The debate on mobile app vs mobile web has raged for years. We thought we had put it to rest a couple of years ago, when statistics overwhelmingly favored apps. New research from Comscore not only confirms this trend, but also shows that app users are a much more captive audience. But the days of publishing your app on a single app store and hope for an uptake are over.

First, it is clear mobile web is growing.  In the US, there was a 36% increase in terms of number of mobile web properties that reached unique visitor milestones, whilst for apps this growth was only 7%.  This of course is a result of more and more businesses bringing their web properties to a mobile format.  This makes total sense when you look at Google thinking of changing how search results are presented based on your mobile presence, and the fact that mobile is becoming the primary usage channel for online.  However, when it comes to usage, apps are by far dominant:

Source: Comscore 2016 US Mobile Apps Report

At the same time, statistics is showing that app discovery is getting harder and harder. Publishers and developers alike need to start reverting to advertising to get discovered:

Source: Comscore 2016 US Mobile Apps Report

The big app stores are not growing in importance, and traditional discovery methods such as discovery from websites or ads are increasing. And if it is not clear already, you cannot, and should not, rely on a single store for your app. There are multiple facets to any marketing strategy, and distribution (the ‘Place’ of the 4 ‘Ps’ of marketing), is by far the most overlooked strategy in our opinion. Knowledge of ASO and spending on ads is well known, but you need to be smart on both where you spend and where you distribute.

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