There are few things that can capture more of a person’s attention than an amazing app. But is the time, effort, and cost associated with creating a mobile app worth it for your business? Recent studies demonstrate that answer is a resounding, “It depends.”
Evidence supporting a massive increase in mobile traffic and time spent interacting with our “3-foot” devices is irrefutable. We all seem to love staying connected with our world via mobile – and burn up a lot of time doing so on a daily basis. Here’s where the app vs. browser statistics get tricky, however – muddying the waters when asking the question, “Does my business need a mobile app?”
The latest information suggests that apps eat up a LOT of user time (actual time spent on one’s device), while the mobile browser experience attracts more eyeballs (sheer volume of users). That being said, phone app saturation and usage is somewhat limited – there appears to be a cap to the number of apps people are willing to download and a significantly smaller cap to the number they actually use, which creates a bigger question mark in the “to-app-or-not-to-app” conundrum. App competition is fierce but if you have a service, widget, or idea that can capture the attention of the marketplace and solve a tangible problem for your audience, then your business may be well-aligned with an app strategy. This becomes even more true if the strength of your brand and brand recognition has reached a level where people think of you exclusively when answering the, “Who do I go to for solution x?” question. If you are in this category, then certainly an app may benefit your business to act as both a lead generator and audience nurturing device. (Read more about small business app tips from our friends at AppIt Ventures.)
If you are more in the awareness phase of the game, getting in front of more people may actually benefit your business more at this stage than app development. A strong, mobile-optimized website is probably the better short-term solution for a business in this phase of its life cycle (certainly keeping an eye on app development in the future). Still not sure? Ask. Query your current customers, site visitors, and others in your field with a one-question survey on your existing digital properties to see what they think. They are, after all, your target audience!
Regardless of the direction you ultimately decide to head when answering the question of whether or not an app is in your business’ short-term best interest, a mobile-friendly, responsive website should certainly be part of your digital marketing playbook. After all, one of the best ways to market your new app is to maximize your ability to get found online.