Websites can be so bloated in comparison to laser focus of apps. “Websites will become the AM radio of the Internet.” claims George Colony, Chief Executive Officer of Forrester Research.
Jay Baer (NY Times bestseller) notes:
Why would I (or you) wade through an entire website that must try to serve the disparate information needs of multiple audiences, when I could instead use a mobile app to do ONE thing exceedingly well, with a minimum of extraneous window dressing?
The winds are blowing strong in this direction. In an amazing 2012 study, Symphony IRI found that Americans in the Millennial generation are almost four times more likely than American consumers overall to have their purchases influenced by smartphone applications. The impact of these apps on their purchase decisions is greater than recommendations from blogs and social media, and from manufacturers’ websites or email.
I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around this stat. Millennials are more likely to be influenced by a smartphone app to buy something? What are these apps influencing Millennials? I can’t tell you the last time I was influenced by an iPhone app to buy something.
But think about how you use your smartphone.
On your smartphone, you probably primarily use apps, right? Rarely do I visit an actual website in the browser. it just takes too long. The only time I visit an actual website is when I google a question about something.
The majority of my daily needs on mobile are fulfilled by apps. For reading, it’s the Facebook app, Byline for RSS, Zite for discovery, hootsuite for tweets. I don’t bookmark websites to visit, instead I use a selective few amount of apps to digest my information.
Apps are starting to sound more and more important in your readers’ minds. Couple that with how mobile is becoming the primary way people use the internet, and you can see that apps are critical.
But are websites going to die?
Not entirely. You still need a website to give you an introduction to what a service or company or writer is about. Websites provide a broad amount of information. Websites in concept will still exist, but it’s the browser that will have less importance.
Again, a strange concept to grasp. The browser is so essential to our online experience. But do you really use your browser THAT much on your smartphone? We might see the browser become less important over time. Websites will remain strong, and will take on new life through how their information gets distributed into mobile apps.
RSS feeds are a prime example of how websites are brought into the mobile world. I subscribe to a website’s RSS feed through feedly and read that site on the Byline app. You can also read a website’s content on Zite or Flipboard.
Seriously. Do you ever regularly visit websites on your smartphone? But you use apps all the time on your smartphone.
Jay Baer says that all sites will become apps. That seems a bit extreme as browsing through screens and screens of apps on my smartphone is laborious. There’s a select few I use.
We all don’t need to create an app for our website/service/company. But we do need to find our place in those bigger apps that people use.
Consider the following:
- How can you appear in people’s feedly streams?
- How can you appear in people’s facebook?
- How can you appear in iPad magazines like Zite and Flipboard?
These are the places were people are spending their time.
3 thoughts on “Will websites be replaced by apps?”
I really don’t understand this, primarily the “[…] to have their purchases influenced by smartphone applications”. What apps?
Facebook? Are they counting the influence from friends’/families’ posts towards this stat?
Angry Birds? Are they counting the fact that I bought Angry Birds fruit snack as an “app influenced purchase”? [This one might actually be valid]
“App use” will grow as the shift towards mobile devices continues, but I don’t think that average websites have any need/pressure to app-ify, and it doesn’t seem to be a trend. It would be incredibly painful to have to install apps for the common websites I use. Apps for sites like Facebook/Twitter/etc make complete sense, since they’re basically communication hubs, and the mobile web experience just isn’t as friendly or responsive as a native app (but improvements here could derail the trend this author is seeing [imagining?]).
Anyway.. I don’t get it.
Sparx, yeah, i’ve been meaning to write a followup blog post that comes more from the other perspective. A week after writing this post, I came across a counter-point article that points out that in-app purchases by teens are mostly game purchases.