How Hybrid Apps will help your Mobile Marketing Strategy
Ever since the “App Store” phenomenon began, there have been many discussions pitting Native Apps against Web Apps. Which are better? To me, this debate is peculiar – a bit like asking business owners, “Would you rather have a website or a phone number?”
Technologies often work synergistically to generate more business. When it comes to Native Apps and Web Apps, both are important to businesses that want to build a comprehensive Mobile Marketing Strategy.
Let’s start by defining our terms. Native Apps are mobile phone applications that are downloaded from the App store and are customized to run on a particular type of mobile device, like an iPhone, iPad or Android device. Web Apps, on the other hand, reside on the web, and users link to them with phone browsers
My advice? Based on our experience at MobileAppLoader – which has 1,000 customers with Apps in App Stores – I recommend taking a holistic approach. That means building Hybrid Apps, which combine the benefits of both native and web-based applications.
Why are Native Apps so critical to businesses? Hard data indicates that people are spending more time with Apps than on the web these days. Let’s look at some recent statistics, reported by Flurry Analytics, showing that consumers spend a daily 81 minutes with mobile Apps and only 74 minutes on the Web.
“Our analysis shows that, for the first time ever, daily time spent in mobile apps surpasses desktop and mobile web consumption. This stat is even more remarkable if you consider that it took less than three years for native mobile apps to achieve this level of usage, driven primarily by the popularity of iOS [iPhone/iPad/iPod] and Android platforms,” Flurry reports. *
If you are still not convinced that your business needs an App, I recommend asking yourself a few questions:
- Are your customers mobile?
- Do your customers use mobile devices?
- Will prospective customers be searching for your business – and businesses like yours – on their mobile devices?
- Does your business need to reflect cutting-edge technology?
I won’t argue that every business needs a mobile marketing strategy, but many clearly do. For instance, if most of your customers are 25-44 years old, you need a plan. People in this age group comprise 50% of all smartphone users in the market, according to a recent ComScore report. **
There are a total of 70 Million smart devices in the US market today – and the number is growing. If you decide not to pursue a mobile marketing strategy for your business now, there is a good chance you’ll need to reconsider soon. It is estimated that in 2011, nearly half of all mobile devices will be smart phones, giving their users easy access to App Stores. Customers will expect all businesses to have an App – just like, somewhat more than a decade ago, customers began expecting every business to have a website.
So when planning your Mobile Marketing Strategy, what kind of App should you choose?
- a Native App, which can be found in an App Store and downloaded directly to your phone’s home screen? (It launches on the phone’s native operating system (OS), hence the name “Native.”)
Or, should you choose
- a web app? (This is a website that looks like an App.) In very simple terms, a web app displays web pages that are narrowed to fit the screen-size of the device. Touch buttons within the app are, in fact, links to different web-based URLs. This type of app, however, can only be utilized after launching mobile browsers and typing in the relevant URLs.
Both of the aforementioned apps serve a purpose, and when thinking about your mobile marketing strategy, it’s wise to consider the synergy between Native Apps and the Web Apps. Each can complement the other – and work independently in certain scenarios.
Native Apps have several unique features that help consumers discover your business and help your business engage consumers on a regular basis.
- Discover – If you don’t have a Native App, you won’t be discovered in the App Stores. Period. You won’t exist. To become visible to the growing market of people spending more time with Apps than on the Web, you need a Native App, which is listed and searchable in App Stores.
- Engagement - Once your customers have downloaded your Native App, you can send them alerts, otherwise known as “notifications.” This is a feature unique to native apps. Web apps cannot offer it. With the ability to send alerts/notifications, your business can broadcast news about sales, merchandise arrivals, even coupons, which can include colorful eye-catching graphics.
Web Apps also have certain advantages, which can be used to complete your mobile strategy.
- Non-App Phones – For mobile devices that offer web browsing but lack App Store access, web apps enable users to view businesses online, provided the phone users have an Internet connection.
- Remote Updating – Web apps tend to be easier to devlop and faster to update.
Symbiosis between Native Apps and Web Apps
MobileAppLoader has developed the Hybrid App, which incorporates advantages of both native and web apps. We believe this has been one key to our success. We combine discoverability, engagement, ease of development and updating, as well as a wide range of apps for iPhones, iPads and Android-based devices.
MobileAppLoader’s Hybrid Apps are – put simply – native apps that can also fetch content from the web upon request. Local content, such as phone numbers and street addresses, are always available to users regardless of their phone’s Internet connection. Fetched content, such as videos and database searches (e.g. automotive dealership inventory searches and real estate property searches) can be executed upon request. This “fetched” content, which resides on the Internet, is delivered through web-app functionality that is rendered in the Native App. As mentioned earlier, Hybrid Apps also win visibility in App Stores and have the ability to engage customers with alerts/notifications.
Hybrid Apps: The Best of Both Mobile Worlds
The choice isn’t either-or. It’s both. An effective mobile marketing strategy requires the ability to reach the growing number of Smart Phone users who are spending an increasing amount of time with Apps. When deciding what kind of app to build, don’t think in terms of native versus web. You’ll need functionalities of both. Think instead of how to offer your customers the best mobile experience – because that reflects well upon you.
To learn more about how you can build a Hybrid App for your business, click here.