Marketing Presence Feature Spotlight: Mobile Booking

Marketing Presence Feature Spotlight: Mobile Booking

“Is there an app for that?” I hear it on a daily basis, and not just from my appreoccupied coworkers. Whether it’s finding the nearest 24-hour drugstore or ordering 17 ripe mangos at 2 in the morning, everyone wants an app that does it. The basic, mundane routines of life are vastly improved when they don’t include a phone call, email, or, worst-case scenario… visit to a business! So naturally, we collectively sigh in relief when we find an app that does it for us. Putting You on the Calendar Before the Competition As a small business with big aims, it’s no longer an option to not be mobile; we know that well by now. But even more so, it’s a race to provide the most convenience to users who (no offense) don’t want to pick up the phone and call you. What they do want is the option to book a haircut for tomorrow when they realize at 10 PM that 5-year-olds with scissors should never, ever be a thing. Our Reservations feature is the secretary you never got around to hiring. It works 24 hours a day with no lunch breaks or PTO, and has some cool tricks up its sleeve: Boost In-Store Sales: By mobilizing your business, you’re accessing a whole new client base. It’s not just millenials who are stuck to their phones these days: the mobile preference is cross-generational. The mom whose kid just gave himself a mullet can’t wait till opening hours to book an emergency fix. Convenience for Small Business Owners: You can add a pre-payment requirement, adjust your availability, and export your appointment calendar at any time. The system works with you and for you to take a little stress out of your day-to-day. Convenience for Customers: Users set up accounts through your Reservations system, making it easy to view upcoming & past bookings or cancel an appointment they can’t make. Paperless Email Confirmations: Right when an app user books a time slot, they’ll get an email with all the appointment details–much more reliable than a post-it note. You get one too, so it’s quick & easy to send a follow-up or reach out with questions....

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Selling Smarter: Trading the Mall for Mobile

Selling Smarter: Trading the Mall for Mobile

Amazon, eBay, and Zappos have known it for years: society is making a pronounced shift in its shopping habits, ditching weekend trips to the mall for free shipping promos and BOGO email campaigns. More and more, the preference for convenience has overridden all else. Why try it on first when you can ship it back for free? I know more people with Prime and Google Express memberships than bus passes these days—and I live in NYC, so that’s saying something. Why mobile matters This shift from the cash register to the Buy Now button has transformed more than just the online world—it’s revolutionized the way we use our phones. You can buy shoes in the waiting room at the dentist’s. You can buy drapes at a Denny’s. In 2013 alone, mobile retail reached $60 billion in sales, a figure that will only grow as the smartphone user base increases, according to research firm Javelin Strategy. And earlier this year, Pew Research found that 70% of adults ages 18-49 own smartphones, with 34% using them as their main browsing tool. How can I make it work for me? Despite the growth of this market, it’s proven daunting for small business owners to make the move. The common misconception among mom & pops is that lack of time, money, and technical experience will hinder any potential growth from online expansion. Fortunately, platforms like ours make it affordable and simple to modernize your business or your client’s. Here are 3 tips for making it work. 1. Be Responsive: Nothing turns off smartphone users quicker than a site that forces them to zoom & drag. Responsive design is crucial these days, and mobile websites make it easy for click-happy customers to navigate your site without the headache, boosting the odds of a purchase. 2. Perfect the Basics: Take a cue from the online big dogs. Keep your design simple and your images high-quality. Be clear on fees and estimated arrival, and offer free shipping when possible. Remember, your online sales will cover your costs if you put a little time into building it up. 3. Spread the Word: The mobile move doesn’t just attract new clients—it makes frequent...

