There's an app for that
In 2016 there are over 4million apps available ( http://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/
) on the major app stores. Does that mean your business should have a mobile application? Possibly, but ask yourself: Does my business currently have a mobile website as well? Many believe that a mobile app is a replacement for having a mobile website design. Which is sort of crazy at this point in 2016, since mobile website technology has been around for years now. But I can get to my website from my smartphone, so doesn't that mean it's mobile? What are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile apps and mobile website?
Let's find out and see who wins. Mobile Apps
There are several advantages and disadvantages to your business having a custom mobile app developed. A mobile app can be great for your business when you have an active community using your app.
• Can be highly interactive
• Marketers can push out notifications directly to a user's phone
• Functionality built in for purchasing, reservations, reviews etc
• A customer or prospect has to manually search for and download the app
• Customers may not know that you have a mobile app available unless promoted
• Does not satisfy Google's mobile requirements
• Has to be updated separately from your website
A mobile website is critical to your business success. Over 60% of google searches START from a mobile device. Since April 2015, Google has drawn a line in the sand that cannot be washed away: If your website is not mobile, they will not promote it on search results from smartphones. Google also prefers a responsive website design, verses a mobile website.
A mobile website is typically a separate website from your main desktop site, usually looks like this: m.yoursite.com
. A responsive website is actually just ONE website and one domain for all device types, from smartphone, to tablet to desktop. The advantages of the mobile site verses responsive can be found in this article. Right now we are focused on the advantages of some sort of mobile website. By the way, we can develop both types for you.
• Users do not have to search for your mobile site, the smartphone just renders it that way when visiting your website.
• No downloading required beforehand
• Satisfies Google's requirements for mobile search
• No updating required (for responsive), all of the content responds to the size of the device and optimizes it accordingly
• Lower costs to build and maintain
• Cannot push out notifications to a device like a mobile app can
• Interactivity is limited to what's available in web programming languages
So who wins the fight:
Well, it depends on the application, no pun intended. The first thing I would say is that, if your website does NOT yet have a mobile optimized website, you should not waste any money on a mobile application. I've seen several websites upon arrival on my smartphone it directs me to their app to download. Unfortunately that business was sold the wrong product. It's non-efficient for me as a mobile user to now have to get to the app store, download the app and possibly sign in just to find what I'm looking for. At this point in time, your business really should not even be talking about mobile apps unless you have a solid mobile website, prefferrably a responsive website that includes mobile optimization.
If your business already has a solid mobile website in place and you want to move to the next step, then it's possible the mobile app wins. However, take note: If you're thinking about a mobile app just because its a "cool thing to do". Stop now, save your money and buy us a beer instead. The effects of beer will be far greater than the return on your "cool app".
An app is effective if people are using it weekly or in the very LEAST monthly. If you're someone in the industry where your customers might see you twice a year, say a dentist. It is a terrible idea to have an app developed. There are so many other products you can use to market your practice, or business for that matter.
If you're something like a pizza shop, restaurant, convenience store or something similar, it might be a good idea to look into that then. That's something that a customer could come back weekly for to check out specials and promotions running, reserve tables, shop online with, get contact info real quick etc.
We are great at both. What we are even better at is given a transparent consultation. We are not here to guide you into what we think is "cool" or a trendy product. Our business is to grow your business. So if it truly is a mobile app that your business needs, we'll fulfill that. If it's better to redesign your website and make it responsive and filled with search engine optimization, then maybe that's the better option for you.
Either way, we should be having that discussion with us. We offer free 30 minute marketing consultations and website analysis reports during that consult. Get in touch with us below to get started.