The mobile web is the second largest media channel, second only to the TV. Nearly three-fourths of Americans now own and use smartphones, and a third of users say that their phones are their primary way of accessing the Internet. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that 86.5 percent of all connected devices will be smartphones or tablets by 2017. Most businesses understand this and are developing a mobile strategies, but these statistics have opened a question that mobile developers must answer: are apps or mobile-friendly websites the best way to target these customers?
Is the Mobile Web Dead?
Looking at the way consumers use their mobile devices will help a mobile strategist or developer answer this question decisively. The average consumer in the U.S. spends two hours and 42 minutes using their mobile device every day. Of that time, 86 percent is spent using apps. This is up from 80 percent over last year's statistics. The mobile browser, on the other hand, is only being used 23 minutes per day, or 14 percent of the time. This is down from 20 percent in 2013.
This is a significant shift, and those working in online and mobile marketing need to shift along with it. For those in web design careers, it means the need to pursue further training in app development in order to best meet the needs of potential clients. For the mobile strategist, it means a change in the mobile strategy for customers relying on the mobile web more than mobile apps.
Why Apps Are Better
Why are apps dominating the mobile device market? Apps provide personalized, relevant content that meets the direct need of the customers. They are often interactive or entertaining, or they may meet a specific need presented in the moment. All of this is done while also furthering the company's branding goals.
Apps allow companies to prompt their market with content that is delivered instantly and targeted to the user. Geo-targeting within apps makes them even more valuable to the reader. An app can deliver push notifications to consumers based on their location to drive them to a particular store that is nearby and sells the brand's products. This is more effective than simply providing information through a mobile website.
What This Information Means to Businesses, Strategists and Designers
Businesses that are choosing how to allocate their marketing budgets need to understand this information. The ideal mobile strategy would include both an app and a mobile website, but when funds are limited, developing an effective app is going to have the best results. In addition, brands need to focus on continually developing their apps or adding to their app library to continue to engage their customers.
For mobile developers and mobile strategists, these trends are vital to their success. Adapting to changes in the market will allow design professionals to stay competitive as they seek to meet the needs of their changing marketplace. Contact us to today to learn more about these changes and how they affect today's design professionals.