Is a mobile app for your small business a worthy investment? There are a lot of factors to consider, so let’s start with the findings of a new mobile report, which shows that people prefer to spend their time in apps, not cruising the mobile web.
The average amount of time spent using a mobile device has risen to 2 hours and 42 minutes among US consumers, with 86% of their time spent in mobile apps. Consumers use the mobile web just 22 minutes per day, or 14% of their time spent on mobile. These latest insights from mobile measurement and ad platform Flurry show a continued decline in consumer interest in the mobile web.
It’s a bit of a conundrum for small and mid-sized businesses, the vast majority of whom are just now getting their mobile-responsive website strategy in place. If you haven’t moved to a responsive website yet, you’re not alone; Forrester Research reported in January this year that of 146 enterprise-level companies, only 63 had responsive design sites. SMBs have fared even worse — just 9% of small businesses have responsive sites.
So Your Small Business Needs an App, Right?
Alright, so app use is booming and time spent on the mobile web is down. It’s time to get an app for your business, right?
Not so fast. As with anything in online marketing, you need a solid strategy backed by reasoning before jumping into the app world with both feet. Apps are all the rage, yet 90% of consumers who download an app use it for less than 6 months.
Before you chase after an app, make sure your website is optimized for the best mobile experience for your audience. Consumers may be spending more time in apps, but you have to consider that these aren’t all company’s apps – not even close. People are playing games, doing their banking, using productivity tools and more in that 2 hours and 19 minutes a day they’re using apps.
When it comes to visiting websites, on the other hand, over 45% of users are now accessing them via smartphones or tablets, according to recent data from hosting providers. We also know that the vast majority of consumers want more mobile-optimized product information available to them while they shop in-store, making mobile-friendliness just as important for brick-and-mortar businesses.
Before you even consider investing in an app for your business, ask yourself:
- Who is our app for?
- How will our app enhance the customer experience?
- Why would a person choose to use our app?
- What are we offering that will keep them using it?
- How are we going to get our app in the hands of customers and prospects?
- Do we have the talent in-house to build a really awesome app, or do we need to outsource?
- Which device(s) are we creating this for and why?
- Can our existing infrastructure handle app integration?
If you’ve already decided an app is going to help you offer a better user experience and drive sales, check out Enterpreneur’s list of 10 questions you should ask your mobile app developer to help guide successful app development.
The Bottom Line: If you don’t have your website optimized for mobile, that’s the place to focus now. Once you’re happy with your mobile web presence, use the list of questions above to start thinking about whether a mobile app is the best next step for your small business. Stay tuned for more mobile app tips and advice!