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7 Stats That Show Mobile Marketing Is The New Leader

7 Stats That Show Mobile Marketing Is The New Leader

Mobile marketing has been one of the most explosive technology waves since the internet was invented and shows no signs of slowing down. Mobile-commerce sales are booming and are forecasted to reach $100 billion in 2014. Businesses across a wide range of industries are implementing mobile strategies to grow their companies. Are you planning to join the mobile marketing world and jump on the app trend? There has never been a better time. Below are some statistics to help you better understand the importance of mobile marketing today! 1. Mobile is now the leader. According to predictions by Google, mobile searches (at 85.9 billion) will soon surpass desktop searches (84 billion) in 2015. Search ad spending grew, and desktop search ads only experienced small growth, supporting this prediction. By 2015, it is predicted that there will be 2 billion smart phone users globally. As of right now, 57% of the United States owns a smart phone. These numbers all add up to show ups that mobile and mobile devices are here to stay. 2. Mobile is local. Currently, 40% of mobile searches are local, and 77% of them take place while the user is at home or at work. Mobile-on-the-go is crucial to everyone, and users are utilizing mobile in local areas, for local businesses. 3. Mobile has fast conversions. 81% of conversions from mobile search happen within five hours of the search. Searches are important because they lead to other actions like calls, visits to a business, and ultimately. Sales. Conversion is dependent upon you, the business owner, which means that you need to be available via mobile to snag those customers, and provide them with accessibility and great customer service/products. 4. Mobile presents new opportunities to connect. What are the top five tasks that users need their smart phone for? Making phone calls at 83%, checking email at 74%, searches at 67%, taking pictures at 62%, and accessing social media at 57%. You can use each one of these tasks to help your marketing strategy. Tasks like email, social media, pictures of your products and services, and more, will all help you further your business. 5. Mobile peak times are growing. Knowing...

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Perfecting the Push Notification: Tips on Doing It Right

Perfecting the Push Notification: Tips on Doing It Right

In a recent post, we went over the power of the push notification. The stats are out: this modern marketing form has the capacity to grab consumers in a new way, rivaling email campaigns primarily because of visibility and directness. Here are a few tips on mastering the art of the perfect push: 1. Watch the Clock Your users probably don’t need to hear about happy hour specials at 6 AM, unless they’re feeling extra thirsty. It’s crucial to time your push notifications right. Aiming for afternoons, evenings, and weekends are always your best bet. I’m more likely to click a push notification about $1 tacos on my lunch hour than when I’m waking up. 2. Location, Location, Location In that same vein, targeted messages make all the difference when it comes to user engagement. Whether your business stretches country-wide or has just one location, radiused & geofenced push notifications help you reach the users that are most likely to respond and avoid spamming the ones who aren’t. 3. Short & Sweet There’s nothing like a good old character count to bring out the artful brevity. Think of push notifications like headlines—they should give the story in a glance. With great click-through options like linked tabs and templated messages, you can drive users to an expanded message, but you should never assume they’ll make it that far. Count on your conciseness to drive it home. Check out our geofencing capabilities and rich content options. Soon enough you’ll be pushing it better than...

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5 Reasons Restaurants Need an iPhone App

5 Reasons Restaurants Need an iPhone App

1. Push notifications What are push notifications? They’re small messages similar to text messages that are sent to everyone who has your iPhone application downloaded. These can be used to message out deal notifications and keep customers informed on your restaurant. Let them know about taco tuesday or thirsty thursday – the options are endless. 2. Full menu within 2 touches How many times has someone called with questions about your food? With an iPhone app – you can include your entire menu or drinks, food, specials, wines, basically anything your restaurant has. 3. Word of mouth When you create an iPhone application – it creates a buzz of it’s own. Your competitor doesn’t have an iPhone application and your customers with iPhones simply love their phones. Use mobile marketing to spark word of mouth. 4. Your customers are willing to put your business in their pocket A lot of your customers have iPhones and they love downloading and using apps. If you have customers who are willing to walk around with your business in your pocket you should DEFINITELY take advantage of this opportunity. In fact, you’d be crazy not to. 5. You can create an iPhone app for less than $4.00 a day An iPhone application could be one of the most cost effective marketing tools available. For less than $4.00 a day you can be putting your business in the pockets of your customers to take with them wherever they go. We recommend that you create a restaurant iPhone app as soon as...

