We’re all well aware that mobile is the future. 35% of American adults own smartphones, and that number is constantly on the rise. Equally important is the fact that app use has outstripped mobile browsing on mobile platforms by a margin of 81 minutes a day to 74 minutes a day on the web. It isn’t a huge difference, but the trend is very much toward app usage, with a 91% increase in app usage year-over-year, according to analytics firm, Flurry.
I Have a Website. What Can I Do to Go Mobile?
Most companies now have websites, and if you have a mobile version, you’re off to a good start. There are a number of tools designed to help non-developer create apps, or let developers create apps in the programming language they’re most familiar with and convert it to the appropriate format for iOS or Android. For programmers, the options include Appcelerator, MotherApp, and PhoneGap . For non-developers, there’s AppsGeyser (disclosure: I manage content and community for AppsGeyser), as well as RunRev, AppMakr, Genwi, SassMob, MobBase and many more. (Note: these mentions don’t constitute endorsements — do your own due diligence before choosing a solution.)
Benefits Of Apps Include Search And Branding
Having an app won’t necessarily help your ranking in search engines directly. Rather, it will increase your traffic in other ways. The main way in which having an app increases traffic is by giving you a whole new avenue for search. Mobile users often don’t search the web. They often search the Apple App Store or Android Market to find the information they want. Having an app allows you to appear in market searches.
You don’t care about Android Market or the App Store? Ok, ok. Remember how Google added that +1 button to the entire internet? They also allow you to add it to your apps. Since your app is connected to your webpage, that +1 button can be in your app, positioned prominently, and gaining you +1s – assuming, of course, that your app provides users with value they’re eager to endorse.
Beyond visibility in search, it’s worth noting that recent research has found that consumers interacting with apps show more brand favorability and purchase intent. The study also found that apps that were more informational — providing product reviews, deals information or cooking tips — were more effective in engaging users, as compared to experiential game- or entertainment-oriented applications.
What About Increasing Visibility In Local Avenues?
There’s a lot of debate about the value of QR codes, and I’m not going to go into it here, but it’s clear that well-placed QR codes do get attention. People often scan them just out of curiosity. While a QR code can lead to anything, a QR code that leads to an app is more effective than one that leads to a mobile website.
This is true because a mobile website is browsed momentarily for anything interesting and then the browser is closed. An app is installed, used, and remains on the device until the owner chooses to remove it. As such, an app is likely to be opened again and used again. If the content is valuable, the user keeps the app. This means more repeat traffic. This is a great way for local businesses to drive engagement with customers.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.