No sitting on the fence, I appreciate a great mobile friendly website. Mobile Apps have their uses and merits for some purposes, but when it comes to a truly usable and readable website, I want a near identical user experience whether I access a website via desktop, or if I view the same website from a handheld device.

As an iPhone user, I am intrinsically conditioned to appreciate the ease of an App. It is a rare occasion to find me not dipping into Spotify or Words with Friends, Facebook or Tweetdeck. The purpose fits the need. I also enjoy the BBC website through the iPhone safari browser; Digital Spy is a great mobile website to aid SOS offers as an easy to use ecommerce experience. WordPress blogs are prevalent, and they render in a mobile friendly format. You don’t need to go into an application to view the latest content from the blogosphere.

You may have seen the ‘mind the gApp’ infographic we created, highlighting some of the pitfalls of Apps over a mobile friendly website, and yes, we are a vendor of the latter. It’s not surprising that it caused an element of friction within the App community. I think it is easy to assume the one-size fits all approach, but that is genuinely not what we are suggesting. There is even evidence that Apps and mobile sites could and should work in harmony across devices; right platform of delivery for the right job, right?

Many brands have embraced the world of applications but must take a blended approach to ensure they get the most for their brand and don’t provide a siloed encounter to their customer.

Let us evidence the need for brands to think mobile. According to Forrester Research Inc., “In 2011 more than 75 million mobile users will access the mobile Internet, and that number will grow to nearly 117 million by 2015. More than one-quarter of these users will own smartphones.”

(source: “Evolving Your Mobile Marketing Presence”, Forrester Research, March 3, 2011)

Ubiquity of hardware and the software that enables a multitude of uses will always be driven by consumer demand. If I want to buy items on the go from my favorite high street brick and mortar store, that shop needs to make it as easy as possible for me to do so on a mobile phone too. The importance of engaging with consumers through their preferred medium has never been more important to marketers.

When looking for something online, users automatically turn to Google, Bing, or Yahoo for their research. With search now the first port of call for most users, brands need to spend time and budget optimizing their mobile website and thinking strategically about its use.

According to Forrester Research Inc., “Marketers will become app-athletic. Branded apps were certainly big news stories in 2010, but consumers aren’t impressed with apps that provide little utility and only clutter up their phone decks. Research suggests that though people download apps, many of these apps are deleted soon after download or are never used again. As marketers wake up to consumers’ propensity to ignore apps soon after download, they will question the ROI of their app investments. Lightly engaging games, high-utility apps like The Weather Channel, and navigation apps will continue to live natively on mobile devices while branded apps that don’t provide a reason to return will fall off.”

(source: “2011 US Mobile Marketing Predictions”, Forrester Research, January 4, 2011)

Making sure you identify the needs and then the appropriate platform to deliver those consumer needs is essential as part of a wider strategy of digital engagement. What value do you place in your website to generate business? Wouldn’t it make sense to offer that same opportunity for you to generate more in a unified manner, no matter what device your potential and existing customers use?