Mobile apps and mobile websites have grown exponentially in the number of users and the sheer number available in the past 3-4 years. Actually, it would be easier just to say that the world of mobile has exploded full-stop. We now live in a world where it’s easier to ask who hasn’t got a smartphone rather than who has got one. Mobile searches have recently overtaken desktop searches for the first time and as users, we crave this instant gratification when it comes to, well, everything and our smartphones fit the bill perfectly.
When it comes to deciding on where to invest your money from a marketing perspective, there are two options that present themselves to everyone. And these are the only two that should be considered when starting out on a mobile journey.
1. Invest in a new responsive or adaptive website making your site look and perform better on smartphones
2. Develop a mobile application available on iOS and Android platforms
There will be several different arguments for choosing option 1 or 2 and even an argument for creating a 3rd option (develop both side-by-side). Depending on where you currently are with your web and app properties, the logical step would be to create a mobile optimised version of your site via the industry standard, responsive layout.
Users have come to expect a seamless experience whether they are browsing on a desktop, tablet or smartphone device. And with the recent launch of Google’s AMP pages, the demand for a faster and better mobile web experience is only going to grow.
The reasons for developing an app almost always follow analysing the data from a mobile optimised website. So by default, your website should be mobile friendly before working on a new mobile app. If your mobile website is lacking some functionality or you can see a clear benefit to using the features available within apps (push notifications for example), then it might be time to begin exploring this option. Just because you’ve read that the Facebook app or the latest viral gaming app has millions of downloads doesn’t mean that your brand will succeed by having a mobile app.
The mobile world is the hot topic of conversation in 2016, Rand Fishkin covers the stats and figures for both sides in his latest post which is well worth a read/watch. Unless there is a strong business case backed up by an engaged customer base and the data from your mobile site performance indicates an opportunity, then the focus should be solely on improving the performance of the mobile site.
A quick checklist of things to improve would be; page load speed, user metrics on key pages and SEO performance. If people can’t view your page quickly, find the info they want quickly or find you in the mobile search results, it’s time to get back to the drawing board.