Trends Assessment 7546 Paper


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Paper discussing the trend of Mobile web replacing apps. Great discussion including financial implications and potential for trend going into the future.

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Trends Assessment 7546 Paper

  1. 1. Mobile Web: There’s Not An App For That Trends Assessment – Marketing 7546 The University of Memphis Sam McDaniel 2/14/2012
  2. 2. Mobile Web: There’s Not An App For That February 14, 2012 Historical Overview Mobile web has been around since smart phones could first access the internet. Goingforward, mobile web should be poised to overtake mobile apps as the primary means individualaccess information on their smart phones. In addition to being poised to overtake mobile apps,mobile web is poised to replace apps for many of the tasks that apps dominate (shown below). If mobile web is poised to overtake mobile apps, then where are they now? A chartprovided by eMarketer provides a current representation (Cavazza, 2011). As you can see, mobile apps still currently reign, primarily because everyone wasfocused on apps with the release of the first iPhone (“There’s an app for that”). While apps canbetter engage consumers, the fact is that mobile web has become more economically viable(discussing more in a moment) and easier to manage/update with tools such as HTML5.Through HTML5 a company’s site can be optimized for usage on a desktop or smart phone.Where apps are tied to a specific platform, mobile web can be accessed across all platforms, thusdelivering a more consistent experience in the process. The financial impact and potential impact on business is tremendous. According toestimates by Forrester Research, the financial impact of mobile commerce driven by mobile webis estimated to reach $31 billion in the United States by 2016 (Hardawar, 2011). While thefinancial impact is will only reach 7% by 2016, the mobile web trend will force companies to bemore transparent in pricing policies as well as creating an environment in which consumers have 2
  3. 3. Mobile Web: There’s Not An App For That February 14, 2012new and better experiences in stores (Hardawar, 2011). For mobile commerce in the U.S., thecustomer will primarily research on the phone in store or on the go. Europe reflects much of thesame thing. In Europe, mobile commerce is expected to hit £12 Billion in 2012, up from £7.7Billion in 2011 (Mobile Commerce to Surge in Europe). The article indicates Europe actssimilar to the US in regards to smart phones and commerce via mobile web. The ROI related to mobile web is also a key point in the trend taking off. Based off anestimate of 234 Million US consumers with smart phones, below is a chart detailing the ROI ofmobile web compared with mobile app (Maxwell, 2011). This shows not only a stronger ROIwith mobile websites, but also lower costs with bringing a mass product to market. Channel Cost Reach Number of People Per $ Mobile Website $ 30,000 36.40% 2839.20 Mobile App (iPhone Only) $ 30,000 6.75% 526.67 Mobile App (iPhone, Android, BB) $ 90,000 23.04% 599.00 How Mobile Web is Currently Being Utilized One company that is embracing the trend is SESAC, which is a performing rightsorganization based in Nashville, TN. Similar to ASCAP and BMI, the Company’s goal is torepresent the rights of recording artists to be compensated for their music being performed inpublic (SESAC, Inc.). The Company contracted with Centresource Interactive Agency inNashville, TN to create a mobile website to complement their existing site (CentresourceInteractive Agency). SESAC knew that mobile web growth was significant and that smart phone users wouldoutnumber desktop users by 2014 (Centresource Interactive Agency). Centresource created amobile version of the existing site that was fully optimized and could be accessed by SESAC’sprimary customers, recording artists, who are always on the road. With the creation of themobile website, customers could track news, earnings, performances, etc. while also findinformation about composers and copyrights (Centresource Interactive Agency). In furtherdiscussions with my expert (Yeargin, 2012), he indicated that much of the drive behind goingwith a mobile site was due to the Company’s desire not to be locked into certain platforms, aswell as not wanting to retain the services of an additional company to service the app. Based on what information I have available, I think SESAC was very accurate in theirthought process for utilizing the technology. For an entity such as this, excess costs associatedwith maintaining multiple tools could easily be funneled back into serving the artists. My onecriticism about their mobile platform would be that not 100% of the information available on thewebsite is available on the mobile site, such as the history of the organization. All of the trulynecessary information for artists can be found on the site, but I am thinking about the potentialindividuals that are looking for other reasons than representation. Another Company that is moving towards the mobile web platform is Raven InternetMarketing Tools out of Nashville, TN. (Raven Internet Marketing Tools). Raven is an online 3
