DO YOU REALLY NEED AN APP?
Short answer: Maybe.
But one thing is for sure. In the wake of Google’s Mobilegeddon, you absolutely have to have a responsive site optimized for mobile. That is non-negotiable. If you haven’t updated your site to meet those requirements yet, stop reading this right now and take care of that matter. You can test your site here.
All done? Okay. Let’s move on.
So, then. You’ve got a mobile-friendly site. Do you need to go that extra mile and develop a native app as well? That depends on a lot of factors, and there’s a lot of things to keep in mind when you attempt to answer this question for your business.
- Apps should provide added value and functionality for users.
You may think an app would be good for your company, but would it be good for your customers? Most people don’t want to download yet another app. And, 25% of apps are deleted after one use.If you have a compelling reason to make an app, then by all means, make one! But if you’re making an app just for the sake of having an app, it’s probably not in your best interest, because…
- Apps are expensive to create and maintain.
A mobile-friendly site can reach end users on any platform, OS or device, and they’re relatively easy to update. Apps on the other hand need to be developed for each individual OS and have to be updated every time new software versions are released. This all adds up to much greater costs for your company or organization compared to a mobile-friendly site. And mobile-friendly sites have another advantage over apps for your bottom line, because…
- Apps do not attract new business and do not provide search and SEO value.
Most of your new marketing leads will come from search and your mobile site. That’s where customers start the research phase of their path to purchase and where they are most likely to discover your business and services. Apps do provide an excellent outlet for re-engaging existing customers, but if you’re looking to bolster lead generation through an app, you’re barking up the wrong tree.At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Do apps have any advantages over mobile-friendly sites.” Yes, because…
- Apps have access to a device’s hardware.
One of the best, and possibly only, reasons to develop an app is if you have a good reason to access a device’s hardware capabilities, like the camera, accelerometer or GPS. And there’s a big emphasis on good reason. For example, enormous stores like IKEA may develop a store map app that uses GPS location-based geo-targeting to help consumers navigate. Banks may wish to develop an app that lets customers deposit checks by taking a picture. Brands that lend themselves to gamification may wish to develop a companion app that needs access to the graphic components of a device. But not every business needs an app, because…
- Most of what you can do in an app can be done on the mobile web.
Just five short years ago, the answer to “Do You Need An App?” would have been a resounding “yes.” But mobile tech has come a long way since then. Unless you need to directly access a device’s hardware components, you can probably accomplish your goals via your mobile site. And because a mobile-friendly site is a requirement in today’s marketing landscape, it is a far better use of resources to properly design and develop your site before worrying about an app.
At the end of the day, you know your business better than anyone else. If you think an app is the way to go, then go for it. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons and focus your energy on first optimizing and refining your website.
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