Saturday, May 3, 2014

Reddit officially moves to mobile

For years, Reddit users have been wondering why the site hasn’t created an official app yet. Questions of this nature were posted often on the site and were met with answers from Reddit’s developers such as these:
via Cult of Android

“Our reasoning is that instead of putting time and effort into our own app, we'd rather work on providing an environment that enables other awesome app developers to build apps. Can't say that won't change in the future, but it has been our guiding principle over the past few years.” According to Alienth, a Reddit admin.

Even without an official app, IOS and Android users weren’t without an abundance of ways to browse Reddit. IOS users used Alien Blue and Android users used reddit is fun or BaconReader. Reddit also has a compact mobile website, which has a slightly app-like feel and functionality.

In 2011, Reddit did unsuccessfully launch an official app for the IOS platform called iReddit, which was quickly overtaken by in popularity by Alien Blue. But after years of waiting, on Wednesday Reddit users finally got the news they were waiting for--Reddit is trying again. And this time, it’s going mobile with an official app that’s being built for both Android and IOS platforms.

So why did it take so long for Reddit to make the switch to an official app? It’s possible the real answer is that Reddit finally realized the value in mobile--and they want in the game.

Native app use in the last 6 years, especially in 2014, has skyrocketed in popularity above mobile web browsing, as users are spending more time on their mobile devices. They’re also using apps thanks to the creation of games and the popularity of social media apps such as Facebook. A whopping 86 percent of users are now spending more time with native apps than 14 percent of users who prefer mobile web browsing.

via Flurry
One reason for the switch is the ever-lowering price of smart phones. Not everyone has access to a computer or a tablet. The affordability and access to smart phones allow for continued growth. Another reason is that everyone carries their phone with them, so they’re always conveniently available whenever a user needs access.

With mobile, Reddit could evolve from just an aggregated news site to to a true social networking community. Just like with other social sites users with mobile can post and photos updates on the go. Reddit touts itself as being the “first page of the Internet” and with mobile, users can post more frequently and during breaking news events.

So could Reddit have survived as a web-only platform? In the long-term, it’s not likely. It’s clear that native apps have won in popularity and now companies have to adjust to this trend or suffer the consequences of losing audience share.

This was originally posted at the Eagle Strategies blog.

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