As the business world grows, it’s important to stay onboard with technology. Smartphones have come a long way, and they’re ever-present in modern marketing strategies. If you’re planning on developing your business’s mobile presence, you’ll need to align your budget with this year’s biggest innovations. Mobile applications (mobile apps) and mobile websites are among the industry’s top utilities. While they look similar at first, they’re entirely different.
Every business is different, and not every provider needs a mobile website to provide services. Similarly, not every provider can engage users with a mobile app. To streamline your strategy, your brand must first ascertain its needs. Below, I offer insight into both—weighing them against your baseline strategy:
Mobile apps are mobile-based programs accessible without an Internet connection. They can, however, benefit from one. Mobile apps require intensive design and development before introduction, as they’re contingent upon a host operating system. Your Android and iOS users operate different devices, and thus deserve different ‘versions’ of your app.
Because of the mobile app’s intensive design, they’re often time-consuming to create. Crafting a mobile app is a big project, but it’s a worthwhile investment.
The Benefits of a Mobile App
Mobile apps that are able to offer innovative value thrive in modern mobile marketing. Able to take advantage of the smartphone’s audio recognition, GPS location technology, camera, QR code scanner and even spatial recognition services, a mobile app serves as a ‘power package’ of tools. Mobile apps are easily linkable through SMS services, too. Currently, 50 percent of United States consumers make direct purchases after receiving a branded text, discount coupon or QR code. Buyers answer to SMS, and they’re relying on mobile apps for in-depth company offers.
The Drawbacks of a Mobile App
Mobile apps offer highly specific services. For this reason, they’re difficult to pull mass audiences. If your brand offers niche products or services, however, a mobile app is superior to a mobile website. Mobile apps must be downloaded, requiring the marketer to land big numbers in app stores. Because 51 percent of total Internet browsing time is allotted to mobile web browsers, mobile apps may additionally get the ‘cold shoulder’ from distracted consumers.
Mobile websites are crafted to the smartphone’s small screen and enabled touch services. Accessible via any browser, a mobile website is relatively easy to develop when compared to the mobile app. Users need only enter your brand’s URL or click a link to access the channel. Additionally, a branded website typically uses auto-detect software to transfer mobile users into a mobile version.
The Benefits of a Mobile Website
A mobile website is an e-commerce machine. It gathers massive audiences, tying them into brick-and-mortar locations by way of digital services. By the end of 2016, experts expect mobile e-commerce to reach $31 billion. If your brand is targeting digital audiences, it needs a mobile website. Period.
Mobile websites benefit from a mobile-friendly layout. Their entire look, feel, included media and click-to-access options are developed around smartphone technology. If your brand has a mobile website, users can access your brand at any time.
The Detriments of a Mobile Website
While mobile websites are very accessible, they may “fall to the wayside” if they’re too generic. Consumers seek value, and they won’t stick around on an unintuitive, choppy mobile website. For this reason, it’s important to provide users with quick, digestible information. It’s similarly important to streamline your UI, shopping cart options and product search tools. If you’re kick-starting your website, consider linking consumers via SMS reminders. Mobile websites benefit from multi-channel accessibility, and they succeed when users arrive from all angles.
Really, your mobile marketing platform can benefit from both a mobile app and a mobile website. If your brand requires ‘add-on’ services, craft a mobile app first. If, however, it’s heating up with a mass audience, invest in a mobile website.
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