  4. 4. Mobile Web: There’s Not An App For That February 14, 2012platform that helps users quickly manage, monitor, and report on all things internet marketingrelated. Their existing customer base includes Outback Steakhouse,, and PBS. TheCompany boasts thousands of customers worldwide. Raven currently has a mobile app available for customers through iTunes for free.According to my expert (Yeargin, 2012), the Company did not develop the app and paidsomeone to build/support the tool. As the Company adds to their platform offerings, there arelimits to what the app can do beyond the basic dashboard type views. I think the Company willeventually stop supporting the mobile app in favor of the mobile website. Much of theCompany’s reasons for making the switch were for cost savings and design responsiveness (i.e.ease of update across multiple platforms and consistency/simplicity in design not afforded byapp). I think they also recognize the need to be 100% engaged with their customers. I am surprised by the fact an Internet Marketer got on the app bandwagon before makingthe switch to mobile web. While it appears to be the best move for their customers, I can onlyaccess their true mobile platform if I am a customer. They have provided the traditional websitefor viewing on a mobile device, which is a bit problematic as it is not optimized for a phone. Potential Applications Since consumers carry their smart phones everywhere, there is significant need to providemobile web across social, shopping, and other mediums. One medium that is heavy inapplications but not web services is fitness. I can go to any app store, and get a calorie counter,pedometer, etc. Most people run with their phones, but unless you have an iPhone, you can’tutilize a service like Nike Plus. The online community does not have a web presence, but couldreach an untapped market of non-Apple users along the way. If I had my Android phone, inconjunction with my phone’s gyroscope and GPS, I could immediate log on to, sync to myPhone, and off I go. This would update in real time with the primary website, and allow the userto immediately interact with other members of the community. Another potential use could be for the businessman who has a bad habit of losingbusiness cards. LinkedIn is great, but it is not always accessible or up to date. Business cardsnow come with QR codes that allow for ease of contact input into your phone. What I did notfind in my search was a networking service that initially utilizes QR codes, but offers a real timeupdate capabilities via mobile web. Here’s my scenario. I receive a business card from aprospect and scan their QR code, which will upload the contact to a website, which will beoptimized for mobile phones. As the contact changes jobs, that person’s information is updatedon the service’s primary website and mobile site in real time, as well as the individual’s phonelist. The information is always available, and fills in a void that is not currently met via LinkedInor other networking systems. Interview with My Expert I sat down to interview Stephen Yeargin, who is currently the Development Coordinatorat Raven Internet Marketing Tools in Nashville, TN. (Yeargin, 2012). After discussing the 4
  5. 5. Mobile Web: There’s Not An App For That February 14, 2012mobile web trend with him, his indications reflected the primary driver of the trend is ROI.While certain situations are more conducive to web apps, Stephen indicated that more of hisCompany’s customers are leaning towards what he called “responsive design”, which allows forwebsites to be built in a manner that will automatically adjust between devices. The end resultbeing better consistency with a user’s experience and less hurdles to jump through in regards todesign, etc. I asked several questions to Stephen; primarily about the trend. In talking with him aboutthe benefits for a company that wants to shift their mobile presence from an app format to amobile web format, he said the following (Yeargin, 2012). “(Mobile Web is) (e)asier to maintain and faster to market. The development shops that build your full desktop website are keenly aware that they need to offer mobile versions and have started building those costs into their proposals to win contracts. The number one driver of consumer interaction on mobile is search. If they find or arrive at your website, you want to make sure they have a positive experience and can actually use it.” In terms of effort, I was interested in the amount of effort needed to build an app vs. amobile site, as well as effort involved in migrating to a mobile site (Yeargin, 2012). “As with all development, approaches are refined year after year that lowers the barriers to entry. There are frameworks out there today that allow developers to release multi- platform native mobile apps by just knowing a bit about HTML and Javascript (see Still, deciding whether to build a native mobile app or to simply offer a mobile web version will always come down to desired goal. If you run a company like Instagram or Foursquare, it just