It’s no secret that mobile is the hot ticket item around town these days. Brands of all shapes and sizes are jumping onto the mobile platform in droves. This creation of this market is being fuelled by the advancements in mobile technology and consumers under-lying propensity to be more connected whilst ‘on-the-go’. Smartphone technology provides exceptionally high powered devices right in the hands of the every day consumer at little cost. At the end of 2010 28% of US mobile subscribers own a smartphone with the entire smartphone market growing nearly 75% last year.
As this market continues to grow there is no question that you need to consider your brands presence on this platform. Unfortunately launching yourself in the mobile arena isn’t as simple as clicking a button. With a maturing market consumers will not tolerate scaled down websites or featureless applications that serve little or no purpose. Consumers want something that will add value or fix a problem in their day-to-day lives. Brands need to do their research and understand their consumer especially in the context that they’ll want to interact with your brand on their mobile device. The final dilemma is that you have choices – a native application or a mobile website.
Let’s cast the spotlight on sports industry, in particular take into consideration how a sports team could deliver a mobile experience for their fans. We’re using a sports team as a case study as I represent an Australian professional sports team and it’s easy for me to share our journey and experiences.
The Green Buzz Agency Blog provides insight for Marketing Decision Makers and other fun people We are the leader in corporate, web, and online video production services in Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, and NYC!
Multiple scenario’s exist when identifying the context a sports fan would interact with the team on a mobile device. A couple of quick examples:
- A fan could use a mobile device to add to their experience whilst at the stadium
- A fan could use a mobile device to add to their experience whilst they are watching the game on TV
- A fan could use a mobile device to keep them up to date with information when they don’t have access to other media
Once context is understood we need to determine whether we’re going to deliver our experience via a mobile website or a native application. There are arguments for and against each direction and to determine your tact the starting point typically is asking yourself a few questions.
- Is budget a concern? Typically mobile websites are cheaper to design and develop than native mobile applications. If you are looking to build a native app these days you need to be aware iPhone and Android have a similar share in the market and you’d have to consider creating an app for each platform.
- Do we need the power of a native app to serve our content? Don’t go building an app for apps sake – could you service your consumer with a mobile website?
- Do you want to create a product that provides revenue? Native apps sold through stores can be sold, charging the consumer and providing revenue for your business.
When our digital team came to addressing this decision we decided to create both a mobile website and a native application. Our mobile site launched six (6) weeks earlier than the application and provided fans a site that focused around results and fixtures. The primary feature was live, up-to date scores. Our mobile website was available to all users whether they own an Android powered phone, an iPhone or a Blackberry. The site worked through the mobile browser or through mobile applications that access the web such as the Twitter app.
Our native app was released adding further features such as more detailed live scores, video, at match chat and integration with Twitter and Foursquare. We developed a game day section that plotted tweets around the stadium on a Google map.
At the end of the season the results are in and from reviews and statistics our fans loved all our mobile products. The brand new mobile platform (both native app and mobile website) now accounts for 49% of traffic to our content. On game day our iPhone app receives more traffic than our website. Remember this platform didn’t exist 12 months ago.
Given the features available in the native app it was unsurprising to see the iPhone app dwarf the mobile website in terms of popularity. The other consideration is that in Australia the iPhone is the handset of choice amongst mobile users. From the commercial side a benefit for our organisation is now we are presented with an asset that our sales team can offer to our sponsorship portfolio.
Following this success we’ve seen on our mobile platform we’ve now moved into the development of a mobile game called Water Boy. It’s a different tact but something to test the waters (pun intended) to measure the viability in marketing through mobile games. It’s only been in the AppStore a few weeks but already we’re receiving solid downloads and great reviews!
So in summary, if you’re looking to develop a presence on the mobile platform think of your market, their context and deliver something that solves a problem or adds value. With this in mind you can’t go wrong!
Anthony Harrison is the Digital Marketing Manager at Cricket Victoria. Email him at email@example.com or visit his Linkedin Profile here.