The Convergence of Apps and Mobile Web: 4 Things You Need to Know

By Ian Sefferman | May 25th, 2016

As a data-driven app marketer, you may have noticed that apps and the web have long been engaged in a circuitous battle for attention, time, and money in mobile. And with that has come a debate about whether apps or web will ultimately prevail.

At TUNE, we’ve long predicted a convergence of apps and the web. The most recent evidence of this came from Google with its introduction of search results for apps, but that wasn’t the beginning of this convergence and certainly won’t be the end.

You can get the full scoop on this trend, but there’s really a few key things you need to know about how and why this convergence is going to change everything. Here are my top four things to know about this shift.

1. Both web and apps are superior in their own way.

While these platforms share many differences and similarities, ultimately each one wins for different things. If you need to find an answer to something, the web stands superior due to its inherent linking structure and search functionality. But if you crave a better user experience, apps come out on top.

2. Google knows this, and is now adding apps to its indexing strategy.

Google has embarked on a mission to index not only the web, but apps as well. It’s already indexed more than 300 billion pages within apps, which means two things: 1) apps are increasingly discoverable through Google Search, and 2) marketers should keep that in mind for their organic search strategies as app store optimization evolves.

3. The push for app downloads may be on the brink of extinction.

Google acquired the service Agawi in 2015, which streams apps without requiring users to download them first. This will foster a web-like experience where consumers can dip in and out of apps, much like they currently do with websites, and could be a game-changer in the way people consume mobile content.

4. The answer for your business comes down to focus.

If you’re looking for quick, one-time engagement, developing for the web may be your best bet. But if you’re focused on nailing regular user engagement and retention, apps give you the control, measurement, and habitual activity of users that you still won’t find on the web.

What does it all mean?

Companies that provide a compelling user experience and community that people prize -- regardless of whether it’s through web, apps, or both -- will be the ones who successfully ride the wave as web and mobile flow together as one.

It can be tempting to either ignore trends and focus on the rules of the road today, or overcorrect and try to get ahead of the trend by shifting resources to where you think things are headed, but we think that the most successful developers and marketers will do a bit of both. We recommend a focus on the mechanics that matter now, with an eye to the future.

While the industry heads toward a convergence, you are on your own path of web and app convergence. It is a path that is unique to you and the relationship you have with customers.For more of what we think about this and other hot topics in mobile marketing, check out our blog or comment below with your take on the coming convergence.

Ian Sefferman
As General Manager of the TUNE Marketing Console, Ian is responsible for building products that simplify app marketers' lives and increase their advertising performance across all channels, including paid, earned, and owned. Ian joined TUNE in 2014 through the acquisition of MobileDevHQ, the industry-leading inbound app marketing solution, where he was co-founder and CEO. MobileDevHQ was a member of the TechStars Seattle class of 2012 and Ian is still involved with TechStars as a mentor and investor. Prior to starting MobileDevHQ, Ian was a Software Engineer with Amazon.com on their Traffic, Personalization and Website Platform teams. A Detroit native and Seattle transplant, Ian studied Computer Science at the University of Chicago.

Ian