Why You Should Build an App of Your Website!
The ‘Mobilegeddon’ upgrade in April this year was Google’s acknowledgment of a global shift in user behavior towards mobile devices [Google Webmaster Blog]. 2014 marked the year in which desktop usage was overtaken by mobile- and the trend is only going upwards. With this in mind, many publishers are now aware of the importance of having a mobile friendly site.
One area that until now has often been overlooked is the mobile application market. A staggering 80% of mobile time is now spent on mobile apps [Venturebeat]! E-commerce, gaming, and social media businesses have been ahead of the curve for some time now, and informational site owners are beginning to recognize the potential benefits of creating a mobile app for their site. Apps increase user interaction, improve user experience, and have great advertising potential.
For starters, building an app is a good way to ensure that you are mobile ready. Apps are now discoverable in search engines (a quarter of all downloaded apps are found this way) so your app will display on mobile searches for your keywords [think with Google 1]. Not only this, apps are easy to navigate, and they improve user experience by eliminating waiting time. Apps auto-update with new content, even whilst your users aren’t active- meaning that when they come to find information, it is already populated in their device. The average person spends 37.28 hours on apps each month, which represents a huge market for websites to create user engagement [Nielsen].
Over two-thirds of people using a search engine will go to a site simply because it has the relevant information, regardless of branding [think with Google 2] . So having an app visible in search results is a great way to create initial user engagement with your site.
With all this in mind, the potential behind a well executed mobile application is enormous. If a user comes across your app through a mobile web search, and they get good user experience and relevant information, then you have the potential to become a memorable (and revisited) source of information. Forbes echoes this advice, referencing the ‘effective frequency’ rule- if a user downloads your app, and interacts with it (or scrolls past your logo in their phone) a number of times then that user is more likely to think of you next time they need similar information [Forbes]. There is a high chance that they will bypass a search engine entirely, as they can come straight to you!
There is also the financial benefit of a different advertising environment. Apps account for 56% of global ad impressions, yet 71% of total revenue [Opera]. This is, in part, due to the value that an app provides to advertisers. Downloading an app demonstrates clear intent, and more closely defines the interests of your users- this is invaluable to advertisers!
Video advertising has grown exponentially in the past year- and this is in part due to MRAID- an industry standard set by the IAB, which helps translate ad creatives from any format and ensures compatibility across all platforms [IAB]. The 2015 update to the MRAID video capacity made in app rich media advertising much easier to execute- and more user friendly.
It isn’t difficult to see the value that advertisers place in apps- it gives them a user who engages with their product via a constantly available advertising source built into their phone [adweek]!
In short, mobile applications are great for your users, great for your site, and great for the advertisers that fund it. Everyone’s a winner!
Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since it was known as the ARPAnet and has decades of experience as an independent online publisher. Dave owns multiple online businesses and websites. You can check out his site AskDaveTaylor.com or find him on social media as @DaveTaylor to learn more about how he sees emerging technology.