While the mobile web is undeniably important as a marketing and ecommerce channel, a native mobile app has several distinct advantages.
Think about the time you spend on your phone. If you’re like most users, the majority of it is spent with mobile apps. While the mobile web is undeniably important as a marketing and ecommerce channel, a native mobile app has several distinct advantages. And they don’t always get due recognition.
As we transition into 2013, consider these mobile app advantages:
- Functionality: You can do more with a native mobile app. Interactive features – like the ability to deliver push notifications or enable in-app purchases – are much easier to implement in a native app environment. Typically, mobile web capabilities lag at least a year behind the native app realm.
- Discovery: There is no app store for the mobile web. It’s still work to gain visibility in iOS and Android app stores, but at least they exist as clearinghouses where users can search for mobile-specific resources by keyword or genre.
- Engagement: Consumers really do spend more time with native mobile apps than the web. According to Flurry, the average time spent with mobile apps in the U.S. grew 35% in 2012 to 127 minutes per day, while average time on the web declined 2.4% to only 70 minutes per day.
Of course just because native apps have inherent advantages doesn’t mean every native mobile app is effective. If you invest resources in building a mobile app, you should also invest in testing it thoroughly for usability and impact. And this is where mobile strategies fall down today. Mobile apps benefit from the same principles of optimization as any website. You should work hard to understand the mobile environment and the people who inhabit it. Build your app right, then test it and tune it until your users are delighted.
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.