iphone

Mobile Website or Mobile App

This is going to be part one of a multipart series on the changing landscape of the mobile phone industry from mobile app driven to mobile website driven.

Though the years of running The Technology Geek we have seen the internet change drastically. We have seen Windows XP then the failure of Vista and the wide adoption of Windows 7. While Microsoft Windows moved ahead we watched a shift from the computer to the mobile market with Apple’s release of the iPhone in 2007.

When the iPhone released a little over a year later they released the App Store which started the mobile app boom of the second decade of the millennium. The same way the computer boom affected the 80s and the DOT COM boom affected the 90s.

But now again a shift has begun in the mobile market. The phone has become more than just a device with apps it’s become people’s web browser. The addition of Firefox and Chrome to the mobile market started another Netscape, AOL, Internet Explorer browser war like we watched in the 90s.

A shift has started on the mobile market from let’s build an app for our website to let’s build a mobile friendly website. What websites are finding is users are using feature-driven apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and Word to communicate and get work done but are using their mobile browsers to read and search for content.

So a user many use their Google search app for the voice feature but the content they pull up will be from a website. Most users will not find an article they want to read on say the New York Post website then say before I read this article let me download the mobile app so I can read the article through the app. What analytics has shown recently is if a user has to down a mobile app to read an article they will just move on to the next article and not bother downloading the app.

Another issue with delivering content through mobile apps is many users get their news through Facebook, Apple News, Google News or Twitter. They click on a link which is in their feed that brings them to a mobile friendly responsive website. Very few mobile apps forward you to others apps outside their echo system. For example, if you open a link in the Facebook mobile app you will get forwarded to a responsive mobile website but if you notice you never leave the Facebook app.

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The Techcrunch article above was a link I clicked on in my feed you can see the Techcrunch mobile site inside my Facebook app. Facebook does not forward you to the Apple App Store to download the Techcrunch Mobile App to read the article. Facebook like many other apps needs to keep you inside their mobile app to read the article to gain the analytical information for advertising.

Will users use your mobile app if you design one the answer is yes? But your mobile app is for your dedicated reads, not readers who are trying to find content or your site for the first time. Having a mobile app will not attract new users it will help you keep your current ones happy and returning for years to come on their mobile device using your mobile app.