With mobile penetration rates hitting 101% in North America and an amazing 129% in Western Europe, the decision of investing in a mobile-first strategy will not come as a surprise to many business owners.
It is now accepted as a common truth that we are living in a mobile age and any business that wants to be competitive and successful must build its mobile presence through apps and mobile-optimized sites. However, what may not be as clear is the impact that a good mobile-first strategy can have on building long-lasting customer relationships.
Recent statistics from Adobe Digital Index have shed some light on the relationship between mobile apps and customer loyalty, proving why building a mobile app is a worthy investment for small and medium enterprises. Measuring engagement on apps versus web for more than 600 brands, Adobe’s mobile trends report proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that mobile app users are more loyal to your brand than those who visit your website from a mobile device.
Here are some of the most striking insights excerpted from Adobe’s Digital Marketing Report.
Apps are used for longer
App sessions are 3-4 times longer than those spent browsing websites, hitting almost 24 minutes on tablets and 13 on smartphones, against an average of 4.5 minutes spent visiting mobile sites.
This is mostly due to the different purposes of the searches carried out on the two media. While mobile sites are used to obtain quick information – such as checking locations, looking up business phone numbers and clicking on an e-mail offer –, mobile apps are preferred for prolonged activities or to access exclusive contents and deals.
Prolonged app sessions translate into a valuable opportunity for brands to take advantage of a higher level of concentration and interest from users, and therefore to deliver marketing messages and consolidate relationship.
Apps are used twice as often as mobile sites
With an average of almost 9.8 times a month, apps are used twice more often than mobile sites (4.4 times/month). How does this affect small business marketing? More frequent app sessions mean that app users are more inclined to pay attention to brand news and, as a result, expect to be gratified with dedicated in-app coupons and special deals. In other words, apps offer a great opportunity for small businesses to drive engagement with loyal customers, in terms of loyalty cards, wall chat, special coupons and booking forms.
The people who are willing to download your app are those customers who already know your brand and feel they have a relationship with you. As a result, they expect your app to provide an experience that they cannot find in your mobile website, something that’s really engaging and quick to respond.
Top apps: Financial & Travel Apps
When it comes to the app type, the report shows that financial apps are used 30% more frequently than any other app type. This is because new banking and investment apps are perceived as more secure and make logging in and use much easier than the website. In other words, financial apps succeed in providing the utility that customers are looking for.
On the other hand, travel apps are used the longest (with an average of 22 minutes per session), as travellers and vacationers are are more willing to download and use hotel, airline and car rental applications, offering an amazing opportunity to SMEs to monetize through advertising.
Android vs iOS
On average, Android apps are used 40% more often, but iOS apps still get twice as much time spent per month. When it comes to users behaviour, Android users are more likely to download a higher number of applications, but they also seem to be more inclined to discard them after the first openings.
Mobile sites and apps cannot be an “either or” proposition
The end result of the whole Adobe’ Digital Marketing Report is that brands need to continue to invest in both mobile sites and apps, as the two media serve different purposes and support each other in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
The key to an all-round mobile-first strategy is to measure and analyse usage patterns to better understand user behaviour and learn how to differentiate the services offered via app and mobile site for a more satisfying mobile experience.