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The Power of Push Notifications For Small Businesses

The Power of Push Notifications For Small Businesses

Mobile marketing is one of the fastest growing forms of marketing for small businesses, and the trend shows no signs of stopping due to powerful features such as push notifications. So to start, what are push notifications? If you download and use mobile apps, you’ve definitely seen these messages. Push notifications are instant alerts that show up in real time on a user’s mobile device to communicate a small message. You know those pop-ups that show a red number next to your mobile apps? Yup, those are push notifications! These notifications are being used by a large variety of businesses to improve customer communication with great success. According to global-marketing company Responsys, surveyed 1,200 adults and discovered that six out of 10 adults have downloaded apps from their preferred brands. Of those, seven in 10 have enabled push notifications for those apps. When a younger set of people were surveyed, those percentages grew. According to the survey, users enabled push notifications for the following reasons: – 50% for getting access to special or exclusive offers, – 44% to keep track of orders – 38% to review and manage accounts – 36% to access brands on the go – 34% to receive notifications in real time about sales and availability – 31% to look up inventory – 29% to stay up to date with products and services – 28% to receive location based notifications – 25% to better their website experience In-app notifications are being used a great deal, with 68% having enabled notifications for their apps, and 76% of the younger age range (18-34) having done so. The survey showed that 70% of consumers surveyed said that in-app push notifications were valuable to them, 43% of consumers said they were more likely to use a mobile app when push notifications were available. The statistics don’t lie. Push notifications are a huge part of apps and mobile marketing now, and businesses should take note. This means huge return on investment for small...

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The Smartphone Surge: It’s Not Going Anywhere

The Smartphone Surge: It’s Not Going Anywhere

The mobile market has never been more, well, mobile. With emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India, and China stepping onto the stage, smartphone sales continue to accelerate with no sign of slowing. By June, smartphone shipments had risen 23% from last year, hitting an all-time high of nearly 300 million units—a number that’s expected to rise another 13% by the third quarter, according to IDC and TrendForce. Demand is off the charts The research firms say the spike is due in part to increased demand for mobile computing and an abundance of low-cost smartphones. If history’s to show, this is a trend that won’t be forgotten. Since 2012, the number of worldwide smartphone users has skyrocketed, with an estimated 75% increase to close out 2014. IDC forecasts Android maintaining the top spot through 2018. With price points that hit on emerging markets, where the focus is affordability, the versatile and cost-effective devices are likely to keep hogging the spotlight. Apple is expected to hold down second place with a continued focus on the high-end consumer. Next month’s release of the iPhone 6 only echoes that business model, with an enhanced design that hones in on camera quality and screen size: two features Android arguably had in the bag with the sleek Samsung Galaxy series. Though this strategy has generally proven to stall growth in less affluent markets, the September debut may drive sales in emerging markets where Apple has previously been an underdog. Increased iPhone sales could in turn affect the Samsung market share, which has already seen a 7% decrease this quarter compared to last year, taking a hit from rising competition like Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad and ZTE—all expected to see over 30 million shipments by the end of the 2014. Trailing the top spots are Windows and Blackberry—the former showing signs of growth potential, but not enough to become a viable contender anytime soon. What does this mean? In short, a mobile-friendly world. As more and more consumers join the smartphone community, there’s a heightening expectation that businesses will conform—shifting resources to meet the needs of mobile users. It’s sink or swim, but we’re throwing out a raft, and now is...

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5 Great Mobile App Marketing Strategies

5 Great Mobile App Marketing Strategies

Did you know that there are over a million mobile apps in the app stores stores? With so many mobile apps out there, app-developers really need to have a strong marketing strategy to make sure their app is a success and is used by their customers. So what can you do to market your app, and ensure that users are finding and utilizing your unique app? We’ve listed five great marketing strategies to propel your app forward below. 1. Early Releases and Regular Releases This is a really important to do if you want to keep a loyal user base. Release features and upgrades to your app often. Word of mouth is the best way to market your app, hands down, so don’t be afraid to tell your customers about it! 2. Create A Unique Mobile Offering What does that mean to you? It could mean targeting a specific group of people or customers, or it could mean offering features that no other app offers. In some cases, it could mean both. Make sure your app has something to offer that your competitor’s mobile solutions do not, and you’ll guarantee a user base. Make your mobile offering unique to your customers. 3. Optimize for the App Store This one is really important. Just like search engines, you want to be able to be found when users look for apps like yours. You want to be the top result. You do this by utilizing the right keywords, titles and descriptions. Make sure your app comes up when relevant search topics are searched for. App store optimization is super important, because without it, users may not ever know you exist. 4. Make Your App Desirable For small businesses, the name of the game is implementing functionality into your mobile app that your customers will actually benefit from. Avoid creating an app just to have a billboard of your company in the app store and instead create an app that will show real utility to your customers. 5.Share Across Social Media Engaging in social media and using calls to action is also a really smart idea when marketing your app. Focus on letting your existing audiences know...

