By Olga Orda
Today, if you are serious about creating the best possible mobile user experience, most experts would advise to develop apps.
In fact, recent usability studies clearly show that users engage significantly better and more successfully on apps than with mobile sites.
We covered the strategic issues to consider before developing a branded app in our three part series and it came down to this: branded mobile apps, in comparison to other mainstream advertising channels, engage more customers, earn more brand loyalty and ultimately, increase revenue. This is because in using branded and interactive app, consumers talk to the brand, not the other way around. In this way, apps can increase brand advocacy and purchase intentions.
But, there is another trend and line of thinking in the marketing and mobile community that could make apps yesterday’s news. Experts are watching the evolution of the mobile web – or more specifically, mobile-friendly sites and experiences – with great interest.
This all hinges on a key prediction backed by some striking research: while mobile apps are winners today in terms of their ability to reach significant numbers of users and customers, forthcoming changes will eventually make the mobile site the superior long-term strategy.
Consider these statistics and their implications:
1) Research by Mobify found that today, eight screen sizes—various laptops, smartphones, tablets, monitors, web-enabled TVs, and netbooks—account for 77% of web usage. What’s more, no one screen size has more than 20% of the market share. Today, we must plan for all sorts of vehicles crossing bridges, from the slowest scooter to speedy Ferraris to enormous Mac trucks.
Some of the implications of this are that, as consumers engage on an even wider diversity of screen sizes (e.g. from iPhone to desktop), it is going to cost incrementally more to develop apps for each device that users own. In other words, because it costs a fixed amount to develop an iPhone app, it is going to cost an additional amount to provide that the same experience to an iPad user, unless you want to alienate that market.
2) As shared by Jacob Nielsen in his excellent blog post, another benefit of a mobile-site strategy is better integration with the entire web. It’s much easier for others to link to a site than to integrate with a third-party application. In the long run, the tremendous scale of the Internet will defeat smaller, app-to-app environments.
3) While this may not sound that critical for non-techies, but new web technologies such as HTML 5 will substantially improve mobile site capabilities and give them a look and feel similar to the very best top-tier newspaper and magazine sites available today (e.g. New York Times, etc). In turn, this will make mobile sites even more attractive in the long-run.
And if this is not convincing enough, consider this: according to a Google study, while 72 percent of consumers think it’s important for brands to have a mobile-friendly site, fully 96 percent have nonetheless come across a site that wasn’t mobile-friendly.
Ready to learn more about what mobile strategy is right for your company? Get in touch with us.
Infinium Systems is an award-winning web and mobile app development company based in Vancouver, BC. We create high performance web and mobile apps for organizations that are making life better.