So which should you develop, a mobile web campaign or a mobile app?
The answer to that is dictated by your overall objectives, needs, budget, and target audience's mobile behavior. Theoretically for B to C or B to B campaigns, the choice between the two shouldn't be approached as an either/or proposition, but as an integrated complimentary strategy. In a recent white paper published by the MMA, A Brand Marketer's Guide to the Mobile Web and Mobile Apps: Not an Either/or Proposition, they laid out some core fundamentals to help us all see through the brightness of all the shiny objects launched each day. They first highlight the major differences between an App and the mobile web by defining each. They go through an insightful comparison of the pros and cons between the two. However the report was done through a general B to C and B to B lens. So how does this relate to recruitment and employer branding strategies? Well let's take a look.
What is an App?
An app is a piece of software that people download onto their phones from app stores or specific locations provided by their cell carriers. Apps are mainly associated to smartphones because of the capabilities of enriched graphics, animations and advanced functionality. Apps are developed specifically to phone platforms such as iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows.
Smartphones have become one of our most personal items we own. With that said, we are extremely picky about what apps we place on our phones. Apps take up space. If the app has a limited benefit in that it will not be used often, people will not download it onto their phones. This is crucial to think through when developing your app.
The MMA informs us that there are 3 main types of apps that marketers develop strategies to:
1. Branded Apps
Branded content and experiences to enhance some aspect of the company's product or brand
2. Mobile Media Related Apps
Basically extensions of the major media properties into mobile with functionality unique to the apps (CNN Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Weather Channel)
3. Mobile Shopping Related Apps
Making purchases through the phone
For recruitment strategies, the branded apps have the most opportunities. These types of apps are the ones we see getting all the attention because they are developed to enhance some aspect of the company's product or brand. From the highly entertaining ones to the engaging helpful ones, these apps help connect the consumers to the brands in immersive memorable ways. But the best ones offer relevant value as well. Bare in mind, application development is a significant investment compared to mobile web development which is outlined below.
What is the mobile web?
The mobile web is the internet accessed through the mobile device. All smartphones and some feature phones have a browser built into the interface to view the mobile web. The MMA informs us that there are 4 main types of mobile sites that marketers develop strategies to:
1. Branded Mobile Micro Sites or Landing Pages
These are created specifically to focus on one aspect of a company's message or brand. They offer the ability for instant additional content from a larger marketing campaign to be accessed by the audience from anywhere, anytime.
2. Corporate Mobile Sites
These are company corporate sites which are usually intended to serve as a simple overview for B to B purposes.
3. Mobile-Media Sites
Media driven sites optimized for mobile viewing. Sites such as ESPN, MTV, Gannet etc.
4. Mobile Commerce Sites
Retailers have adopted quickly to the demand from their customers that they want to be able to connect to their products through the mobile web. Information such as store locations and product availability, to commerce transactions.
For recruitment strategies the mobile web offers more opportunities than apps. However, regardless of which one you utilize, neither one of them should be considered stand alone.
Branded micro sites and landing pages are great opportunities for specific career area pages and hot job opportunities that are laser filtered to candidate's demographics. Matching up filtered branded mobile pages to the candidate's location, skill set, experience, and what they want to do is delivered through simple opt-in strategies that send targeted content right to the candidate's phone. And let's not forget about mobile seo benefits too.
Corporate mobile sites are a possible channel, but the career area content becomes a section of the overall site. This could create a clunky user experience when driving mobile users from recruitment marketing materials, and the career content will be more general and less laser focussed to the candidate's profile.
For mobile commerce sites, the opportunity is thinner because recruitment agendas are usually a foot note to the main objectives of the site. However, if part of your company's business strategy embraces cross-marketing strategies, there may be some great opportunities to turn customers into candidates leveraging brand loyalty as a carrot into career opportunities with the company.
Below you will see a chart from the MMA that displays the pros and cons between mobile apps and the mobile web.
Strengths and weaknesses
Features and user experiences