Mobile App Or A Mobile Website: Which Is The Best? 13 Aug 2021

Which is the best Mobile App or Mobile Website

Mobile apps and mobile websites are certainly the coveted options for businesses and customers. They both benefit modern marketers on a greater scale.

But the question is a Mobile app or a mobile website: Which is the best? Dig deeper.

In the past years, this topic has always been a never-ending discussion, and it still is. There have been a lot of debates over both the selections, and remarkably, both mobile apps and mobile websites have held their grounds consistently, if not equally. Marketing strategies take time to show results with both mobile apps and mobile websites.

Since 2014, mobile apps have consistently stayed on the top of mobile websites. However, that does not mean mobile websites are any less impactful. It is just that 2% of app users open an app over 100 times per day. So, overall, 51% of people check apps on their phone 1–10 times per day.

Whether you are a small business owner, a corporate leader, startup marketing enthusiast, or a sole proprietor, your strategy to leverage a mobile app or a mobile website or both can benefit your business from various technologies.

Both mobile websites and mobile apps are experiencing and will continue to experience high visibility and traffic by your viewers. You should be armed with knowledge about the inherent differences and benefits between the mobile app and mobile website.

What Is A Mobile App?

A mobile app is a downloadable utility on the smartphones or a tablet. It offers services after the users have downloaded the app. It could either be a free service or a paid one, actually decided by the business.

Mobile apps are quite different from mobile websites owing to their installation demands. It is available on the device’s app marketplace. It provides businesses the opportunity to introduce their private and personal space to their customers. It is possible because mobile apps can be customized based on the user’s preferences.

What Is A Mobile Website?

A mobile website is particularly customized to touch-screen-enabled, a.k.a. smartphone users. It leverages the tablet and smartphone’s technology to access web browsers, assist navigation, offer animations, and announce the company’s best features and services. Android’s Chrome and iOS’s Safari are the most commonly used mobile website browsers. Users search on these platforms to access mobile websites.

Mobile App Vs. Mobile Web: What’s The Difference?

The mobile apps and mobile websites are accessed via a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet with an internet connection.

A mobile website embodies browser-based HTML pages that are interlinked. Responsive websites are built for diverse platforms, and they are called responsive due to their nature to adjust to different screen sizes and layouts. Responsive websites have become mandatory these days.

Like mainstream desktop websites, mobile websites will display text content customized to different screens, images, videos, and data. Call-to-actions and GPS are also part of the mobile website features.

Mobile apps, on the flip side, are software applications that must be downloaded and installed on the user’s mobile device to gain access. An application will extract data and content from the Internet, similar to the mobile website. One of the notable differences is that the mobile app will allow a user to download the content so they can access the data later without an internet connection.

Yes, it is official that an internet connection is not required always to access a mobile app, unline a mobile website.

We have listed the pros of both mobile apps and mobile websites, so you could make an informed decision while executing a mobile strategy for your business.

Why Mobile Apps Are The Best? Advantages.

A native mobile app is a software application that is developed and designed for a specific platform, for example, iOS or Android. It can be downloaded and installed on the device directly. A native app is built with the language of the operating system of the device. Apps are an extension of the business and a different entity from your company’s website.

1. Branding Opportunities

Since mobile apps constitute a different unit of the business, the brands have extended branding opportunities. Businesses can perform different experiments and try out new tactics on a mobile app. Mobile apps offer a completely different experience and are considered more personal. You can make use of the lost branding opportunity on the website with a mobile app. It is a great medium for engagement, interaction, and re-engagement.

2. Personalization

Personalization is about providing customized and specific communication to your users based on their interests, online usage, demographics, sex, gender, age, and other preferences.

Mobile apps are a great personalization tool. It allows the users to customize the app specifically for their needs. Business owners will have access to the data to track user engagement on your app and improve your app’s features based on the insights your users have given you. Isn’t that amazing? More personalizations will increase your user’s time on your app, and that means more returns for you. Either way, you are building a winning business.

