Amazon and Facebook, two of the biggest names in business, have been working hard to transition their users to mobile. And if you want your church to grow, you need to understand why.
Amazon’s been so serious about getting people using their app that they started a paid referral program in the fourth quarter of 2015. When a current Amazon app user convinces a friend to install and use the app, both users receive $5 toward their next purchase. What’s particularly interesting is that Amazon made the decision to invest $10 per app download at the end of a year when 60 percent of Amazon’s sales were already coming from mobile users.
Like Amazon, Facebook’s also been intentionally moving their customers towards mobile. Currently, 54 percent percent of Facebook users exclusively use a mobile app for logging in to Facebook. Mobile advertising accounts for 80 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue.
While these companies have different business models, they’re both committed to moving their customers to mobile apps.
And wise churches will pay close attention.
What Can Churches Learn from Amazon and Facebook?
Any business worth its salt works hard to discern the trends that will be driving their business in the years to come. Companies like Amazon and Facebook aren’t out to create interest in mobile. They’re not struggling companies on the hunt for alternative revenue sources.
If you were to talk to Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, or Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, they’d both likely tell you that the writing’s been on the wall for 6+ years. This current effort to move people to mobile has been the fruit of many years’ worth of planning. They haven’t been creating a trend, they’ve been preemptively responding to one.
Amazon is moving their customers toward its mobile app because mobile adoption shows no sign of slowing. By early 2014, mobile users were spending more time on the internet than desktop users—and 89 percent of that time was through mobile apps. Since more users are connected to mobile on the go, it only makes sense that Amazon would train customers to be comfortable purchasing from their mobile app—which they can do at any time.
Facebook’s interest in moving people to mobile lies in their ability to serve up appealing advertising in a way that comes across as least invasive. On the desktop, the advertising in Facebook feeds was competing with cheaper ads in the right column and contributing to an ad-heavy environment. With mobile, they can actually increase the number of specifically tailored ads in ways people are more apt to respond to.
Although their aims differ, both of these companies recognize that the browsing and buying habits of people are changing. We’ve moved beyond saying that people are becoming more comfortable making mobile purchases. They’re now becoming entirely reliant on mobile purchases—and these people attend your church.
Forward-looking churches are moving their congregations to a mobile app which makes giving and engagement as easy as buying a book or sharing an article.
You might be thinking, “We have an app, but no one really uses it.” If that’s the case, you need to take a page from Amazon and Facebook’s playbook: drive people to it and show them how great it is. This will help engage more members of your church and give them access to your ministry at anytime from anywhere. Afterall, they already have their smartphone at the center of their activity outside of church, make sure that church is an option in that mobile-centric world outside of Sunday.