February 25, 2018

When does content need to be mobile?

We got a question this week from an ITSMA client asking about developing a business case for creating mobile applications for their website content. I said that I haven’t seen any of those business cases yet. And I don’t think I ever will.

We’re seeing mobile be part of an integrated approach to social media, not as a standalone. In fact, I’m working on two case studies this week of websites that have mobile applications, but the mobile applications are a small part of the whole. And they both lead to content that benefits from being mobile.

The attributes that seem to matter so far are:

Location. Could other users of the application get value from knowing where others are?

Continuity. Do they feel that they will miss something by being away from the content for even a short amount of time?

Timeliness. Will content appear in the application that needs to be acted upon immediately?

One company’s mobile application is tied to a wiki-based sales enablement website that lets salespeople generate actions and updates and get updated information from the road.

The other company has a mobile application for its private, gated online community so that mobile members can keep up with message boards and forums that change frequently (there are over 100 subject-oriented communities within the site).

Creating a mobile application that leads to static content on a website isn’t going to build much interest or loyalty because there’s no real urgency to connect. The only reason I can see for creating a mobile application in this context is if the application makes the content easier to look at and interact with than on a web browser. Apple claims the iPad will make content look better than it does on a web browser. If that’s true, then it will be worth making an application that connects to static content. But not until then.

What do you think?

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  • norcalwingman

    Mobile app that links to static content? I'll pass. Now if I'm visiting an area where I'm unfamiliar, and that mobile app knows my home base and knows what I usually like and pings me when I'm near something that is interesting to me, I might be game. I think you're right though, there's little value in directing me to static content.

  • Hi Brian,
    I agree that location is going to become more and more important. It'll be interesting to see what happens. Thanks for the comment.

  • Agreed. If mobile in B2C is about either entertainment or utility, in B2B it's overwhelmingly about utility. As a B2B tech agency, we're always on the lookout for mobile plays for our clients that make sense. We've come up with a few (like an alerting app for a security company) but not many.

  • Hi Doug,
    Good point. Utility is king in B2B. To the extent we can marry utility with community I think we will have success, because in B2B peers want to make connections with each other beyond the trade shows and private events. Thanks for the insightful comment (as usual)!

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