The Consumer Shift to Mobile Apps over Desktop Websites
Our clients often ask us, “Why should I invest in a mobile app? Why shouldn’t my company just focus on a nice, desktop-friendly website that will engage my audience and fall well within my marketing budget?”
The reality is this – 80 percent of today’s Internet users own a smartphone, and apps account for a whopping 89% of mobile media time. This means that your audience – no matter what industry you are in, or which product or service you sell – is accessing a large portion of their media communication via smartphone or tablet.
This is the first and foremost reason why you should invest in a mobile app, in addition to a home base – providing your users with a multi-screen friendly website that optimizes for desktop, smartphone and tablet.
It’s not that large brands like Facebook do not need a desktop site – it’s still a crucial component of every digital marketing strategy – and that won’t change in 2016. However, the scale is now tipping, and the real you should ask yourself is, “Using Facebook as a laboratory experiment, would their brand survive today without a mobile app?”.
We’d argue – Not a chance.
Facebook, and its counterparts, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, survive because of their mobile app – and because every user can stay in tune to its platforms’ communities via their mobile phone at any time of the day. Big brands like Instagram and Vine wouldn’t have made it without a mobile app –their mobile apps are at the heart of their existence, due to easy sharing.
The Power of Mobile
Still unconvinced? Here are a few stats you may want to tuck in your back pocket for 2016:
- Over 67 percent of consumers use a smartphone to check their email, and 42.3 percent use a tablet to do so.
- Half of unique LinkedIn visitors access its brand via mobile.
- LinkedIn users spend 26 percent of their time with its brand on its mobile app.
- This year, mobile ad spending is expected to amount to $68.69 billion globally, while in 2016, mobile ad spend will exceed spend in desktop formats.
- This year’s Black Friday sales pulled in $583 million in sales via mobile app, and on Thanksgiving Day, mobile sales generated $639 million. Tablets drove 15 percent of those sales.
- If you stack mobile app usage vs. mobile web usage, time spent on apps is 86 percent compared to 14 percent for mobile web.
- 85 percent of American young adults own a smartphone, and 34 percent have used their phone to find a job.
Mobile is undoubtedly taking over as the most popular way to view online content. This is not only apparent in our social lives, but it’s also crystal clear in the statistical data above.
How, then, do you know if your company needs to invest in both a mobile app and a responsive website? Perhaps you would serve better with one or the other?
Use these rules of thumb to decide whether your brand is more like Facebook, Instagram, or maybe somewhere in between:
- Is your product an interactive online game like Candy Crush, Hearthstone, or Angry Birds? An app is likely your best option. You’ll probably want at least a landing page, if not a full-fledged responsive website, to compliment your game app.
- Is your goal to offer mobile-friendly content to as wide of an audience possible on a modest budget? For the near future, you may want to consider a website first, before an app.
- Are you willing to spend the kind of budget that app creation and maintenance will realistically take? App professionals say, if you don’t have at least $10,000 to budget over the lifetime of the app, reconsider your strategy.
We advise you to use this primer as a guide to your considerations for your brand’s 2016 digital marketing strategy. After a careful review, talk to your app and web developer about your brand’s buyer personas and preferences, in order to make an informed, collective decision on the best development strategy for you.
Ultimately, the most important consideration is your customer. Which avenue provides the most accessible way for him or her to access your brand and its product and services? Is your website and/or app making the access of your products and services easier, or harder on your customer? With the end user’s interests in mind, and a marketing budget in place – you can create a winning strategy with your app and web designer for 2016.
So – you’ve built a beautiful, innovative, user-friendly, crispy speed fiend of a mobile app – and you’re ready to start signing up some users! But wait – do you have an actual plan for new user onboarding?
If you are a business owner at the helm of your company’s branding and marketing strategies, you may feel as if your digital products (like your app, software products, and company website) are sending you full tilt into uncharted business territory.
The testing phase of the mobile app design process is one of the most crucial parts of an app developer’s work – for both short term and long term success in the profession. In fact, the testing phase is as vital as the development and design of the application itself. If you rush through the testing phase and launch an app before its ready, it may become a failure that your client – and your reputation – don’t recover from.