Mobile apps have come of age. That is not news. But delayed reactions to this fact is what is newsworthy. Each week new research shows how mobile is taking over. We’re not all the way there yet, but we’re getting closer. For instance, iOS devices alone accounted for 25% of all sales on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year! Mobile commerce use is lower than mobile usage in general, but it is well on its way to being the primary way we make purchases. And with 6 times more time spent by people on mobile apps than on mobile websites, it is only a question of time.
With all of the evidence showing just how dominant mobile has become, it makes me wonder why there is still such an allegiance to websites. Why don’t all musicians, artists, venues, brands – anyone with a network, fans or customers – have their own mobile apps? And why is so much time, money and effort still being spent on websites (and the people who manage them) when it is technically possible to have a single CMS (content management system) power both apps and a website. Not only can a single interface make it possible to push content from mobile to website to social media (as useless as it has now become), a single person could write once and publish everywhere. Isn’t technology supposed to make life easier?
What do you do when you are in love with someone and it’s not mutual? If you are a healthy adult, you eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) walk away. And yet, it is rare, if not unheard of, for brands and talent to walk away from their websites. They are so in love with their sites that even when they don’t reciprocate, websites are still the object of their desire. José Padilla, the godfather of chill-out music and best known best for his Café del Mar mixes, just decided to go mobile only. I doubt anyone will even notice the lack of website content. His fans get a steady stream of content, delivered to them where they are; no more search.
One record label admitted to me a few weeks ago that they get a mere 20,000 visits a month to their website, but millions of views of each of their YouTube videos. Forty percent of YouTube views are from mobile devices. And this is growing. This label doesn’t even have a mobile app, and their digital budget is largely dedicated to their website and social media, two lovers who have proven fickle. We know mobile is here to stay and that it should be where time, energy and money are focused, but as Luther Ingram sings: “If loving you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. If being right means being without you, then I’d rather live a wrong doing life.” People are stubborn. Many would rather live a wrong doing life, painfully longing for something or someone that is gone or never even existed. Some people would rather have a one-sided love affair with their websites and social media rather than getting the love they deserve. Today that love is only possible through two-way communication, a private channel in the form of a mobile app. Love requires care and feeding.
There has been a lot of talk about going “mobile first,” but perhaps the thing we should be thinking about is going from mobile to everywhere else. Of course there will always be websites, but if we consume more content on mobile then why not focus on it, on native apps, and share the content to websites? A single publishing platform is the answer. Is there really any reason that websites shouldn’t mirror mobile app content? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could write once for mobile and publish everywhere including to native apps, especially when mobile apps offer so many more compelling ways of interacting with customers and fans?
It is nearly impossible to get people to “subscribe” to a website or enter their email address. But gathering contact information from those who download an app is a friction free experience. Customers and fans don’t even notice they are doing it because they have always had to do so to download apps. And then there are push notifications and geo-location services that only exist on mobile, tools that create real interaction and give users what, when and where they want it – in the palm of their hand.
When reality is so clear and yet people’s behaviors fly in the face of that reality, we have to wonder why. Resistance to change is natural. What the continued addiction to web (or the resistance to mobile) and the continued addiction to social media have in common is that people have built careers and companies around the skill sets required to build and maintain outdated tools. So they keep hanging on…
The two-timing, married man in Luther Ingram’s song who wants both his wife and his lover refuses to choose even though he is making himself, his wife and his lover miserable. Are you choosing a largely ignored website instead of a mobile app and giving up on the power to share the love?