Oct 4 2010
Ever since I got my iPhone4 this July, I find myself reaching out to the phone to search for information versus the laptop. From maps, movie times, weather info, checking my bank balance, fall shopping to making flight and hotel reservations, I now go on a Safari on the iPhone. The iPhone has also made me less tolerant towards websites that take forever to download and don’t cater to the mobile user who is accessing information at the palm of his/her hands. An interesting end result to that frustration is that I am now discovering new products and services that fulfill the same needs just by virtue of having a mobile-friendly website! Talk about conversion happening right there. So does your brand have a mobile website yet? If not, you might want to consider one for next year.
Mary Meeker, internet analyst at Morgan Stanley also known as the “Internet Queen” predicts that within the next five years “more users will connect to the Internet over mobile devices than desktop PCs.” “Rapid Ramp of Mobile Internet Usage Will be a Boon to Consumers and Some Companies Will Likely Win Big (Potentially Very Big) While Many Will Wonder What Just Happened.”
As CRT/tanaka clients gear up for 2011, one consistent debate has been to invest in mobile apps versus mobile websites. The good news is that my clients are treating “MOBILE” seriously and a few of them have made the right decision to first invest in a mobile website before building an app that may or may not have a high frequency of engagement and that’s smart.
Here are three key reasons why you need a mobile website before building a mobile app:
Mobile website is your entry point to mobile commerce: By 2015, it’s estimated that shoppers from around the world will spend about $119 billion on goods and services purchased via their mobile phones, according to a study by ABI Research released this past February. In the United States alone, mobile shopping rose from $396 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2009, and mobile campaign spending also increased by 25 to 30% over the past year, with companies shelling out just under $313 million according to the same study. Senior Analyst Mark Beccue, said that he’s forecasting U.S. sales to reach about $2.2 billion in 2010. (Courtesy: Mashable http://mashable.com/2010/07/22/2010-mobile-commerce-trends/). Mind boggling? Well then hopefully you are considering to make your web content mobile-friendly.
Increase your success rate with a mobile website versus mobile apps: I am going to say this again and again and again…if your mobile app doesn’t give me a reason to frequently engage with you and loses its charm after that free download, yeah chances are your ROI from a mobile app will hit a glass ceiling pretty quickly. On the other hand if you have a steady web traffic, by extending your content to the smart phone or any mobile device, you have now increased your reach and also tapping into new unique visitors who might be searching for your product or service on the iPad, iPhone or Android versus the desktop. According to a recent survey from Adobe, “Mobile websites are the predominant presence of businesses in the mobile channel, accounting for the bulk of their mobile traffic and surpassing the traffic generated by downloadable mobile applications. More than 80% of the respondents said they were planning or have already deployed a mobile commerce website versus 8% with a downloadable application-only strategy.” The full report is available at http://www.scene7.com/report/Scene7_MobileSurvey.pdf
Remove barriers of entry with mobile websites versus apps: Okay I don’t know about you but I definitely don’t download apps left and right on my iPhone and iPad but I do visit new websites every single day on both those devices. In other words credibility is higher for websites as the first touch point of information on your brand versus an app. The app to me is the second level of engagement when I already know your product well. So chances are by making your web content mobile, you removed the barriers to entry that an app might have.
I hope this post has thrown some light on your mobile strategy for 2011. At the end of the day two things that define your mobile strategy are:
i) Is your target audience accessing more and more information via mobile devices?
ii) Do you want to get started with a mobile app that costs significantly higher with no guarantee of increased engagement or are you better off starting with a mobile website first that increases brand awareness and web conversions while keeping your CFO happy?
If you are considering a mobile strategy for 2011, please share any insight, tips, comments that might be helpful for others experimenting with it.