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When Do Mobile Apps Make Sense for Brands?

W4 | W4 / April 20, 2018

The world is becoming more and more mobile. Businesses are faced with an important question: How do they reach (potential) customers on mobile devices? Is a mobile-optimized website sufficient or should they develop their own mobile app? It depends on their strategy!

The question whether a company should either have a mobile website or a native app is obsolete by now. Every business should have a responsive website today. The reason is obvious: a website is available to everyone at any time, an app must be downloaded from the App Store. Also, in terms of search engine optimization, responsive design plays an important role: Google and other search engines now pay attention to whether a website is optimized for mobile access. Companies that do not take this into account will drop in the rankings. Consequently, the question at hand actually is whether companies should invest in an app in addition to their mobile website. The advantages and disadvantages should be carefully considered before a decision is made.

The Benefits of Mobile Apps

  • Because of static layouts, only dynamic content has to be loaded. Users therefore benefit from faster loading content compared to websites.
  • Push messages keep users up-to-date in real-time.
  • Apps can use the features of and content stored on the mobile device. Whether camera or GPS data - properly integrated, the user experience can be enhanced tremendously.
  • Content can also be made available offline.
  • Using social media integrations, content can be shared quickly and easily on social networks or via messengers.
  • Localization and real-time activities present new marketing opportunities.
  • Apps achieve higher engagement than mobile websites: users spend 18x more time on apps than on mobile websites.

The Disadvantages of Mobile Apps

  • Developing an app is more expensive than optimizing a website. Depending on the complexity, the costs are in the four to five-digit range.
  • Thanks to deep crawling, apps can also be found on search engines - but they are not as visible as mobile websites.
  • Maintenance: apps must run on different operating systems and devices. The functionality has to be tested with every update.

A Matter of Strategy

Companies that are primarily concerned with reach and information may be better off investing their app budget elsewhere. An app is worth the investment when it incorporates the features of the smartphone or tablet. User experience and usefulness are key. Compared to a mobile website, the app must offer a value specific to mobile devices. If this is successful, an app can strengthen customer loyalty and drive revenue.

Mobile apps do not only have advantages in marketing. A corporate app can, for example, facilitate business processes. Employees are provided with important, internal information in real-time and have mobile access to data they need for work.

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Sarah Wilhelm
Sarah Wilhelm
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