With more Americans spending an increasing amount of time on mobile devices, businesses of all sizes must decide how best to reach them. For many, the choice of whether to devote resources to the development of a mobile site or an app is a difficult one because of the challenge in estimating exactly what the costs of each will be.

Two studies recently tackled this issue and found that more businesses are devoting their resources to mobile websites rather than mobile apps. When Chango surveyed brand marketers in the US, UK and Canada during Q4 2014, 86% of respondents had mobile-friendly websites, while a still significant 76% had mobile apps. These results are similar to an earlier study performed by the CMO Council and SAS during Q3 2014. In that study, mobile-friendly websites were reported by 75% of respondents, while only 66% reported having a mobile app for their business.

While the Chango study certainly suggests that many businesses are using both mobile websites and mobile apps, this isn’t necessarily the case in the retail sector. Of the low percentage of retailers utilizing both websites and apps, very few maintain apps for both iOS and Android platforms.

The study conducted by the CMO Council and SAS also revealed how respondents currently use mobile technology and how they plan to use it in the future.

The top five most-used mobile technologies for Q3 2014 were:

  • Mobile-optimized site – 75%
  • Mobile app – 66%
  • Mobile search – 56%
  • Outbound SMS/MMS – 53%
  • Mobile advertising – 49%.

The expected top five most-used technologies going forward were:

  • Geofencing – 35%
  • Mobile advertising – 28%
  • Geotargeting – 27%
  • Mobile commerce – 26%

Mobile search, mobile barcode and short-code SMS reply tied for fifth place at 20%, leaving the expected mobile technology landscape used by businesses as a very different place.

Of course, the desktop sites are still key for the online marketing strategies of many businesses, according to a study conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe in February and March of this year. When asked which digital channels were most important to the business, an overwhelming 71% said desktop was their first priority, while only 16% reported mobile websites as the top priority. When it came to apps, 10% made mobile apps a priority and tablet apps were barely represented with 3% of businesses surveyed reporting them as a top priority.

While desktop sites may still be the focus for many businesses, about two-thirds of respondents plan to increase their investment in mobile technology in 2015. Whether those resources will go to the creation of mobile apps or mobile-friendly is up in the air. What is known is that businesses across industries must maintain some sort of mobile presence if they hope to capitalize on the ever-increasing user activity from mobile devices.


eMarketer. Businesses Are Going Mobile – but How? June 9, 2015.