We all know it – the world is currently going through a mobile revolution. Consider these key stats:
1. On average, people check their smartphones 34 times each day
2. 91% of adults have their smartphone within arm’s reach 24/7
3. Users spend on average 127 minutes each day using mobile applications
4. Mobile web usage increases at 34% each year, and will overtake desktop web usage by 2015
It is clear that the mobile space is growing, and within a few years it will grow to become an essential part of every business’ digital strategy. However, while the technology has clearly advanced, the same can’t be said for the agency landscape and how businesses are approaching their mobile strategy.
Today, too many businesses are relying on their traditional digital agencies with a web focus to do their mobile strategies, when in fact a mobile specialist agency should be used for this new and unique channel. Mobile, as a medium and channel of communication, has grown so much in the last few years that it is now an entirely new field in itself, distinct in technology and design to the point that a separate set of rules and strategies are required.
Despite superficial similarities, mobile is different to traditional web-based digital products in many ways. Technically, 80% of mobile usage time is spent in apps, not the browser, so the underlying technology used to create mobile solutions is Objective C and Java, rather than web-based HTML. Behaviourally, people use mobile more spontaneously than desktop – in trains, while waiting for the bus, in cafes, and as a result, the usage pattern and attention span is different to that of a desktop device. User experience-wise, mobile is limited by screen space, which makes apps structurally different to their desktop and web counterparts.
This isn’t even taking into account other factors such as app store approval, legalities around how functionalities can be implemented, hardware limitations due to device fragmentation, and differences in mobile app SEO and marketing guidelines that make mobile a distinctly different space than other digital solutions.
Thus, when the underlying medium is so distinct from each other, the overall strategy and thinking process for solving a mobile-related business objective must also be different to accommodate for the differences in technology, behaviour, and design.
As such, having both web and mobile under the traditional web-focused digital umbrella is misleading, and I have come across many cases where an agency believes they can do mobile because they have done other digital and web products, but then they have stumbled at each step of their mobile campaign, at the strategy, design, development, and marketing stages when they attempt to apply their web-based approaches to their mobile solution.
At Buuna we work with clients who understand that the digital ecosystem has grown too large to exist under one generic umbrella. While you need web specialists for web and other digital products, you also need mobile specialists for mobile. Both need to co-exist, but specialists are required if you want success in both fields, and you can no longer rely on traditional web-based digital agencies for your mobile campaigns if you want to achieve measurable and meaningful results.
Paul Lin is CEO and founder of strategic mobile agency Buuna.