makes sense to have a native application that can utilize the camera, GPS sensors, etc. of the device more seamlessly than trying to make it work via their web browser. Conversely, if you are selling shoes to a consumer, they just need to be able to see the size and style they are looking for and make a transaction the same way they could on their desktop computers.” In working on this trend, I felt there was a significant impact on the business landscapethat was being met by mobile web. I got Stephen’s thoughts below (Yeargin, 2012). “Your phone is with you all the time. Ask any marketer if they want access to their consumers like that and they will enthusiastically agree. They do research on their phone. They make impulse purchases on their phone. They connect with friends on their phone. It is a personal companion and a channel that marketers want to reach.” For there to be a trend, there must be some sort of competitive advantage that would beafforded to an adopting company. Once adopted, it will be imperative for the company to stayahead of the technology to keep the advantage. Based on my discussions with Stephen, I thinkcompanies will have increase the user experience in order to maintain the competitive advantage.Once a customer has a good experience, it is less likely they will trade to another company. 5
  6. 6. Mobile Web: There’s Not An App For That February 14, 2012 “(If) I were shopping for shoes, I would likely want to go to a site that I have a better user experience with. Example: Try to buy something from on the phone versus Amazon. Wal-Mart has a solid mobile interface right up until purchase, and then it is nearly impossible to use. These kinds of experiences will be lessons for business leaders as they begin to analyze where their conversion funnels lose the most people.” I think that the entire mobile web landscape will drastically evolve over the next 5 years.I think the changes within the trend will lead to new and exciting experiences. Stephen had thisto say (Yeargin, 2012). “Responsive design will start to take hold. We dont know what the next iPad looks like, what screen size it will have, etc. So the smart decision is to create web properties that adapt to changes rather than building separate versions for every possible scenario. Near- field payments and a more seamless process of purchasing will likely become a focus for platform developers.” Based on my initial charts in the historical overview, someone in each consumer segmentis probably using mobile web. While that is meaningful, the real meaning is in new adoptersalong the way, which makes this trend more important. Stephen provided an example of onesegment that is expanding its use of mobile web more than others. His example was of mobilefood vendors (Yeargin, 2012). “Perhaps the most intriguing development of late is the mobile food vendor. If you encountered a food truck selling delicious barbecue two years ago, your first thought would be "damn, I wish I had some cash on me." With the advent of Square and other mobile payment providers, they can use their phones and iPads to process those payments over the internet. No cash needed. Likewise, they can update via Twitter and other Social networks where they are right now in case anyone has a craving for that barbecue. Retailers use "Find Me" features on their mobile sites to access the phones GPS location (with the users permission) to give them directions to the nearest store.” Conclusion Mobile web has been around for a while, and there are companies that have early adoptedthe technology instead of apps. Based on the significant increase in ROI when compared to theapp route, as well as the reduced costs and functionality provided by mobile web, it would bewise for businesses to adopt this trend and make it work for their company. 6
  7. 7. Mobile Web: There’s Not An App For That February 14, 2012BibliographyCavazza, F. (2011, September 27). Mobile Web App vs. Native App? Its Complicated. Retrieved February6, 2012, from Forbes: Interactive Agency. (n.d.). SESAC Social Media Site. Retrieved February 7, 2012, fromCentreSource Interactive Agency:, D. (2011, June 17). Forrester: U.S. mobile commerce will hit $31B by 2016, still a tiny sliver ofecommerce. Retrieved February 8, 2012, from MobileBeat:, A. (2011, February 24). Is Developing a Mobile App Worth the Cost. Retrieved February 9,2011, from Mashable Business: Commerce to Surge in Europe. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2012, from Warc: Internet Marketing Tools. (n.d.). About Raven Internet Marketing Tools. Retrieved February 7,2012, from Raven Internet Marketing Tools:, Inc. (n.d.). About Us: SESAC, Inc. Retrieved February 8, 2012, from SESAC, Inc.:, S. (2012, February 8). Development Coordinator, Raven Internet Marketing Tools. (S. McDaniel,Interviewer) Interviewer’s BioStephen Yeargin is the current Development Coordinator for Raven Internet Marketing Tools inNashville, TN. He has previously served as the Manager of Interactive Strategy at CentresourceInteractive Agency and the Director of Publication at MTA Distributors. His full profile and biocan be found at 7