Email isn’t dead, but apps could be…

It’s clear that digital practice is undergoing shift, but the areas in which changes are taking place might surprise you.

The average American now downloads zero apps per month, marking a movement away from platform-specific native applications in favor of browser use. dotmailer wanted to spend time scrutinizing this trend in order to derive the impact for email marketers.

When big names make big changes, it’s best to pay attention. Earlier this year, sustainable outdoor clothing giant Patagonia announced (via email) that it was discarding its native app, after having optimized its new website for all mobile devices. Anonymous Twitter responses to the brand’s decision illustrate users’ satisfaction with the move:

“THIS IS AWESOME. I love easy to use sites on mobile”

“Some apps should have never been apps”

“If you’re making an app and ignoring your website’s mobile experience, you’re missing the point”

 “So often I think: You’re a website! I don’t need another app! I have a browser!”

Clearly, the general consensus is that the fundamental, genesis web components (the browser and the inbox) remain the preferred and trusted mediums when it comes to using mobile. We can see this from actions like Facebook incorporating in-app browser capabilities: bookmarking, forward and back options, and an address bar for navigation. Hugh Dirkin, Senior Project Manager at Intercom, recently described Facebook as ‘our browser for the social web’; the platform’s successful “push” content strategy incorporates the discoverability of a browser with the relevance and direction of targeted email marketing.

Developments such as these demonstrate that day-one elements like email and web-browsers remain the favored channels for internet users. What’s even more interesting is that more recent technology, such as progressive web apps, have incorporated the much-loved features of these established mediums; think independent connectivity, linkable sharing, and responsive design.

Whatever the future has in mind for the app-store, developers will certainly be looking to the success of email automation and browser functionality to optimize their applications. It’s good to know that email will remain a digital muse for years to come.

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