Last week, we wrote a piece on this blog chronicling the ongoing (and increasingly evident) decline of the native app. Of course we aren’t the only ones who have been pointing out deficiencies in the native app format, however we have been doing our best to lead the charge towards mobile optimization, and whether they heard the news from us or elsewhere, it seems the folks at LivingSocial have gotten the message.
LivingSocial is not averse to exploring the mobile platform. It has been employing a mobile app for a while now called Instant Deals, which tracks customers’ locations and suggests potential deals near them. While it’s clear the minds behind the scenes at LivingSocial recognized the potential mobile has for their business early on, it was not until just this month that the company fully optimized its mobile site.
While companies like LivingSocial are still doing big business on mobile apps, the benefits of mobile web optimization are huge. LivingSocial sends out alerts to users via emails, and as we’ve mentioned before, web traffic from mobile has consistently doubled every year over the past four years. This means that as mobile traffic charges toward being the primary source of web occupancy, it makes less and less sense to send emails that link to non-optimized sites.
LivingSocial’s primary competitors have also jumped on the mobile web bandwagon. Groupon, for example, made mobile optimization a priority early on, giving users the ability to search for deals on the go without having to fumble through resizing and redirecting. Another deal-based company, Tippr, announced that over 40 percent of its deals are accessed through mobile devices, and was also quick to go mobile.
While Tippr and Groupon may have gone mobile first, LivingSocial seems to be embracing the platform more so than its competitors. When visiting the Groupon mobile site, the first option offered to users is still to download the mobile app. Tippr’s mobile site is optimized, however the homepage leads with a large banner suggesting users select the app before they scroll down to the mobile site. LivingSocial seems to have decided to forego promoting its app, as the mobile URL launches directly to the mobile optimized site, with no mention of the mobile app at all.
So what can we learn from LivingSocial (besides where to find a massage and mimosas for 40 percent off)? Well, it’s simple really; whether you have embraced the mobile boom or not, it’s time to do so completely. Having a mobile presence is great, but if you really want to compete in the mobile space, you need to optimize from top to bottom.
Tell us what you think about LivingSocial’s new mobile site, the need for optimization, and anything else you want us to know. Follow us on Twitter @fiddlefly, and check us out on Facebook and Google+ as well.