Today, I’ll be answering the question What are apps and mobile channels? First, I’ll share some useful facts. Did you know the average adult in the US spends almost three hours on their smartphones daily? This statistic shows that just a few years ago, TV had a monopoly on people’s attention, and today things have changed.

Two-thirds of internet users use apps to shop on their smartphones. The meaning of this is that individuals look for reviews instead of approaching salespeople. It also means they buy directly using their mobile phones and tablets. I’ll analyze this topic in detail next:

What is an app?

The abbreviation of application is app. It means software developed for mobile devices and smartphones. You can find two types of apps: native apps and web apps.

You’ll find apps in tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, and smart TVs. Some apps may connect to the internet and some apps don’t.

Native apps can be installed through an app store. These applications are created specifically for one platform. They can use the full range of device features such as GPS, camera, accelerometer, GPS, contact list, compass, etc.

A web app is accessed through your web browser with an active internet connection. It is software that runs on web servers. This is different from software that runs locally on the operating system (OS)

Many of these applications perform a single function or just a few functions and do it well. This keeps apps lightweight and ready to be run on mobile devices. You’ll discover apps in a large number of categories.

What are push messages?

Apps have many features, and one of them is to push notifications. They are notifications from an app being displayed on a mobile device when the app is not currently in use. They are triggered by external events.

You can find an example of this when you receive a message from an instant messaging app. This notification may trigger audio or vibration in your smartphone. This creates a high level of engagement between yourself and the mobile application.

You can see another example in a weather app: Let’s say you’re busy making breakfast, and then you find a message from your app letting you know what type of snow conditions you’ll find on your way to your destination. You can then react by choosing the right clothes.

What if you wanted to know the lowest price for a flight ticket? With the right app, you can save a considerable amount of time (and money)  if you allow the application to inform you about the lowest prices.

What is SMS?

The abbreviation of Short Message Service is SMS. It’s a text message of limited length that can be directed from one phone to another phone. In this category, you’ll find the Multimedia Messaging Service, or MMS, which allows you to send longer messages and multimedia content. These messages don’t require a data connection from a service provider.

The Short Message Service opens the door to SMS marketing, which is sending transactional messages or promotional campaigns to people who have consented to receive them using this technology. It’s used to alert about updates, time-sensitive offers, or other services.

Is SMS marketing part of digital marketing? It’s part of a multichannel strategy that may also include social media, websites, and mobile apps. You can trace its importance to how it works with other mediums, it’s a great tool to support email and social media.

Many services like online banking use SMSs to corroborate the right user is trying to log-in to the website.

Mobile principles

You’ll find mobile devices such as smartphones differentiate from other hardware through a series of principles. The first principle is that it’s personal. People don’t share their phones. The second principle is that people carry them all the time. Think about it, when you leave your house you carry your keys, wallet, and smartphone.

The third principle is that It’s always on. You respond to services and messages throughout the day. The fourth principle is about built-in payment systems. You’ll find the SIM card, QR codes, NFC, and the built-in payment options of apps that allow you to pay easily.

The fifth principle is that smartphones are ready at the point of creative inspiration. You can take pictures, videos and write down ideas. The sixth principle is accurate audience measurement. Transactions can be tracked. SMS, voice calls, and internet access.

The seventh principle is all about social context. It provides information about who you’re talking to, who you shared an eBook with, the time you made a call, etc. The eighth principle is about augmented reality. There is a trend to add a layer of information to the real world. The ninth principle is that smartphones provide a digital interface. They can be used as a control for an automated house, remote control for the TV, etc.

Apps vs Websites

The short answer to this debate is: It depends on your needs. The long answer takes many considerations into account. Both mobile websites and apps can be accessed through a mobile device.

HTML pages linked together are websites’ building blocks. Responsive websites adapt to different browsers, device sizes, and platforms. They are slowly becoming the standard in online applications and website visuals.

A native mobile app is a software created for one platform, Android, or iOS. They are installed on the gadget itself. A native app is made in the programming language of choice of the device’s operating system (OS) Apps live separately from websites, and they are usually designed to be an extension of a brand.

You can use Software as a Service (SAAS) solutions. These solutions are available to clients over the internet. They usually work on browsers and are a direct competition to apps. You’ll find that you sometimes use one solution over the other in accord with the situation at hand.

Conclusion

We explored some interesting statistics about mobile devices. We then answered the question what is an app? We then explored an important feature of apps: push messages. We explored what SMSs are, followed by detailing mobile principles.

Finally, we analyzed the debate on Apps vs Websites. As you can see, the mobile world is growing by leaps and bounds. What can you do to benefit from it? Analyze if your blog’s layout is responsive, think about how your email newsletter subscribers receive your communications. Answer how many of these subscribers check their phones to consume your content. This is just a starting point. Think about how you can better serve your community through mobile features and apps.