It is no secret that mobile usage and digital media in general has climbed over the last decade. What used to be only accessible at your desktop, is now available right in your pocket. Mobile media usage will continue to climb, but where should it be on your priority list as a Marketing professional? There no longer is a question of whether a mobile presence is important or not, but rather, is it the most important?
Don't get me wrong, to each their own as far as one's preference to look at certain types of media - desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. Regardless of the device or source of Mobile Media, you must be aware of theconsumers behavior when using different Mobile devices and what they prefer.
ALL THE TIME - WEEKDAYS - WEEKENDS - AM/PM - HOLIDAYS - EVENTS
CUSTOMER SERVICE - F.A.Q. - E-COMMERCE - CONVENIENCE - INFORMATION
- WHERE WILL THEY NEED YOU?
DRIVING - AT WORK - SHOPPING - TRAVELING - AT THE GYM - RELAXING
TARGET AUDIENCE - DEMOGRAPH - INDIVIDUALS/CROWDS - B2B - B2C
Stoney deGeyter, President of Pole Position Marketing, wrote an article late last year making it very clear that Mobile is not the future - it is now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying hand over your website and desktop responsibilities to the intern anytime soon. Just be aware of where your focus and priorities should be. Take a look at the amount of time spent Mobily compared to at a desktop setting. Proof is in the pudding folks. Mo Mobile, Mo Money.
Don't you just love Apps? So clean. So easy to use. So Millennial'esque. Digging one layer deeper in your Mobile presence, the focus now shifts to the means of your Mobile presence - Website or a Mobile App? I really enjoyedRand Fishkin's article this past December - Mobile Web Vs. Mobile Apps: Where Should You Invest Your Marketing? I really enjoyed his take on Mobile App development. Don't just create an App to create an App. You must have a strategy - goals - and a clear vision of what it is you want to get out of your App.
As you can see in the image below, there are certainly pros and cons to both methods. From a Performance and User-Friendly standpoint, the Mobile App probably takes the crown. It's supposed to be easy to use, convenient, make sense. However, when it comes to Maintenance and Costs for both, the Mobile Web is champ. Updates are much easier, less expensive, and nearly zero downtime. Take a look.
Make no mistake, having a successful App is no walk in the park. The App world is dominated by the top dogs for each Category - Business, Travel, Entertainment, Games, Shopping, Utilities, etc. (Here is a list of The Top 10 Categories in the Google Play Store as...). Mobile Apps are just better for some Industries and Categories, it's as simple as that. Are they right for your business?
If you do not truly believe your Mobile App can play with the big boys, don't waste your time. This is only my opinion, but why go through all the trouble and financing to blend in and be exactly where you started? Your Website will have days where it sees quite a bit of traffic and others when it won't, no big deal. However, you don't want to cough up thousands of dollars in creating the Mobile App to sit in the I-Tunes Store or Google Play Store, because it could.
In the Spring of 2015, Google updated it's "Mobile-Friendly" algorithm (I'm sure you are aware of this). This update made the importance of your mobile-friendliness even more crucial. Some companies adapted and transitioned quite well, others did not and saw their SEO efforts plummet. "Mobilegeddon" was a wake-up call to many companies, but music to your ears as a consumer.
This update made finding quality relevant information optimized for your Mobile device. Google did make the transition as smooth as possible, offering tools such as The Mobile-Friendly Test. This allowed you to type in your URL and test its "Mobile-Friendliness." Very similar to the Google Developers - Page Speed Test. DO NOT assume your mobile performance is up to par just because your website is. Take the test!
If you don't have a Mobile mentality halfway through 2016, you may want to get with the program. Quickly. I'm not saying you MUST have a Mobile App, but do consider it. Like I mentioned before, weigh the Pros and Cons and go from there. The worst thing you can do is be half in half out. Having a Mobile App is not for everyone, but your Website does need to be Mobile-Friendly. Remember - Mo Mobile, Mo Money.