Should Brand Owners be App or Browser Focused as Mobile Internet Access Grows?


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Access to the Internet is moving more and more mobile everyday. Not a surprise when most people have their mobile phone within an arm reach 24 hours of the day.

This trend, though, is changing the nature of what people are doing, what they need and (importantly) how they access the Internet for information, shopping, entertainment and interacting with others.

Facebook has been struggling with investor confidence ever since they listed, as it is clear that more and more people are using mobiles to access the site. They do not know yet how to fully generate revenue from that traffic, unlike when people access via a browser on a computer. I have previously written about this challenge that all brands and businesses face by the growth of access via mobile in “Why All Brand Owners, and Not Just Facebook, Should be Concerned About Growing Access of Internet By Mobile

The growth of mobile access is being driven, of course, by:
  • Smartphones. Use of these is growing fast. This is because all mobile phone handset makers are improving the capability and the accessibility to broader and wider types of users. Apple, Samsung and HTC all have breakthrough handsets, and constantly are improving and updating them.
  • Tablets. Driven by the Apple iPad initially, these devices are becoming an increasingly important way for people to surf and consume content.
  • Wi-Fi and 3G. Free or low cost wi-fi and fast data capability to be able to access the Internet out-of-home is making use of it a norm. Bearing in mind that for 24 hours of the day, a person is usually within an arm reach of their mobile phone, this makes mobile and phone access also more practical and easy.

One of the challenges, and limitations of, accessing the internet on a smartphone is that using a traditional web browser is clumsy and difficult. Which is why Apps have become so popular, as they can be more efficient ways to access content you really need.
Usually when people get a smartphone they go App crazy. Downloading every one that may slightly interest. Over time that settles and a few core ones get used.
The power of Apps and how key they are to accessing information was driven home during London 2012 Olympics. They had 2 Apps that provided guidance, information and up-to-date results. It meant you could keep posted and in-touch without struggling typing in URLs and so on.

I believe that Apps will be key to make the Smartphone and Tablet really work best for accessing the internet. Since this is the future of online access, this means that Apps may be more key than the traditional browser access.

The challenge for brands is to figure out how to integrate into this usage and prime way of accessing content via Apps. It is very unlikely that brand specific apps will be the way to go. Consumers will not want Apps for every brand they use. But if you are not integrated into the usage of Apps, you risk being “frozen out” of the being seen by the consumer. So the faster that online properties like Facebook figure that out so Brands can get in front of consumers the better for everyone.

This Infographic developed by illustrates just how huge the Apps market already is. In it it highlights:
  • Half of mobiles already are smartphones – and this is growing.
  • Mobile App usage has doubled in the last year.
  • The average number of Apps on a Smartphone grew from 32 to 41 in the last year.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gary Bembridge
30 years of marketing experience managing and building brands globally for companies like Unilever and Johnson & Johnson, as a Global Vice President Global Marketing. Now a freelance marketing consultant, blogger and podcaster. The podcast has won awards in the European Podcast Awards (Business) the last 2 years.


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