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Mobilize, connect, repeat.

November 30, 2009

It would be easy, given the tremendous amount of hype, statistics and coolness of the world of mobile applications to believe having an application is the only way to have a presence on a mobile phone. For those of you who don’t believe this you’d be right. In fact, heavy thinkers from Google, Apple and more have said publicly that the future of the mobile internet lies on the browser. I think you know where I stand given that I write for Ruxter.

Let’s examine a few of the reasons you’d be right to side step developing an application for your mobile presence and why the browser is the place to build your mobile presence.

1. Cost. Applications are very expensive and especially so if you intend to have the broadest reach with your app. I’ve seen figures as high as $50,000 for one application on one platform. Costs can soar if you want your app to work on Apple, Palm, Droid, Windows Mobile, Symbian, etc. not to mention having an army of engineers to tweak on these apps as these mobile operating systems get upgraded. Look at it this way-do you know any app developer getting rich making apps? What small or medium business will pay this kind of money for their mobile presence?

2. Scale. If the Apple app store is all you want for your app you are leaving an overwhelming amount of your audience in the dark as to your mobile presence. Compared to the fact that, other than Jitterbug phones, all phones shipping today have mobile browsers and operate on data networks which can handle basic data transmission functions. Do you want your addressable market with your mobile presence measured in the millions or hundreds of millions or even billions?

3. Awareness. Ask anyone with an application what it’s like to have shelf space in a store with 100,000 items in it. I learned this at Sprint-unless you’re featured you’re destined to low take rates. I saw take rates jump 30X with featuring at Sprint. Featuring is very limited though due to the mobile consumptive experience (MCE) and the sheer number of titles. Sprint, like the other mobile carriers, thought more was better when it came to number of titles and after a few years of this mindset they came to realize that less is more when you are trying to sell something to someone on the go. Research pointed to frustration with having to sort through too many titles and folks gave up buying. Why? They had one minute to shop on their phone and couldn’t find what they wanted or something that interested them. This is the MCE in action.

4. Ongoing interaction with your audience/customer. Recent research has shown, and I saw this first hand at Sprint, that about 6 months after downloading an app the interaction with the app pretty much stops. The novelty wears off. Remember ringtones? They were going to save the recording industry. Call tones? Ditto. With a mobile website and a text messaging functionality tied to that mobile website you can continually engage with your audience and build traffic to your mobile site over time just as you likely did with your PC-based website. This is what we mean with the Ruxter tagline of “mobilize and connect”.

It’s like the shampoo bottle instructions of “lather, rinse, repeat”. For you, with a Ruxter site, it is “mobilize, connect, repeat”. Simple yet powerful actions you can easily and quickly take to establish a mobile web presence and which will serve you very well as the mobile internet blossoms further and surpasses the PC-based web.

Dale Knoop is the President of Ruxter and an industry-recognized pioneer of mobile data services. In 2005 Dale won an Emmy while serving as the GM for Sprint TV. In August 2009 he launched Ruxter which allows anyone to quickly and easily become part of the rapidly growing mobile internet with a fully optimized mobile website they can share with anyone. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

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