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.