Mobile marketing graphic 225x225According to studies by Comscore, Alexa and Flurry Analytics, the use of mobile apps has surpassed web browsing on both computers and mobile devices. Does this mean that Google’s on its way out, as some mobile experts would have us believe?

I think not.

As this article by Jeanne Hopkins astutely points out “…the most recent growth in mobile apps usage hasn’t really been at the expense of browsing the everyday, traditional web. People have just been using mobile apps more.”

Why mobile apps compliment—not replace—web browsing

To justify the cost of creating a mobile app, you need to ensure it’s sticky. After all, what’s the point of creating a mobile app that nobody uses? So if you have limited time, resources, or ideas for a valuable mobile app, the best thing you can focus on is optimizing your website for mobile web browsing. Again, the rise of mobile app usage does not come at the expense of web browsing, which is taking place on desktops and mobile devices alike. Failing to mobile optimize your website can hurt your bottom line; but if your site is mobile optimized, the absence of a mobile app won’t damage your business if site activities can still be easily performed via mobile web browsing.

If you’ve mastered optimization of your website and emails, you should certainly put time into considering how your business can provide value via a mobile app… remember that if you jump on the mobile app bandwagon now, you will likely be ahead of the curve in your industry. With that timing and a quality app that people will actually use, you can enjoy quick adoption rates and increased brand engagement. Just make sure you don’t rush a subpar app to market; provide a great user experience so your customers don’t download your app, use it once, and abandon it to return to their regular mobile browsing activities.

How to fit mobile apps into your travel marketing programs

Using a mobile app takes effort on the part of the viewer—they have to find and download it before they can use it. And it must be engaging, giving users good reason to come back to it. (At present, only 25% of mobile apps are used more than once—that’s a lot of money down the drain!)

For this reason, I encourage travel businesses to use apps as a compliment to a mobile-optimized website, not as a replacement. Apps are great for customer-retention (again, as long as they’re engaging), but not so great for the first introduction. Apps are more valuable for marketing to customers who want to keep in touch with a business they like, while a mobile website is more valuable to prospects searching for information on a business they’re unfamiliar with.

What’s your take? Do you believe mobile apps will ever eclipse web search?


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