When Google launched their revolutionary app indexing facility in 2013 it marked a key moment in time for the future of how apps will be used by businesses. Google App Indexing basically makes it possible to click on any of the listings in Google’s search results directly into apps on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. This, of course adds a new level of complexity to search engine optimization and of course the potential for apps. It has taken until 2016 for businesses worldwide to begin to realize the online visibility benefits of having their own dedicated app to represent their companies. In the interim period, over the past few years, all of the focus has been on mobile optimized web sites. Of course these are still vital but it is looking like being even more important to have dedicated apps going forward. In a way, the way that mobile sites have dominated and appealed to such a broad cross-section of society could have signalled their replacement by dedicated apps. Mobile sites may be looked at similarly to the portable cassette player and apps as the iPod or iPhone – one a necessary foundation for the creation and global domination of the other.
Why would apps dominate the market in the near future, you may ask? Well, apps are capable of doing everything that websites can do, and yet they do it more smoothly, more intuitively and in a convenient and accessible package. This trend will arguably not fully kick in for several years, but there is no doubt that 2016 is viewed by insiders as a crucial year in the beginning of the adoption of apps by business owners across the globe. It is clear that the ‘app’ is the big winner in terms of the most exciting innovation as we stand today in online marketing. Mobile is going to continue to dominate and with this trend the zeitgeist will shift to see searching and app usage intrinsically linked. Purchases will be made via apps and inevitably advertising consumed through apps as well. Businesses need to begin preparations yesterday!
Let’s take a look at some key facts and stats supporting the case for the app.
- According to the latest research, mobile users spend 89% of the time that they spend on their mobiles using apps.
- Jayson DeMers, who is the founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, has made the bold prediction that apps will become the dominant force in meeting informational and functional needs within the next 10-20 years.
- Apps are easily more comfortable to use on smaller screens than even the best mobile sites.
- Apps are best placed to respond better to voice-based search options that are likely to improve and become more prevalent.
- When compared to outdated online search methods, apps benefit from new integration capabilities that enable them to deliver highly accurate results.
In terms of what 2016 and 2017 will start to see, we will likely witness the continued blurring of the lines between social, apps and e-commerce. The old stigma that people won’t shop on social media will be trampled down and the possibilities of call to action buttons and links between apps will surely win out. Businesses will look to compete with ever more ingenious ideas of making their app the one that will not only be easy to use but offer users something that makes the app an integral part of their lifestyle. The more synonymous with lifestyle that apps become the more likely they are to become indispensable and users will inevitably end up doing much of the online marketingfor the brand behind their app via social sharing and simply ‘wearing the badge’ with pride.