This column is the sixth in an 11-part series on the Top Ten 2016 Marketing Trends. Check back for the remainder of the series and a deep dive into each of these trends.
With our sights set on 2016, it's the perfect time for reflection on your growth strategy. What marketing successes will you carry over from 2015 into the New Year, and which will you abandon? What marketing trends, anticipated for 2016, are worthy of consideration in your 2016 plan?
One such trend worth investigating is the veritable app explosion that is anticipated next year.
ComScore cites that consumers dedicated 87 percent of their mobile device time in 2015 to apps versus browsers. The number of apps with 5 million or more unique visitors grew 29 percent from June 2014 to June 2015. It's no longer just the big boys -- like Amazon -- driving significant app traffic.
While it can be challenging to build a large audience on an app, those app users are a loyal bunch once you get them -- assuming your app offers real value. In fact, app users spend more than three hours per month on the Top 1000 apps on average -- about 18 times greater than what mobile web visitors spend on their Top 1000 sites.
This trend in app growth is no doubt a result of the ever growing mobile Internet audience and the sheer convenience of using apps on mobile devices. It's also due, in part, to the way Google delivers apps in search results. The search giant has offered app indexing for some time, but as this functionality continues to improve, 2016 will be the year more business owners realize the online visibility advantages of a dedicated app.
A mobile-optimized site works wonders for appealing to the mobile crowd, but in the not-so-distant future, apps will begin to replace them in certain industries. Apps can do most everything that websites can, except in a more intuitive, convenient, accessible way for mobile users.
2016 will no doubt be a pivotal year in app adoption, though we are still several years away from apps truly replacing the need for websites as a medium. Even then, the relevancy of apps will vary widely by industry, as consumers need a strong "what's in it for me" to expend the effort to download the app. And even then, you must continue delivering value if they are going to keep your app on the main home screen of their phone where they are most likely to engage with it.
While apps aren't for every business, if you have added value you could be offering your customers via an app, there is value in beating your competition to the punch before they've secured app dominance in your market.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.