In today’s mobile-first world,
consumers are relying more on their mobile devices for all connected
experiences, whether it’s reading the news, watching a video, catching
up on social media or making purchases. Many companies have adapted to
this landscape and prioritized a mobile web presence. However, there are
still instances where it makes sense to focus attention primarily on
a desktop experience, so as the world continues to shift toward mobile,
how do you know when it’s time to start investing in mobile resources?
We posed this question to the members of Forbes Technology Council. Here’s what they say you should ask yourself when you’re considering a mobile app for your brand.
1. Will It Give You A Competitive Advantage?
First, a company should understand if there is customer demand
for mobile technology. Do its competitors have mobile capabilities and
is there a greater market opportunity if they have that
capability? They should understand the value it would bring to the
business, and then decide based on that value if now is the
best time to invest in those resources, or if they should wait. – Shawn Estes, Global Agora, LLC.
2. Is There A Clear User Problem That Would Be Solved By An App?
Businesses know that it is time to make an investment when it will
help drive maximum value for their users. Mobile apps are simply a
conduit for providing more value, like any other investment. This
technology should be pursued when there is a clear problem that can be
solved by integrating mobile solutions that desktop services are unable
to solve on their own. – Benjamin Nguyen, Sidebench
3. Do I Have A Basic Mobile-Friendly Online Presence?
A mobile presence is necessary even before a web presence. I see
too many companies hesitate in investing in their mobile presence,
but this is a mistake. It’s become second nature for users, regardless
of industry, to explore and shop on their smart devices before sitting
at a laptop and launching a Google search. You’ll reach a broader
audience if you tailor your brand with mobile in mind first. – Anna Frazzetto, Harvey Nash
4. Do I Want To Improve My SEO?
Mobile apps are no longer an optional side item, they’re now a must
have main course. Having an app for your existing website is already
proving to be a benefit to a website’s SEO ranking. Google currently
verifies the relationship between sites and apps by mapping app pages to
equivalent web pages. Apps also place your business one click away from
end-users versus search memorization. – Jeremy Merrell Williams, Vyudu Inc.
5. Do I Really Need A Native App, Or Just A Responsive Website?
If you don’t have a native app — i.e., one installed on a device from
an app store — you may want to invest in one if tapping into device
capabilities (photo, GPS, push notifications, etc.) is critical. It can,
however, be costly to develop for multiple operating systems. A more
cost-effective option is a responsive website, which will automatically
render content to fit the screen. – Kerry Bianchi, Visto
6. What Does My Audience Want From My Brand?
Audience listening is one of the most important things to track when
running any business. Whether you are considering an internal app for
employee use or a customer-facing web application, it is vital to listen
to the needs of your audience. If offline capabilities and greater
security are becoming more important to your audience, then a
web app may be a sound business investment. – Marcus Turner, Enola Labs
7. Are More Of My Customers Coming To My Website Through Mobile Devices?
The primary signal that it
is right to invest in designing your own app is a growing percentage of
users using your website on mobile devices. If you see that more and
more users opening your website on mobile devices, you need to
make mobile platforms more engaging. Since apps are almost always more
efficient on smaller screens as compared to websites, it makes sense to
create one. – Vikram Joshi, pulsd
8. Can My App Provide Value Beyond What’s On My Website?
When it comes to deciding whether or not your brand should have
an app, you need to ask if you can provide value beyond what
your website offers. If you’re simply replicating your web content on
a mobile app, maybe it’s not the right time. How are you making your
customers lives easier with an app? – Sanjay Malhotra, Clearbridge Mobile