We’re a society on the move and we expect our online interactions to be as mobile as our wifi. Brands need to have a mobile website if they want to keep up with the growth involved in doing business with today’s clientele. Mobile websites have gone from an upward trend to an element that detracts from business if it is not provided to new and potential customers. In 2015, consumer consumption on mobile-platforms beat out desktop usage, 60% to 40%.
There is, of course, an ongoing debate as to which type of mobile platforms are superior. To best optimize digital space for your customers, you will need to analyze the pros and cons of developing: a mobile site, a responsive website, or a mobile app. Since 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed platform, it’s important to weigh all options. For proper analysis and industry standards, it’s also in your best interest to call on a Digital Marketing Agency to get precise data and trackable results for mobile optimization.
Websites for Mobile are currently broken down into two forms:
a) Mobile Website
– developed for mobile phones only. At its most basic adaptation, mobile websites are a stripped down version of the main site, sized for mobile screens, resolution, and tech capabilities. These sites are usually marked with an “m” in front of their URL. The quality of your desktop and mobile sites should be similar, even if the content differs, so as to not do a disservice to the more positively received site (especially since users want your A-game on all platforms and a sense of familiarity between platforms).
Downside – creating a mobile-friendly website in essence duplicates your content onto a second URL. This will impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) score by dividing your accolades, since the search bots will need to scan and rank two identical websites for their results. To avoid SEO ranking penalties, creative teams need to develop entirely new coding and content for their mobile-specific site, which is not cost or time effective for a business to maintain. For this reason, developers increasingly prefer the responsive website design option…
b) Responsive Website
– allows brands to create one optimal digital space that resizes itself to any viewport size automatically. Last year, Google began rewarding brand’s with responsive website design – another way to improve upon your SEO ranking (an algorithm changeup known as Mobilegeddon). Development teams can focus all of their attention on one site, as opposed to doubling their efforts to produce a mobile-specific site. SEO rankings are not negatively impacted by responsive websites because bots only need to scan one URL which receives the undivided accolades. Redirects and bounce rates are minimized because there is only one URL, which greatly improves User Experience, reach, and shareability of your content.
Mobile App is the second main contender in the mobility debate.
An app is often created to fulfill a certain user-need for your current mobile interface. If your site requires interaction with other mobile functions, like cameras or contacts, it is more efficient to interact with an app than a website. Other elements of the User Experience are also streamlined, for example: 77% of users prefer social sign-in to website passwords. Apps are most often used by a company’s most loyal customers. It has proven beneficial for brands to use apps as a type of VIP experience as opposed to a more redundant shopping app option. There is certainly an upward trend in app interaction, with current estimates suggesting that app usage makes up 90% of mobile browsing time.
Downside – While 90% of mobile usage may be spent on apps, the stat is misleading for most brands. Specific industries’ apps are thriving: 71% percent of usage is spent in just five app categories: social media (29%); radio (15%); games (11%), multimedia (6%); messaging (6%) and music (4%). Even more disconcerting for brands perhaps is that 97% of all app usage takes place in the top 10 apps only. This monopoly stems from the question of whether or not customers want to have your app on their home screens and if it adds anything to the User Experience – for most brands that answer is still no. There is a long way to go for a majority of brand apps: 69 percent of users open an app 10 times or less, and a quarter of people use the app just once after downloading it.
SO – which one is best for your brand? A responsive website is a catch all. Because it serves multiple tech platforms – including the most popular, iOS & Android – it is considered more inclusive an option than a mobile-specific site or an app which requires different code development. An app may be useful for your industry, especially if you’re in Ecommerce, and it can simplify the User Experience. Just remember, web drives twice as much traffic to stores as an app. So where an app may be able to offer cool content marketing as a VIP option, responsive websites currently represent the best way of increasing brand awareness and reach. The truth is, if you can afford to do so, having both a responsive website and an app proves beneficial.
Don’t guess which option is best for your business, get guidance from CM2 Media! We’ll discuss the pros and cons for each platform in your industry and the knowledge you’ve acquired about your consumer base. By considering your customer demographic, your budget, and your goals we’ll bring you up to speed in the fast-paced world of branding for mobility. Further to, we’ll follow your business’s progress with analytics and adjustments to ensure your brand’s app and responsive website are bringing you the benefits of a high-functioning, results-based website.