Wondering how to increase your sales? You should give a try to a mobile-first strategy. Why? For the simple reason that an average adult spends 5.9 hours everyday with digital media, out of which 3.3 hours are spent on mobile. The long jump from 0.3 hours per day to 3.3 hours took only about 9 years. When planning for a mobile strategy, what’s the first question that comes to your mind? Should I go for a mobile application or a mobile website? At first glance, a mobile application and a mobile website may appear to be the same, but both have different purposes altogether. Working as a successful mobile app and website development company, we have worked on a sufficient number of projects, and we can help you pick one for your business. Which of the two options to choose may depend on various factors like intended purpose, required features, target audience, available budget, etc.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MOBILE APP AND MOBILE WEBSITE
Before you start to evaluate which of the two is better for your business, it is crucial to understand the key differences between a mobile app and mobile website. Both apps and mobile websites can be accessed on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. A mobile website is a website that consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together. Mobile website differs from a standard website in a way that a mobile website has responsive designs. Whereas, a mobile app is a software application that must be downloaded on the mobile device in order to access it. An app also has to be submitted to the store for approval and then the users look for it in that app store for downloading it. Let us see the advantages of mobile app and mobile websites and then decide what is more beneficial for your business.
ADVANTAGES OF A MOBILE APP
1. Push notifications
Push notifications provide value to both – the end users as well as the business. Users can receive updates in real time regarding discounts or other offers. They also enable businesses to communicate directly to the user via specific call-to-action notifications. Push notifications help in increasing click-through rates, promote products or offers and also drive users to more marketing channels.
2. Offline access
One of the best benefits of mobile apps is that they can run offline as well. Although many apps need an internet connection to perform most of their tasks, they can still offer many functionalities in offline mode. This feature allows users to access information offline, anytime. They can read articles, listen to podcasts, etc.
Personalization is all about providing tailored communication to users based on their interests, geographical location, user behavior, and more such factors. You can provide a personalized experience to your users through mobile apps by letting users set up their preferences Moreover, you can track their engagement to offer them custom recommendations and updates. Apps can also access users’ location and provide them with geography-specific content.
4. Branding opportunities
Mobile app works as a new entity for your business since it is separate from your company’s website. Thus, an app offers new branding opportunities for your company. You can use your company’s app to experiment with new branding tactics and styles. Another point to note is that an app provides a completely different user experience from the website. This allows you to form a new mode of engagement with your consumers, especially if they are not being attracted by your website.
5. Brand presence
One of the key benefits of mobile apps is that once a user installs an app, even if they do not use the app, the icon of the app reminds them of the brand associated with the app. Whether an app is made for brand-building or not, your company’s mobile app influences the way people perceive your company. It acts as an advertisement for the brand.
6. Leverage device capabilities
One of the key advantages of mobile apps over websites is that apps have access to device’s capabilities like camera, GPS location, etc. This helps a great deal, particularly for retail apps, as it helps improve the customer experience. Here are a few possibilities:
- Push notifications
- Tap to call/ email
- Device alerts
- Instant and automatic updates
7. Customer Engagement
Mobile apps run with their own interface and allow more interactive ways for users to interact with an app. Most mobile apps serve a particular purpose. The apps address users’ pain areas and help them become immersed in the complete user experience. Hence, mobile apps end up generating greater customer engagement.
8. Better Performance
In conclusion, a well designed mobile app can perform better and faster than a website.
ADVANTAGES OF A MOBILE WEBSITE
1. Quick access
Users can access mobile websites more quickly and easily than mobile apps. You can also access them from any device. But to access an app, the process is lengthy. You first have to open the app store, search for the app, download and install it before finally being able to use it.
2. Multi-Platform compatibility
A mobile website has to be developed only once and it can be accessed from any device, be it Android, iOS or a Windows phone. In fact, to optimize a website for mobile devices, the developer only has to make a few minor changes. However, you have to develop apps separately for various kinds of operating systems and then send each of them for approval to the respective app store. This is a tedious process.
3. Instant updates
The updates made on the website are visible instantly, hence allowing more flexibility to you. Be it a change in design, content or a new feature, all you have to do is publish and you’re done! On the other hand, you need to push the app updates to the users. The users will then download the updates from the app store. If they don’t download the new version of the app, the new changes won’t be visible to them.
4. Can’t be deleted
Did you know that 21% of users delete mobile apps after using them just one time? App retention rates keep fluctuating and it is a serious questions whether an app will remain in the user’s phone after being installed or not. A user may use an app and delete it shortly afterward, but the good thing about websites is that they can never be deleted.
5. Doesn’t block storage space
As you don’t need to download websites to a phone, they do not block storage space. But when it comes to mobile apps, they take up a lot of space and it keeps increasing as we download more data from the app.
6. Cost effective
The development costs for a mobile website is generally lesser than mobile app development. This holds true especially when you want your app to be present on more than one platform.
7. Broader reach
Mobile websites have a higher reach capability than a mobile app. Compared to apps, it is easier to share a website with others. All you have to do is copy and paste the link. Whereas, an app has to be searched and downloaded through the play store.
8. Support and maintenance
Maintaining an app consists of upgrades, compatibility issues, testing, and ongoing development. Over the time, it proves to be much more expensive and elaborate in comparison to a website.
HOW TO DECIDE WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE?
When it comes to deciding between a mobile app and a mobile website for your business, the answer is simple – it depends on your business objectives. If your business goals are to deliver content, you establish a connection with a wide range of people. You could do this by being found by people through search engines while investing minimal time in maintenance. If you want to opt for this, a mobile-friendly responsive website is the logical choice. However, if your goal is to engage your users better and communicate with them to drive customer loyalty while using the native features of a phone, then mobile app is the right choice for you. Even mobile app vs. mobile website statistics show that mobile users spend 90% of their time on apps and remaining 10% on the browser.
In general, a mobile website should be the first step in developing a mobile web presence, whereas you should have an app for a very specific purpose that cannot be accomplished with a website. However, one thing to keep in mind before hiring a mobile app developer or a web developer is that both, an app and a mobile website are not mutually exclusive. In fact, many companies have both – a mobile website for general web presence and a downloadable app for more specific requirements. We hope you got more clarity on the topic. If you still have doubts regarding the same, we would love to hear from you. Drop in your queries in the comments section below.