For years we’ve witnessed the number of mobile Internet users growing at a faster rate than desktop Internet users. This should come as no surprise, with this mobile first trend having been predicted by industry experts as far back as 2008.
Receiving far less attention is the internal battle of the mobile device, fought between mobile apps and the mobile web.
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Mobile Apps or Mobile Web?
If we look at the amount of time spent using them, mobile apps are the clear winner. Mobile app use is increasingly outpacing mobile browser use. According to eMarketer, smartphones users spent about 4 hours on the internet per day in 2020, and 88% of that time is spent using apps, not browsers.
“An app provides a direct access point from the home screen of a mobile device, and a native app experience is typically slicker and faster than a comparable web experience” – eMarketer principal analyst Cathy Boyle.
According to eMarketer, the average US adult spent 31 minutes more on mobile in 2020, reaching 4 hours and 16 minutes.
Time spent in apps at an all time high
Fast forward to 2021 and daily time spent using apps achieved an all time high in Q3. According to the most recent report published by App Annie, on average, Android users in the US now watch 4.2 hours per day, up from 3.9 in Q2 2021, and in the UK it’s 4.0 hours per day, up from 3.8 in Q2 2021. Consumers in South Korea are spending 5 hours a day on mobile apps, up from 4.8 in Q2 2021
Apps are here to stay and, as more and more companies turn their back on the traditional mobile web, consumers’ preference for apps is only going to increase.
This has serious implications for digital brands. Beyond just looking in terms of volume, users are telling businesses how they want to consume their content – via apps. The online world moves fast and it’s becoming increasingly clear that having your own app is key for remaining relevant.
Let’s take a look at what has caused the number of app users to skyrocket.
Why has the world gone mobile app crazy?
1. More Features
Whilst mobile apps can make use of all the different functions on your phone, a mobile website is far more limited. Essentially, this means a mobile app is able to offer a level of interaction far beyond the capabilities of its competitors.
GPS, camera and notifications are just some of the functions mobile apps can access, and as mobile technology develops, this list will too.
With apps making full use of push-notifications, is it any surprise users are consuming more and more information via apps? The moment you hit publish, everyone who downloaded your app can receive a notification. A few seconds, and one tap, later and they can all be enjoying your content. The mobile web can’t compete with that.
2. Faster Speed
Because mobile apps are downloaded and installed on your device, users find them significantly quicker to run.
Rather than having to load up all the different images and functions — as you would with a mobile website — the app simply pulls everything up from files that already exist on the device.
With load times diminished, users have more time to sit back and enjoy the app in the way it was intended. An added benefit of having everything downloaded is that users don’t necessarily need an Internet connection to use your app — in fact, download enough content and your app can be 100% functional offline.
Some mobile websites can be rather confusing; if a site isn’t optimised for your device, it can feel like you’re navigating a minefield. In general, mobile apps are far more user-friendly, as the interface has been specifically designed with mobile-users in mind.
Mobile apps offer a simple layout, clear visuals and even tutorials for first-time users, all of which make using them that much easier. Providing your app users with an enjoyable experience will keep them in your app for longer periods at a time and reflect well on your business.
With an app storing your details, your usage history and your settings behind one convenient little button on your home screen, apps will always be the most convenient option. With mobile apps, users won’t need to manually login on an unfriendly mobile design everytime you want to use their favourite apps, as they can choose to remain signed in. Mobile web often doesn’t offer this level of user experience simplicity.
And, because your app can make use of the different features on your phone, an app offers the potential to centralise a number of different functions in one place, something that the mobile web doesn’t offer effectively.
5. Self Contained Environment
On the mobile web, you’re only in control of the content on your own site. The moment you link elsewhere — as you’ll be expected to — that control is gone.
With a mobile app, the developer can ensure that everything a user could possibly need is contained within the confines of the app.
When you control everything a user is able to see when using your app, it’s much easier to ensure all content is up to the standards you set yourself; from a user’s point of view, this can only be a good thing.
6. Brand Presence
When someone closes their mobile web browser, your website is gone from their mobile device.
When a user closes your mobile app, your brand remains on their device’s home screen. This means that your website visitors can be reminded of your brand, more than they would otherwise. By putting your brand in front of your website visitors or customers more often, they are more likely to open your app!
Your brand will also be present on mobile app stores such as the iOS and Android Play store. This provides an entirely new channel to raise your brand awareness, and attract new visitors and customers to your app!
Mobile apps are growing in popularity, and allow you access to new features and brand awareness that are simply not possible using only the mobile web. And, most importantly of all, people prefer using mobile apps over the mobile web! If your brand wants to capitalize on the huge amount of mobile device usage, it makes sense to start thinking about how exactly your brand’s mobile presence can be optimised.
The bad news is that mobile app development is hard, traditionally taking months of hard work and running up six figure development costs. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way if you already have a website!
With MobiLoud you can simply convert your website into iOS and Android apps! You’ll be ready to launch in just a few weeks, your apps will keep all the content and features of your site, and you’ll save more than 90% off the standard price tag. Our team will help you with all the tough parts of the build and submission process – and we’ll also take care of all ongoing maintenance work on the apps.
MobiLoud isn’t just for WordPress though – Canvas can be used to convert any website or web app into iOS and Android apps too! Whether your site is built on Squarespace, Bubble, Webflow, Wix, Laravel – or any other CMS – we can help you to turn it into a top quality mobile app.
We hope that this article has given you some interesting facts, figures and food for thought. If you’re interested in building mobile apps from your site, get in touch with one of our app advisors for a demo!