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6 Reasons Why Mobile Loyalty is a Big Deal

6 Reasons Why Mobile Loyalty is a Big Deal

Loyalty programs have been around for a long time now, but mobile loyalty programs are growing very quickly, as more and more small businesses put them in place. Why are the programs becoming so popular? The six reasons below set things straight. If you’re on the fence about adopting a mobile loyalty program in your small business, this post will help you see how valuable they can be. 1. Drive activity and boost revenue This is obviously the biggest benefit for most small businesses. Mobile loyalty programs give customers an extra reason to stop by and make a purchase. Each sale, while rewarding on its own, now becomes a little bit more exciting for the customer as they build towards whatever benefit you have offered. When a customer is close to a reward, it’s very hard to stay away. Mobile loyalty programs take advantage of this and create a bit of extra energy around your business. 2. Ease of administration Traditional loyalty programs with punch cards that need to be printed up, fake purchase detection to worry about, and other issues, can add tasks and costs that you simply don’t need. A mobile loyalty program, on the other hand, is easy to administer. You can change it as needed from your dashboard (if you built your app using Bizness Apps, that is), there are no cards to carry around and remember, and everything is handled on users’ mobile devices. Clean, elegant, and cost-effective – mobile loyalty programs make things very simple. 3. Reduce churn and improve loyalty Mobile loyalty programs give customers a reason to choose you over the competition. This helps you bring down churn and improve customer loyalty. In short, when a customer thinks about his or her options, you’ll have given them a reason to choose you. No surprise there. After all, they are called mobile “loyalty” programs! 4. Address loyalty program fatigue A big stack of cards in your wallet or purse is no fun. People might carry a few cards for their favorite companies, but most people have a limit to how many they’ll bother with. Mobile loyalty programs cut right through the fatigue, and make it easy for...

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Local Mobile Marketing For Small Businesses

Local Mobile Marketing For Small Businesses

Whether or not your business has already has a mobile app or mobile website, you’re already somewhat aware that you can use location-based marketing to encourage business to increase – but do you know all the mobile marketing strategies you can implement based on location? We’ve outlined a few of our most popular ones to make location-based mobile marketing work for you and help grow your business. 1. Send location based offers with push notifications Geo-targeted push notifications allow you to easily target users by location – down to a few hundred foot radius. You can target your users based on where they are, and what goods and services you provide that are relevant to their location. This can help most businesses, from bars to retail outlets, restaurants to medical facilities, libraries to mechanics. For example, if you own a restaurant, you could circle off a competing location so when patrons pass by your competitor your offer shows up to entice them over to your business! 2. Encourage users to check-in to redeem coupons So many people these days use check in features, whether it’s through Foursquare, Facebook, or another new mobile application. The more people “check in” at your business, the more business you’ll do, because of the exposure you’ll gain over your customer’s social networks. Providing a “check in” ability for customers to use will help spread your business by word of mouth and ensure that you’re being seen by a larger audience. For example, you can offer special incentives or rewards to loyal customers for “checking in” – it could be anything from a free item, a discount on a purpose, an entry in a giveaway, or something else. It’s totally up to you but make sure it’s relevant to your customers! 3. Place a QR code inside of your establishment Have you seen those strange pixilated squares all over signs these days? Those are QR codes, and they work well mobile apps. Basically, a user sees the code, uses their phone to scan it, and it takes them immediately to a mobile app which they can then download. You can tie in QR codes with special promotions, events or features,...

