Mobile rule number one: don’t confuse the medium with the method. Just because you can access a mobile website with a mobile device, it doesn’t mean that your mobile channel is ‘sorted’. There are a number of reasons why not.
Mobile Apps are Preferred
If you were to poll how many people with Facebook accounts visited the Facebook website on their mobile devices instead of using an App, then you’d not be surprised to learn that it is less than 1% of all users.
Of course, Facebook work very hard should anyone arrive at their site with a smartphone or tablet to ‘turn them’ into an app user so that is one of the reasons why the numbers are so high.
But, the more pertinent questions why does Facebook work so hard to get people to download their apps? There are many reasons, but some of the main ones include knowing that their apps are preferred, more used, easier to manage and, ultimately, more engaging for their users. As they are ‘native’ on the device, they can also integrate with cameras, GPS and other settings to make the entire experience more cohesive.
Mobile App Users are More Loyal
According to Adobe’s Digital Index 2013, tablet users spend four times longer in a mobile app than on a mobile website, and smartphone users spend two and a half times longer using apps than mobile websites.
This data is not that surprising, even the best mobile site is only a ‘back button’ away from being exited and if is it a mobile representation of a website, it will often contain compromises in layout and content which limits the attractiveness and customisation for the mobile user.
Mobile Apps Sit on Your Clients’ Device
We mentioned the term ‘native’ earlier in this post, what this means is that once an app is downloaded, unless the user specifically wants to remove the app from their device, it remains on the device for their lifetime.
This means that, rather than the user needing to open a browser, search for your services or brand name, find the search results and then access your website, they can just click on your icon. Just a finger touch away, no typing, no searching, lower barriers. Easier, isn’t it?
Furthermore, by being on your own device, a well planned app should not need a data connection to be accessible. Which not only saves on bandwidth, but also means that the customer can access when travelling, particularly on aircraft.
Push Messaging is Cheaper than Mobile Advertising
The other big challenge for reaching mobile users is that the cost of advertising to them isn’t much cheaper than online. So if you want to drive traffic to a website then you will need to pay for clicks, emails or whatever means you choose to get them to your website. Whereas, not only does a native app sit on the device, when updated it can send users a push message to encourage them to return – perhaps with fresh content, new offers or promotions.
So, there is a massive difference between something that is accessible and something that is used. If you have a mobile site, or your website is responsive, that’s a good start, but it is not the same as having your own app. If you want to reach, retain and grow your market, then it’s time to invest in a mobile app. And if you want to do it cheaply and make it as easy as possible to manage: then check out our Easy App.