How Mobile App Popularity Affects Online Strategy

By June 21, 2011 Inbound Marketing, Social Media

I recently went on a camping trip with a few of my friends to a small town in central Missouri. And by “small” I mean about a dozen residents. My friend’s cabin was in the heart of “downtown,” which consisted of three houses, an empty one-room school-house, a store that was never open, an abandoned bank, a hotel, and a rental cabin (formerly a feed store) that the locals referred to as “the honeymoon suite.”

Needless to say, there was no cellphone reception there.

In some ways, it was pretty nice. I didn’t have to worry about being interrupted by a phone call or a text. I wasn’t checking my email or twitter every time I felt slightly bored. For the most part, though, it was like having an itch I couldn’t scratch. I’ve become so used to my smartphone that I can hardly last a weekend without it.

It’s embarrassing, but I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. A recent study from Flurry found that daily time spent on mobile apps has surpassed time on the web. This means that not only are people spending more time online, but they are gravitating toward mobile apps.

What’s so great about apps?

Flurry did not ask its subjects why they prefer apps, so this is all purely speculation. My guess though, is that apps appeal to consumers because they meet them where they are.

Most people have their cellphone with them at all times. As such, a smartphone is an easily accessible alternative to finding a desktop. Not only that, but they are usually pretty simple. App developers understand that mobile devices have certain limitations and have discovered how to develop apps for maximum usability.

What does this mean for your business?

For some, it may mean you develop your own app. There are plenty of mobile apps out there that likely do what your website does. However, you have one advantage over them: name recognition. People already know your brand. In this case, in order to keep your loyal followers using your services on mobile devices, you should probably develop an app. I recommend taking a look at some of these best practices from our good friends at Mashable first.

Just because people are using mobile apps, though, doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to develop one of your own. As the study showed, social networking makes up about a third of all mobile app usage. Luckily for you, social networking accounts are completely free!

Social media offer a great opportunity to reach potential customers on mobile devices without spending a penny. In fact, several social networking services like Foursquare and Facebook check-in’s are almost exclusive to mobile devices.  And their growing in popularity.

So how do you take advantage of Social Media?

To make use of this rich resource, all you have to do is determine the best strategy for reaching your customers through social media. For some of you, determining that strategy might come easily. For the rest, that’s what people like me are for 🙂


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