People don’t want to install your app. They might check out your site though. Is your mobile web presence an unusable turn off?
Conventional web sites let you reach users, while apps let you deeply engage users. This is the heart of the tradeoff between mobile web vs apps.
With a Progressive Web App strategy, the product can reach the large number of new or low engagement users with their Progressive Web App, and then offer engaged or convinced users to install it or enable push notifications, driving the engagement benefit of a native app but with the same single platform.
The big takeaway here is that companies, including tech companies and media properties, need to still be aware of their mobile web experiences, especially in retail, finance, insurance, and travel, which typically see a 50 percent or higher chunk of their visits from the mobile web. At the very least, it’s the top of the funnel for a customer relationship, and a much lower-commitment step by a potential customer than the fairly big step of installing your app.
Is your new thing so fucking amazing that people are going to install your app and give it a chance? Statistically speaking, unless you are best friend with a famous celebrity or Apple decides to feature your app in one of their top categories or search results, you are pretty much fucked.
Mobile web and mobile in-app behaviour are not binary. When users are in the facebook app, they spend a tremendous amount of time accessing the mobile web through facebook’s own in-app browser. The same for twitter and others. We enter social apps for discovery and then access the mobile web while still in-app. It is a mistake to conflate time spent on the mobile web with time spent in a traditional browser.
From now on, I won’t be building any more native apps. All my apps going forward will be progressive web apps. Progressive web apps are web applications which are designed to work even more seamlessly on mobile devices than native mobile apps.
What do I mean by “more seamlessly?” I mean that most web traffic comes from mobile devices, and that users install between 0–3 new apps per month, on average. That means that people aren’t spending a lot of time looking for new apps to try out in the app store, but they are spending lots of time on the web, where they might discover and use your app.
Source: Native Apps are Doomed
It’s not just companies that are turning away from native apps – the average American now downloads zero apps per month. This has little to do with us spending time on phones – compare this app fatigue with the amount of time we’re spending in browsers.
Everyone’s familiar with Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer – “traditional” browsers with address bars, search functionality, and buttons to skip forwards and backwards. But they’re not the only browsers we use every day.
We’re spending increasing amounts of time inside messaging apps and social networks, themselves wrappers for the mobile web. They’re actually browsers. And these browsers give us the social context and connections we crave, something traditional browsers do not.
The web is and will always be the most popular mobile operating system in the world – not iOS or Android. It’s important that the next generation of software companies don’t focus exclusively on building native iOS or Android versions of existing web apps.
Just make sure those web apps render and work well in the new wave of mobile browsers – messengers. Don’t build for iOS or Android just for an imaginary distribution opportunity. Distribution exists where people spend most of their time today – social and messaging apps, the new mobile browser for a bot-enabled world.
Only about one-third of smartphone owners download any apps in an average month, with the bulk of those downloading one to three apps. The top 7% of smartphone owners account for “nearly half of all download activity in a given month,” comScore reports.
Why is this? It’s not that apps aren’t useful—more than half of US smartphone users accessed apps every single day, according to comScore. And it can’t be that they’re too expensive: Most apps are free, and app prices have notoriously been in a race to the bottom since the App Store debuted. So what’s the deal?
One possible explanation is that people just don’t need that many apps, and the apps people already have are more than suitable for most functions. Almost all smartphone owners use apps, and a “staggering 42% of all app time spent on smartphones occurs on the individual’s single most used app,” comScore reports. New apps come and go, especially games, but perhaps breakthrough apps will be increasingly rare. A look at the top 25 most-used apps reflects mostly mature companies, including Facebook, Google, Pandora, and Yahoo.