19 Sep Understanding the Mobile Web Development Landscape
The mobile web is simply the Internet accessed through a mobile device. All smartphones and some feature phones have a browser built into the interface and the browsers are specific to the device, but with some technical work and a mobile UI (User Interface), a mobile optimized website will be viewable by all the major smartphones.
Businesses typically need to be concerned with four (4) forms of mobile web sites:
1. Mobile Micro Sites and Landing Pages
These are created specifically to focus consumer attention on one aspect of a company’s message or brand, such as http://slimfast321.mobi which is used as a “landing page” or simple payoff to the consumer to get more information from a larger marketing campaign.
Tara Scarlett, Senior Manager of CRM and Mobile Marketing for Coca-Cola reported that at any given time, Coke has several different mobile web sites/landing pages operating that tie into various campaigns.
This enables marketers to tag their company URL in broad scale ad campaigns, so they can now actively promote their mobile web presence through their “mobile URLs” or drive customers through mobile ad campaigns that click directly to these landing pages.
2. Corporate Mobile Sites
These are basic corporate sites featuring a mixture of static and dynamic content that’s configured for the smart phone interface. They may also include secure, membership areas, or they could just be a pure B2C mobile consumer website.
3. Mobile Media Sites
This could be a media-driven site optimized or created specifically for the mobile web. ABC News, SBS World News, BBC News, Nine MSN etc all have mobile optimised sites and generate millions of views per month through them.
Facebook also classifies as a large scale media site and is widely publicized to have one of the largest, if not the largest, mobile traffic on the web: http://m.facebook.com/
4. Mobile Commerce Sites
Here in Australia, the last three years truly have been a wake-up call for retailers to the fact that consumers want to connect with them via the mobile web.
One major retail store noted recently just how much activity was coming directly from mobile devices (by looking at their web log files and analytics) – and what brands of mobile devices their customers tended to have. They found the results to be quite astonishing with more than 50% web activity coming directly from mobile devices here in Sydney.
Mobile web activity can often be driven simply by a consumer wanting to know a store location on the go, or a phone number to check product availability – and can often lead to a mobile commerce transaction. Here, understanding customer needs and determining optimal content strategies is essential.
If your company is running a national advertising campaign across specific (or multiple) channels in a given week, chances are that specific content is what consumers may be looking for on the mobile web, so be sure to parallel path your mobile website or app with your advertising campaign. Mobile retailers who do this are noting higher order sizes and conversion rates with mobile optimized sites, as compared to non-optimized mobile websites.
The reality is, if you want the edge over your competitors in a technology driven economy, consumers have already voted with their phones and you need to jump on board.
In conclusion, the difference between mobile web functionality and app functionality is simple. Mobile web provides the audience with a destination, an access point and a conduit into your full website(s), or specific content verticals. Whereas apps provide a greater level of community engagement, locality, and specificity to the audience and how they prefer to use their mobile device. In a perfect world, you need both.