Screenage: Is mobile web losing to apps in mobile advertising?

Experts opine that the ecosystem is far larger and it won’t be a case of 'this vs that', with emerging mediums interplaying with each other

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Oct 12, 2019 8:57 AM Updated: Oct 12, 2019 9:46 AM
Screenage Panel 1

As every big form looks to be a part of the app economy, where lies the mobile web pages? How important is mobile web as apps appear to monopolise the options on mobile for marketing? Is there are a distinct role for the two and are there instances where they complement each other? Adblocking had once threatened mobile advertising due to the mobile web – is such a fate expected for apps too?

Decoding these questions at the Screenage Mobile Marketing Conference, a power-packed panel featuring the likes of Sabyasachi Mitter, Founder & Managing Director at Fulcro, Survita Saumya, Head of Digital Marketing, Tata Motors, Laxman Tari, Head – Marketing Communication & Brand Management, Legrand Group in India and Gayatri Sundaram, Head of Content and Experience, KidZania US, discussed mobile web versus apps in mobile advertising.

Mitter hinted that search results on digital platforms play an integral role. “ Asus which sells exclusively on Flipkart, only 47% of the sales come from within Flipkart, 53% of the traffic comes from search and Facebook that go to the product landing page on the web from where an add to cart takes place,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tari pointed out, “ You need to have sustainable content to stay in touch with your apps, otherwise you will keep losing your consumer base .” 

According to Sundaram, it’s a business-driven call, whether to opt for web-service or app that pushes a more focused call to action. “In a web portal, you have cost-efficiencies because it is not so expensive to custom-create according to devices or operating systems. In terms of mobile apps, your conversion rates are higher because it is a very specific target you are aiming at,” she said.

Tari observed that while consumers think otherwise, they land first to the website of a brand before downloading an app. “It’s still the same behaviour. It’s somewhere an assumption that when it comes to mobile, they think its first an app but they forget that for any searches, they first search on Chrome,” he explained.

“On average a user has 22 apps in his/her phone. With iOS 13 you can off-load unused apps which you don’t use so apps are in danger now,” remarked Mitter. 

Saumya contended that apps are relevant for brands that deal with utility, like Swiggy or gaming/banking apps as compared to one-time usage apps. “Whatsapp helps engage with consumers who are actually interested in your product. If we talk about Tata Motors, 80% of people opted for Whatsapp for business, for e-brochures, or to book a test drive for them, etc,” she pointed out. She shared an instance of how Myntra took a U-turn and shifted to the mobile web version. “People in India are not used to downloading apps, and there is a myth about mobile data security too, so unless they are utility apps, people do not download easily. As a marketer you have to keep investing in SEO and divert traffic to the website first,” she argued.

Sundaram too asserted that apps need to have a top-of-mind recall for the consumer to constantly engage with them and remember them. According to her, while apps are for few customer-driven brands and services, the web is vast, for all and conversions are higher with web. “So there is a love-hate relationship one has with apps. However, the mobile web is more purpose-driven. So your objective is always met. The definition of why I logged in is met. They have a very focused reach-out for customers,” she added.

 Panellists established that the ecosystem is far larger and it won’t be a case of this versus that, with emerging mediums interplaying with each other.  “The ecosystem will progress. 10-15 years later, we’ll be speaking about something else killing mobile apps,” exclaimed Mitter.

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