rise of the app

You’ve been hearing it for years. “Mobile usage is increasing.” “Users are purchasing more on mobile.” “Mobile payment becomes a reality.” Mobile site traffic started increasing, but brands were noticing that conversions were not necessarily following suit due to a multitude of reasons. Enter… the app.

Brands have taken advantage of the advanced mobile landscape and launched apps – lots of them. According to Statista, when the Apple App Store started in 2008, there were only 800 apps available for download. In 2017, there were 2.2 MILLION apps!

Apps allow brands to build stronger relationships with their customers, increase exposure, grow sales, and ultimately gather additional data about their customer base. In a world growing ever-obsessed with data, the more you know about your customers can help you become more profitable.

There are additional features than an app can provide that a website experience may not be able to, such as push notifications or general perks (loyalty programs), all from a simple download. All of these app functionalities entice users to browse within the app and can often lead to higher conversions in-app. Read: more $$$.

The benefits of an app not only suit the brand but also the consumer – as long as an investment is made to continue improving features and functionality.

As a result of increased app capabilities, in 2018, total worldwide app revenues grew 63% year over year, says PoQ Commerce research.

What this means for website engagement

The app experience is very different from both a desktop site and mobile site. However, interactions and purchases within apps are catching up and even exceeding that of desktop and mobile sites. Transactions per users on apps were 3.8x mobile web and 2.8x desktop. In turn, they’re spending more time in-app than on desktop and mobile sites.

One of our e-commerce clients has launched multiple app platforms in various regions and has seen an impact on website traffic as a whole, from all marketing channels.

The brand continues to see growth among all of their digital platforms (including web), but app adoption has progressed more than the web.

In China specifically, app traffic AND revenue exceeded that of the web, year over year. App traffic contributed 71% of total digital traffic, and 66% of revenue. (Q2)

In the United States, the volume of app revenue has caught up with web revenue (app totals are +3.5% greater than web over last 10 weeks).

App adoption will continue to grow in emerging markets as consumers turn to their mobile devices more and more, not only to surf for content, but also with the intent to purchase in-app. We expect to see this trend among largely mobile-dominated countries especially.

SEO: What you can expect

Just as we’re all trying to rank for the #1 spot on Google (or Baidu in China), brands are serving up their app experiences on mobile devices, driving users straight to download rather than to the website. On the flip side, brands are also including app ‘pop-ups’ on their homepages to driven app downloads that way.

As SEOs, we’ve seen an impact not only on how users navigate the .com space but also where they are clicking on the SERP. As a business, brands need to think big picture and do what is right for the consumer as well as the bottom line.

Now, more than ever, it’s important that SEO be top of mind and optimize for the best user experience. SEO efforts go a long way — and are very cost effective. No matter if you’re driving a user to a website or an app, your digital presence on the SERP is top priority.

For more advice on keeping your website in first position on Google, contact the search experts at Engage.