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Google’s recent decision to favor mobile-friendly websites in its SEO rankings has created a stir in the business world. However, this decision makes sense as the average user spends nearly three hours on his mobile device every single day.
While having a mobile-friendly site is certainly necessary, this alone is not enough to create a relevant brand in consumers’ eyes.
In our ever-growing digital world, web browsers are just one of the many tools people use to scour the Internet for information and services. To utilize the full value of the mobile web, companies must also look into creating relevant mobile apps.
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Interactivity is a Two-Way Street
Visiting traditional websites is similar to watching TV. They provide a one-way street of communication in which the consumer isn’t much more than a viewer, observer, and learner. Incorporating social media, email subscriptions, and live chat can make it seem more interactive, but even with adaptive frames, the content is still mostly stagnant.
On the other hand, the push notifications made possible by mobile apps boast much higher engagement rates. Walmart sent customers push notifications regarding products they had previously shown interest in, resulting in a 100 percent boost in user retention rates. Native apps also take advantage of geolocation services and other data not easily accessible through a website to help companies create more targeted, engaging notifications and offers.
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Maximize Your Brand's Visibility
Are you afraid no one will download your app? Don’t be.
Think about all the emails you send every day. By simply adding a link to the app in your email signature, you’re organically and easily spreading the word to a captive audience. Also, be sure to tell your social media audience about your new app. At least a handful of them will be interested in checking it out. And if they like it, they’ll definitely encourage their friends to do so as well.
While Google is secretive about the specifics of its new SEO algorithms, I can confidently tell you that having a mobile app will help your search engine rankings. Google’s system places a high value on linking, so the more brand-related links you send out, the better.
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Are Native Apps Right For You?
Having a native app definitely rounds out your company’s mobile presence, but the development process can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. It’s important to conduct thorough market research to ensure your app will effectively enhance your offering in the eyes of your target demographic.
In some rare cases, you may find that a native app provides little to no benefits to your company. Perhaps, your company targets an elderly demographic that doesn’t use smartphones. Or maybe your budget simply can’t handle the cost of creating a great, useful app and providing regular updates as app software continues to advance. It’s definitely not worth creating a buggy, clunky app that nobody will use.
Every aspect of your online presence — your website, your social media accounts, and your apps — are an extension of your brand and should convey a consistent look and message. These are all essential avenues that work in tandem to teach customers about your brand and provide an opportunity for valuable two-way communication.
Add value to your current and potential consumers’ lives by creating a well-rounded digital presence for your brand. And add value to your brand by benefitting from the more targeted, engaging marketing opportunities that apps provide.
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About the Author
Laxman Sankaran is an inventor and entrepreneur with more than 18 years of experience in programming and software development for organizations, including the U.S. government and Fortune 100 companies. He’s proficient in native app development and leads product teams in architecture, e-commerce, mobile, and SaaS. Laxman built AppNotch because he wants to empower all people with an idea or business to develop their own app.