Why do businesses still use web-focused digital agencies to build mobile apps? CEO of strategic mobile and innovations agency Buuna, Paul Lin has posed the question, and believes the use of the mobile phone in our every waking hour has spurred the need for separate agencies for mobile and digital strategies.
Lin cited some compelling statistics to make his point:
1. On average, people check their smartphones 34 times each day
2. 91% of adults have their smartphone within arms 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
"Currently however, many businesses are relying on their traditional digital agencies to do their mobile strategies, and coming across issues due to the unique nature of mobile. While the technology is advancing, the same can’t be said for the agency landscape and how businesses are approaching their mobile strategy," Lin said.
"As a medium and channel of communication, mobile has grown in recent years to the point where it is an entirely new field in itself. Despite superficial similarities, mobile is different to traditional web-based digital products - distinct in technology and design, and requiring a separate set of rules and strategies."
According to Lin, 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.
Lin cited 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, as all contributing to making mobile a distinctly different space than other digital solutions.
"Considering this, it is only logical that the strategy and thinking process for meeting a mobile business objective would have to be different to accommodate for technological, behavioral and design factors," he said.
"Having both web and mobile under the same traditional web-focused digital umbrella is misleading, because many digital agencies will stumble at each step of a mobile campaign – strategy, design, development, marketing – when they attempt to apply their web-based approaches to their mobile solution. While web specialists are essential for web and other digital products, mobile specialists are essential for mobile.
"With mobile web usage predicted to overtake desktop web usage by 2015*, businesses are increasingly implementing mobile campaigns, and to do this successfully and achieve measurable and meaningful results, a strategic mobile agency is vital."
*Statistics from LocalVox's 2013 Mobile Marketing Statistics / http://www.slideshare.net/LocalVox/2013-mobile-stats-24437821