The Great Mobile App Myth

By Paula Tompkins on September 8, 2015
channelnet article image-Mobile Apps-Website-customer experience

Mobile has been 2015’s big story. Amidst the media hype is a recurring theme that mobile apps will kill the Internet. The tipping point happened when data revealed that over 50 percent of people using the web are using mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, e-reader, MP3 player, etc.) to consume content.

This milestone triggered Google and Bing policy changes that were dubbed Mobilegeddon by the media. But while mobile usage is a big deal, the death of the Internet is nothing but a myth. And apps are just another touch point.

There definitely is a sweet spot for mobile apps. Apps are great for frequent transactional interactions (e-commerce, banking, loyalty programs, travel). Across all generations, social media, games and radio or music dominate general app usage. Personally, I love using an app to check in for my flights.

Customer experience will be the death of your app and website.

Before you think about killing websites, or any other customer channel, in favor of apps, keep in mind that many apps go unused. Currently, experts estimate that users abandon 95 percent of downloaded apps within a month. I think the marketers who are pushing out all these abandoned apps are ignoring the fundamental principles involved in delivering a great customer experience.

The most important question is not whether you should have an app or website. The most important question is: What does your customer need? The brands that are succeeding today are the ones that are giving their users the information they want, when they want it, in a form that is meaningful to them.

What customers need and want depends on who they are and where they are in the customer lifecycle. Consumers have unique communication needs at each stage of the buying process (awareness, consideration, first contact, purchase, use and loyalty).

When it comes to building awareness, one of the big downfalls of apps is that they are not searchable. On average, there are over 40,000 Google search queries every second, which adds up to 3.5 billion searches per day. Plus you have Bing, Yahoo and the other search engine queries. No website? Then forget leveraging SEO as part of your marketing mix.

Does your customer sit at a computer all day working? If so, experts estimate that 64 percent of employees perform their online personal business at work. Think about it. If 51 percent of your customers are using mobile devices to view the web, it means over 45 percent are still using PCs and laptops.

There will be an evolution — not a revolution.

Today’s always-on mobile mentality is changing how we communicate. It is important to keep in mind that technology will continue to evolve and solutions are not an either-or proposition.

Remember when the headlines shouted that email marketing was dead? Email marketing is very much alive and an integral part of most customer relationship management systems. However, email has evolved from mass marketing into an age of personalization.

Apps and websites are already merging and morphing. Responsive websites can be wrapped into an app and made available in the Apple Store or Google Play. These hybrid websites remain searchable, are less expensive to maintain and do not require users to update them. Websites will always be a central component of a customer-centric ecosystem.

A powerful customer interaction strategy uses a robust mix of technologies and maximizes every step along the consumer decision journey. Each consumer has his or her own digital-channel preferences (email, social media, video, apps, microsites or personal URLs).

Those who focus on a channel first — or the premature death of the Internet — are focusing on the wrong thing. Whatever solution you are using, app or website, the planning should start with the customer and a content strategy.

Learn more about how to deliver a great customer experience:


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