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Mobile Technology is Reshaping Small Business

Mobile Technology is Reshaping Small Business

A recent report conducted by AT&T and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council, a nonprofit group that promotes entrepreneurship and small business, small business owners have netted $67.5 billion a year from implementing smart phones and tablets in their day to day business activities. Mobile technology is saving businesses lots of money, as well as time. According to the survey. Smart phones are saving business owners $32.3 billion dollars annually. As well as around 1.24 billion hours of valuable time. Tablets and other mobile devices are also proving beneficial. The survey also revealed that small business owners aren’t working any less, but are simply making better use of their time by deploying mobile technology and applying mobile skills to their business dealings. They have implemented mobile and smart phone use into their every day business dealings and are enjoying more productive time as well as additional revenues as a result. A few of the perks of mobile technology: Employee productivity. According to the survey, small business owners and employees are using their smart phones seven days a week – even in companies that are only open five days a week. The use of smart phones is huge. Small businesses are using smart phones for just about everything, and the numbers are growing. Last year the number of small businesses using smart phones was 85%. This year it is 94%. More and more apps are being used. The survey revealed that three out of four small businesses (around 77%) are using mobile apps, sometimes three or four at a time. GPS, navigation and map apps were the most popular. Companies are also using apps for ease of access and planning. Many small businesses are using apps for every day functions like planning trips, GPS navigation, remote document access, banking and finance, and more. Mobile apps save tons of time. Owners have reported an increase in use and device dependency over the past couple of years, with 31% of businesses reporting that they’ve saved time by using apps instead of notebooks. Operating remotely grows business. 75% of small businesses surveyed said that their use of mobile devices has saved them anywhere from $500 a month...

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How Mobile Apps Can Help Churches and Other Religious Organizations

How Mobile Apps Can Help Churches and Other Religious Organizations

A mobile app can offer a wealth of benefits that can make church administration easier, strengthen the bonds of a congregation, and make communication simple. Yes, technically, a church doesn’t need an app – anymore than it needs the other items that make things more pleasant during services – but an app can offer a number of functions that make it totally worthwhile for churches of all sizes. For example: Increased Communication If church leaders want to communicate with church members, a mobile app allows them to do it a number of ways that are more likely to get a response than a flyer on the church’s message board or an email campaign. First, there are push notifications – short messages that users are notified of on the home screens of their devices. There are also posts to social media profiles that can be accessed from your app, and more. In addition, church members can send messages to each other via app as well, opening the lines of communication to the whole community. What can you share? Schedules of programs, hours of services, weekly verses, contact information for officers, event dates, and anything relevant to your church. It’s all up to you. Easy communication makes organizing your church and its various groups a breeze. Fundraising Mobile apps are a great way to ask for donations, or to ask members to share donation links to leverage their social networks. Asking for contributions during services can be limiting, but mobile apps allow you to open up creative ways to engage community members in fundraising initiatives using various channels. Support for Church Members Members sometimes need to share struggles and support each other, and mobile apps can meet this need. Some churches even use apps to allow members to submit and fulfill prayer requests. In addition, various support services can be connected to a mobile app, enabling community members to find the help they need more easily when it comes to distributing donated clothes and food, or helping members displaced by natural disasters. Video Sharing When community members can’t make it to events, video can easily be uploaded and shared. This allows community members to connect and...

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5 Myths About Mobile Apps For Small Businesses

5 Myths About Mobile Apps For Small Businesses

Many small businesses have joined larger ones in developing a mobile app for their customers, but there are still many holding out, with several small businesses not getting connecting with their customers on a mobile level. A recent study showed that more than half of small businesses don’t even have a website, much less a mobile app. The mobile app industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so all small businesses should consider engaging their customers with a mobile app, otherwise they will lose out on some serious business. But what’s holding small businesses back from going mobile? Why are some small businesses finding it so hard to develop a mobile app or even a mobile optimized website? Experts say it can be a combination of factors that can be easily avoided. We’ve detailed five of the biggest myths that might be holding SMBs back when it comes to mobile apps. 1. Developing a mobile app is too hard. Developing and creating a mobile app hasn’t always been as easy as today, but these you can build a mobile app in minutes using platforms like Marketing Presence. The problem is, many SMBs don’t realize that technology has changed, and that developing an app is actually really simple. 2. Mobile apps aren’t really necessary. Many SMBs make the mistake of thinking that they are well-known enough among their customers, and that a mobile app is just a waste of time and money. They mistakenly believe that an app, while helpful to some, won’t really drum up any new business for them. To the contrary, if you don’t have a mobile app to increase repeat business, or at the very least, a mobile optimized website, you are losing out on a huge chunk of revenue. 3. Social media presence is good enough. Small business owners often make the mistake of thinking that if they are on Twitter or Facebook, that they are getting through to all their customers. This isn’t completely the case – Facebook filters out posts from “fan” pages and business pages, so your customers only see a tiny percentage of the things you post. And with Twitter’s massive feeds, the sheer number of posts...

