The different phases of mobile engagement

Today, I would like to speak about a recent study from Mor­gan Stan­ley, which analy­ses var­i­ous data relat­ed to traf­fic on mobile devices, and con­sumer behav­iour on these devices. This study pays par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the notion of mobile engage­ment and the great dif­fer­ence between vis­it­ing the mobile web­site of a brand and down­load­ing the appli­ca­tion of a brand.

Brows­er or app: which is one should we give pri­or­i­ty to?

The fig­ures from this study show that mobile brows­er traf­fic is 2 times larg­er than mobile app traf­fic, accord­ing to Com­Score data. More­over, the study branch of the Amer­i­can bank shows that this gap has been increas­ing over the years and that it is there­fore def­i­nite­ly not an epiphenomenon.

How­ev­er, these find­ings have to be com­pared with anoth­er recent study from Com­Score them­selves, this time indi­cat­ing that 87% of time spent on a mobile device is spent with­in an appli­ca­tion, but also that the time spent with­in apps has been con­stant­ly increasing.

These results may seem con­tra­dic­to­ry, and one can legit­i­mate­ly ask whether it is appro­pri­ate to favour one of the two as a brand. In real­i­ty, these two stud­ies mea­sure dif­fer­ent things, with dif­fer­ent approach­es, and are relat­ed to dif­fer­ent mobil­i­ty needs.

A two-stage strat­e­gy to build for the brands

Dur­ing these times spent on mobile, we indeed don’t do the same things. Today, the strongest mobile engage­ment occurs with­in appli­ca­tions, but the mobile sites traf­fic is impor­tant and grow­ing because it is very rare that an app is down­loaded from the start. We usu­al­ly starts by brows­ing, and the tran­si­tion between mobile and app only hap­pens when we’ve been able to iden­ti­fy a real solu­tion to a real need.

It is thus essen­tial to under­stand that “mobile first” does not mean “app first.” Indeed, the brands are well advised to devel­op a strat­e­gy in sev­er­al stages to con­vert the mobile user. To do this, the data, as often, is the foun­da­tion of every­thing: study its ana­lyt­ics to under­stand in which sit­u­a­tions the inter­ac­tion goes through a smart­phone brows­er, how long last the brows­ing, which con­tent / ser­vices / sec­tions are the most con­sult­ed or request­ed, etc.

There­fore, and at first, the main issue is about the first con­tact, the recog­ni­tion and the cre­ation a rela­tion­ship with the cus­tomer, through a web­site opti­mized for mobile.

This is a phase that brands can­not allow them­selves to ignore: users do not spend a lot of time brows­ing, but this is the first con­tact point of com­par­i­son, before then to switch to the appli­ca­tion, where the engage­ment is the strongest. It is there­fore essen­tial for brands to suc­ceed in cre­at­ing an appro­pri­ate and opti­mal expe­ri­ence, espe­cial­ly when we know that on aver­age, 50 to 60 appli­ca­tions are present on a smart­phone, but only 5 are actu­al­ly used.

Then, because the inter­ac­tions in the mobile site will have served as a base, it becomes appro­pri­ate to devel­op one or sev­er­al app(s) to deep­en engage­ment with the client / prospect / audi­ence. Through this appli­ca­tion, the brand will be able to devel­op a deep­er rela­tion­ship, by bring­ing the util­i­ty to its tar­get: allow­ing them to buy quick­er, to man­age accounts, to view infor­ma­tion, etc. Every­thing that serves the end user, engages him in a long rela­tion­ship with the brand, and makes him want to down­load an appli­ca­tion, but espe­cial­ly to keep it on his phone and use it regularly.

In con­clu­sion, it is impor­tant to keep in mind that in a world increas­ing­ly “mobile first”, engage­ment is the strongest with­in the appli­ca­tion, but that the ini­tial con­tact and the appe­tence for brand hap­pens first on the mobile site. In the end, this explains that there may be many peo­ple who browse mobile sites, but that the major­i­ty of time is spent in applications!

And for you, what is the ide­al mobile strat­e­gy? Do you tend to focus on the mobile site or rather the appli­ca­tion? Feel free to share your expe­ri­ences in the comments.