I saw an ad today that had me puzzled at first. It was for a real estate agency, Re/Max, with a simple non-descript illustration, but with a huge call out: NO APP REQUIRED.
I'm so used to seeing ads that hype mobile apps that I couldn't immediately conceive of what the ad was getting at. I thought they might be suggesting that their human, local agents are better than cold tech. But that wasn't the case (we all know tech is superior to humans - I don't want to offend our future robot overlords).
There was only other bit of text and it revealed the mystery. It was the URL Remax.ca.
Following up on the URL on my mobile device I found a really good mobile friendly website that had everything I would need from a realtor.
But to get this info, I didn't have to go to an app store, find, download, install, and then find again (within the clutter of my device's many apps).
Aside from the hassle of downloading apps (compared to the ease of locating a mobile website) studies have shown that users can only handle a few number of apps and only regularly use a small number of apps. Despite how developers sell companies on the need for an app and then companies hype their apps - we just don't need more apps.
The World Wide Web would never have become as popular and powerful today if it had followed this app model.
I think Remax going against the grain shows a genius level of knowledge of their customers' needs - even if the customers don't know they don't actually want an app for each company they do business with. Apps have been worshipped to such an extent and across sectors that recognizing the truth is no easy accomplishment.
Google has recently been encouraging and now enforcing websites to be mobile friendly to rank well. (Read this article on this topic.) But otherwise I do not hear tech companies or design agencies insisting companies consider the mobile web first (as I have been for years).
So kudos to Re/Max for figuring this out ahead of the curve.
I'd like to know what prompted them to do this campaign so I will ask them and report back here. In the meantime, make your website mobile friendly and consider mothballing your app.