Since the advent of smartphones, mobile traffic has soared higher and higher each year. Desktop traffic has meanwhile stagnated as mobile devices have evolved to the point that mobile browsing is not just easy, it’s often more convenient.
A good example of this is how people can use their phones to get directions to a certain location. In 2005, if you wanted to know how to get to your favorite steakhouse, you’d first visit the restaurant’s website to look up their address and then plug that address into a mapping service, such as MapQuest, so you could then print out the directions. Nowadays, all you would need to do is go to Google on your phone’s web browser and search that same steakhouse’s name. On the results page, Google will then display the restaurant’s name and address and offer a directions button, which if you tap, should direct you to Google Maps and serve as a GPS right to your location.
Most companies’ websites will additionally have their telephone number clickable on mobile devices, meaning clicking on it will call the company’s telephone number. This would then allow you to call your favorite steakhouse to make a reservation.
In the modern SEO world, mobile acquisitions are an incredibly important aspect. Using monitoring software such as Google Analytics, companies can monitor the efficacy of their SEO practices by examining the devices (tablets, phone, desktop, etc.) their visitors used on their sites. They can also see how many of their telephone calls were generated by mobile acquisitions. If a low percentage of their calls were from mobile browsers, it could suggest the site’s either landing too low on search queries or not optimized for mobile.
High quality sites are almost always mobile-friendly. This means the website is easy to browse on a mobile device. You may have noticed how some sites look the exact same as they would on a desktop, which makes it difficult to browse. You may have also noticed how different sites push their mobile app on you whenever you visit their site on your phone. Both are incredibly annoying. However, the premise of a mobile app for your company may have piqued your interest. So should you create one?
Short answer: No
Long answer: How many apps do you use on your phone? I’m guessing you, like most people, probably use less than 10 – especially if you factor out the default apps that come with your phone (Maps, Weather, Notes, etc.). The thing with mobile apps is that there are few companies whose services really necessitate a mobile app. Entertainment apps have historically dominated the mobile app world, seeing as people enjoy playing games everywhere. However, in recent years, food and beverage companies like Domino’s and Starbucks have found relative success with apps. Customers use the app to make an order for the purpose of saving themselves time.
Smaller businesses in the food industry may find success with their app if they have a loyal, tight-knit market (local coffee shops, University cafeterias), but only the biggest corporations will achieve meaningful success. In terms of attracting customers via mobile apps, only the top-50 charted apps get any attention in app stores.
If you’re looking to create a mobile app for your company solely just to tap into the mobile app craze, you’re going to be disappointed with the results. Invest the time and money you’d have spent building a mobile app to continue improving your company’s web presence. Just make sure your site is mobile-friendly and the telephone number is throughout the site are optimized for mobile.