How Mobile Apps Can Boost Business
by Corissa Poley
If humanity decided on a global scale to convert each smartphone being used today into one proper stone pyramid block, we’d currently have 432 pyramids to showcase as a species (1). That’s a lot of pyramids, and it’s also a lot of smartphone users. The ever-growing number of smartphone users in the world, if you’re wondering, is around 1.08 billion. The mobile platform is growing rapidly, and it is clear to much of the industry that important online advertising, branding, and website design changes must be made to grow with this mobile movement.
Facebook, for example, has recently integrated mobile advertising in a rigorous fashion, and website developers are constantly creating responsive websites. Your customers are visiting your social media profiles and website right from their phones. 2013 has been predicted as the year that mobile internet usage will surpass browser internet usage, meaning more of your customers are visiting your social media profiles and website right from their phones than from their home or work computer. 53% of Americans (~157 million) own a smartphone, and 82% of them used their smartphone to browse the web in 2012 (2). That number only gets bigger.
So what do we do with all of this information?
It is clear that the mobile audience is huge, and that there’s a great amount of potential there. Many web developers and marketing agencies are at work attempting to be part of this influential movement, right now, by creating responsive websites that make it easy to shop online or to contact them from the front page. So there is potential on the web to respond to this mobile movement with the right responsive website, mobile advertising… Or what? Is there a third option?
Yes, there is. According to Nielsen’s mobile report for 2012 (3), 62% of Americans used smartphone apps, and 53% of Americans used smartphone apps to shop from their device. According to Google, there are currently about 313 million people in America, which means that there are roughly 166 million people who shopped from their smartphone apps in 2012. That’s a massive potential audience reach for your product or service.
Social media is meant to be an organic and natural conversation with the customer. Traditional advertising methods don’t work online as well as they do in person. Currently smartphone users are expected to receive about one mobile advertisement per day. Compared to the many ads we’re inundated with on a regular basis, that doesn’t seem so bad. We’re still, as a digital culture, trying to gauge the customer’s response to those advertisements (4). But the fact remains that not only are there 166 million Americans shopping from apps, but that mobile applications generated over $8 billion in revenue in 2012 (5). The opportunities to edge in on the app market are endless. Forbes calls the “App-Ocalypse” one of the most disruptive marketing trends of 2013 (6).
The point is simple: your business needs an app.
It is a way to communicate with users in a way that is completely tailored to your brand, your product, or your service. Whether it is simply a page with your menu and a page about your restaurant’s heritage, an interactive game involving your product, a map of your store, a contact form, or a store where they can purchase directly from you, providing that information to the customer in a digestible form is important. They are seeking out your business, and what better way to reach your current audience as well as a wider audience than to meet them where they are? They are on their smartphones, downloading apps and using them on a daily basis.
Quality apps may seem priced out of range for smaller businesses, but that is changing rapidly with the market. There are products now in development and emergent stages, which will allow the creation of an app with more creativity and less code. Prices will drop as these mobile monsters become more popular. As with any platform, a rise in application development will create a drop in prices. Dream Local itself is in process as well, working to face the explosive mobile app market with quality apps and great design.
Be careful to not only prepare your own app, but to watch the market carefully in 2013 and evaluate which application service you may want to use. As with any market trend, being ahead of the curve is always helpful. Connecting with your audience and meeting them where they are is essential to opening up that door of free conversation. Once you establish your knowledge and expertise, they will come through that door to find you when they need answers. Be there, on the train, or while they’re at the park, or if they’re just looking for a place to eat, and provide what you provide best for the customer right on their smartphone.
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