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19 Million Small Businesses with Facebook Fan Pages Active on Mobile

19 Million Small Businesses with Facebook Fan Pages Active on Mobile

According to Facebook’s director of small business, Dan Levy, the company currently has 30 million small businesses with active fan pages on their social networking website. That number is up by 25 million from last year, when Facebook first started counting SMBs with their current definition. Levy detailed this information during a press Q&A at Facebook Fit, a small business based event. He went on to say that Facebook has, in recent months, been “really trying to pivot to be more proactive” – meaning that rather than just reviewing and approving ads, the company is making more of an effort to work more closely with SMBs, making sure they have information they need. He called the process “an evolution”. If small businesses already have Facebook fan pages, it stands to reason that many of them are already implementing mobile apps, or will be doing so soon. Levy answered questions about how Facebook fan pages allow small businesses to interact with their customers, as well as the “reach” these businesses have with their “fans”. Facebook has taken flack in recent months for the decline in “organic reach”, that is to say, accessibility to their posts. The average viewer only gets so many posts from a fan page on their feed. Facebook claims that this is due to the increasing number of connections and updates, but users have complained that with Facebook becoming more and more ad and interest driven, Facebook is picking and choosing what they allow their users to see. How will this affect the average small business with a fan page? With it becoming more and more likely that businesses can only reach their fans with paid-for ads, it seems more likely to generate business and new leads with a mobile app. That way, customers can download the app and interact with their fans as often as they’d like. Businesses can offer special rewards, loyalty programs, interactive features, push notifications, and more. Facebook fan pages are much more limited in what you can offer your customers. As far as Facebook is concerned for small business, Levy said that the company will try to do “what’s right for the people on Facebook”, and that...

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Mobile Apps Drive Half of Time Spent on Digital

Mobile Apps Drive Half of Time Spent on Digital

According to figures from May of this year, mobile platforms and devices such as tablets and smartphones account for 60% of total digital media time spent. That is up from what was already an impressive 50% in 2013. In addition, mobile apps accounted for more than half of all the digital media time spent in May, at 51%. More detailed analysis on the leading content categories showed how some categories experienced shifts at a faster rate than others. For instance, digital radio (led by Pandora) gets 96% of engagement from mobile devices. Similar success was seen with photo apps like Instagram and Flickr, which also got 96% engagement from mobile apps. Maps, instant messenger services (like Skype, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp), also were strong leaders. Games, Downloads, Social Networking and other telecommunications apps lay somewhere in the middle. Social Networking may be in the middle, but it is more important than the numbers may show. According to further numbers, 20% of total digital time spent is comprised of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others. 70% of social networking time is spent via smartphone and other devices. It is important in terms of the internet economy because of its contribution to digital ad spending. Facebook has a huge mobile ad presence. Mobile engagement on social media has grown by 55% this year alone, and social networking also accounts for 31% of all growth in internet engagement for the past year. Facebook alone accounts for 24% of all mobile time spent. The Facebook App itself accounts for 18% of all mobile time spent. That is a mind-blowing figure! There is no doubt about it, apps are dominating the digital world, more than ever. Statistics show that people are still definitely accessing websites and content via browsers, but those numbers are dwindling more and more in the face of apps. There are some exceptions to the rule when it comes to apps – websites and companies that still do more business via a browser/site, such as Google and a few others. Generally speaking, though, most companies have realized that the best way to drum up interest and recruit loyal members/clients/customers, is through an app. So...

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