small bands or businesses though.
Even with the above features, and impressive client list, it’s difficult to look past the flaws with the user interface. The editor is clunky and makes for an awkward user experience and there's no live app previewer available within the editor, something almost all app builders have these days.
While Mobile Roadie aims for the rich and famous, sometimes it falls short. Let's have a look at the good, the bad and the ugly:
Mobile Roadie definitely have some features that very few app builders out there have, such as geo-fencing, advanced polling tools, social camera tools and some robust mapping tools. These features will only be useful to certain types of individuals/businesses though, and they come at a price.
Mobile Roadie have some great tools available to keep your fans returning time and time again through their use of a points rewards system.
With their most basic pricing option starting at $149 per month, this is three times higher than even most ‘Pro’ tiers offered by other app makers. After this it goes straight up to $799 per month for their ‘Pro’ tier. These costs are inhibitive and only allow a certain level of business to take advantage of their service.
Lack of in-editor previewer:
Not being able to see the changes you’re making as you add, and redesign, content (without downloading the mobile viewer and constantly refreshing) makes for an unresponsive and frustrating experience.
Unable to test advanced features:
If Mobile Roadie are offering unique content at a premium price, they really should showcase this to users during their brief 14-day trial period. Unfortunately all the ‘Pro’ content is blocked until you sign up to the ‘Pro’ plan.
Ease of use
It can be frustrating to use this app maker due to the fact that you can’t view your changes in real time. Once you’re in design view you can see the layout on a previewer, but it’s unusable, only showing a static image. In saying that, the build menu is basic but easily navigable, as is adding new sections.
Design, flexibility and templates
The are only a handful of basic, dated designs available. There is minimal flexibility within font choice and menu layout, and changing layouts after adding content often leads to loss of that content and previous settings. This can be annoying if you want to go back to a previous setup after testing out a different design.
The interface is available in 7 languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and Chinese.
Available on both plans.
Available on both plans, with the option of geo-targeted push notifications on the ‘Pro’ plan.
Mobile Roadie’s location-based services are based heavily around their user-generated content, so that you can see where, and when, in the world someone left a comment or perhaps RSVP’d to an event. They also have geo-targeted push notifications, and geo-fencing, allowing users to get notifications when they enter designated areas.
The only option you have is linking to a URL which will then embed a web view of the page on to your app.
RSS feed options
You can add an RSS feed, as well as Google News keywords.
Adding your own HTML code
This feature is not available.
Social media integration
Yes, a few of the basics (although not straightforward to find) but the focus here is mainly on musicians and their fans. This means you have 7 ways of integrating your events via platforms such Eventbrite, BandsInTown and Songkick. It’s niche integration, but there are quite a few options.
Mobile Roadie have a points and badge reward system available for fans/users of the app, further encouraging UGC, community engagement and repeated visits.
This is available via ‘Topspin’, an external newsletter tool specific to the media industry.
This feature is not available.
Not available at present.
This is available on the ‘Pro’ plan.
Mobile app viewer ‘Mobile Roadie Connect’ (aka. MORO Connect). No in-editor previewer available.
Analytics are available on both plans, with the ‘Pro’ plan offering advanced and push analytics.
There is an online knowledge base with brief answers and a unused community section. You can also send questions to support. They responded relatively quickly, yet the intent was more marketing-based rather than support-based with non-specific responses. It’s worth noting that their blog has some interesting articles which may be more useful than their knowledge base.
Creating an app with Mobile Roadie is a bit more of a chore than some other app makers.
Mobile Roadie is an interesting, and potentially powerful, app-making platform. The problem is that musicians, and other artists, often can’t afford a service as expensive as this. Mobile Roadie do offer some advanced features, yet for the price you pay their product should be much better.
Mobile Roadie seem to have some powerful features available to app makers, yet it can be difficult for beginners to harness, or even understand, just exactly what’s available. This comes from a combination of non-intuitive user design, restricted access to features, and videos that are more marketing-focused rather than tutorial-based.
Perhaps Mobile Roadie are aiming for the mid-market app creators out there? So if you have quite a bit of disposable income, or you are a mid-size business, then you could give Mobile Roadie a try. But for individuals and artists even the cheapest plan is quite steep at $149 per month. If you are in the former group, then it’s probably best to get straight in touch with their marketing team, as that is where support directed my enquiries.
Mobile Roadie are a potentially interesting platform, as they really focus (or have done in the past) on the niche of musician fan apps. But it’s difficult not to feel like they’re trailing behind in a few areas when you compare them with the current app maker market.
Yes, you can do it easily from the backend. Just make sure to leave at least 72 hours before the next payment cycle.
You can do this by directly emailing Mobile Roadie support, or change it from inside of your backend. This works for both upgrading and downgrading, with no additional charges involved.