With consumers constantly on-the-go, determining the most effective way to increase your mobile presence has become even more critical. The question remains, should you use an optimized mobile site or mobile applications to reach your users? Should you use both? Following are a few tips on how to best approach this debate.
From the start, it's important for you to set a few goals and understand your target consumer. By defining your needs and customers, you will be able to better assess which mobile option or options makes the most sense for your business.
A mobile website is an optimal first choice, as it's usually the first place consumers will go when trying to learn more about your brand. Users want to be able to access brand information in a mobile browser without having to sift through an abundance of content. According to a survey report from Google on smartphone internet users, 74 percent of respondents said that they were more likely to return to a site if it was mobile-friendly. Similarly, 67 percent of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site that they are more likely to buy a site's product or service.
Mobile websites can cost less to build and can be developed with essentially the same code for multiple operating systems. Therefore, a company website that is optimized with features to increase mobile usability is the best way to reach the masses and the ever-growing number of consumers who continue to engage with your site when using their mobile devices.
However, if you have a large following of loyal customers, then a mobile app is a great way to connect with your users. Always visible on a user's mobile device, mobile apps allow brands to provide value added services for loyal customers including access to loyalty programs and interactive content. According to a comScore study, 51.1 percent of mobile users prefer to download content via apps rather than though a browser.
While apps are typically more costly than mobile sites to build, apps are fast and can access device-specific features like cameras and address books without always requiring web access to function. If your goal is to provide an app that functions more like a program than a website -- or to provide interactive engagement with users -- then developing an app might be the best solution for your business.
For some companies, the benefit of having both a mobile website and a mobile app might be the solution: One component accommodates consumers looking for your product while using a mobile device and the other component acts as an interactive extension of your brand.
No matter which option you select, it is important to determine a strategy for your business in regards to mobile users. By weighing all the mobile solutions available and keeping in mind your company goal's and target consumer audience, you should be able to determine the best solution for your business in order to build your mobile presence.