3. Take Advantage of the Mobile’s Competence

A native mobile app can communicate with the mobile’s hardware, software, user’s features like GPS, camera, mic, photos, etc.

Having access to the device’s capabilities is crucial for retail apps as they can improve the overall customer experience by multifold. If there is an undeniable truth to shopping, it is to provide a personalized and great customer experience.

Hence, a mobile app is an ultimate way to enhance the customer experience, augmenting as the extension of the retailer’s brand and providing features that are not possible on the website. A few possibilities are:

  • Push notifications
  • Tap a button to either call or email
  • Device notifications
  • Camera and access to photos
  • Instant updates
  • Location-specific updates

Mobile websites, in contradiction, are confined when it comes to accessing mobile features and competence. Mobile websites can use very limited features like cameras, GPS, etc., because of technological constraints.

4. Offline Access

Mobile apps can run without an internet connection. Although it demands internet connectivity to access the app and run a few things, it can still work offline to access content and some functionalities. This feature makes users access the app anytime and anywhere.

5. Customer Engagement

Mobile apps run in their own native environment that enables users to engage more. The mobile apps are designed for a purpose to get the customers glued to the app and enjoy browsing. They target the specific pain points of the browsers and address them on the app.

For example, banking. Banking apps are straightforward than websites. From logging in to completing the transaction, a mobile app helps users navigate quickly and gets the job done rapidly.

In addition, mobile apps are more interactive with the users. The users can instantly share, tweet, engage with the content. The additional value-addition of the mobile app encourages the users to come back to them again and again, building an indefinite habit. All these great features contribute to overall great customer engagement and loyalty.

6. Brand Visibility

Another major benefit that mobile apps possess over mobile websites is your brand’s icon on their device. Having an icon on the mobile’s layout is a constant reminder and publicity for your brand. It is a hyper-targetted marketing approach that cannot be provided by any other marketing strategies.

Mobile apps are specifically built for the handheld device, keeping in the mind the device’s capability, audience, and levels of interaction. It can never fall behind the website.

83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important. As a native mobile app developer, you must focus on building mobile apps that offer a seamless experience across the app.

What Are The Benefits Of A Mobile Website? Pros.

A mobile website is like a normal desktop website but designed with responsiveness, so it could adapt itself to different screen sizes. Essentially, a mobile website is a modified version of a mainstream desktop website, so it can be used on mobile browsers.

The advantages of using a mobile website are:

1. Wider Audience Reach

Mobile websites definitely have a wider audience reach compared to mobile apps, where users are required to download and install the app to access any information about your brand.

Mobile websites work across all platforms and can be easily accessed either on search engines or browsers. Today, almost all smartphones and mobile phones have default browsers and search engines in them based on the OS.

2. Cost-Effective

Mobile websites are a cost-effective option compared to mobile apps – in terms of resources, skills, development charges, technology, and technicalities.

A responsive mobile website will work on all the OSs, unlike a mobile app that needs to be built and designed specifically for an OS: Android or iOS.

3. Brand Visibility and SEO

Mobile optimized websites have higher brand visibility – Thanks to the SEO!

The more you optimize your brand’s mobile website, the higher your brand is going to rank on the top. Increased website traffic, engagement, lesser bounce rates, etc., are a few of the important features that will follow organically when you have an optimized mobile website for your business.

4. Support and Maintenance

The investment considerations of mobile app vs. mobile website don’t stop with the initial launch. Regular maintenance and providing continual upgrades and testing, checking for compatibility problems, and ongoing development and feature releases are important. Mobile websites are considerably on the lower side or providing continual support and maintenance.

5. Instant Updates

A mobile website is a lot more dynamic than a mobile app. Mobile websites upgrade themselves automatically. If you want to change or modify anything on the website, you can simply edit and publish the things instantly. It wouldn’t take much time. On the other hand, mobile apps require a process. The back-end team requires a lot of time, and then the user must hit the update, which will download and install the app again, so they can consume the information.

Mobile websites may be a less expensive option, however, they are very limited when it comes to personalization and engagement. Additionally, websites simply can’t be as tightly integrated with the user’s device, so they can’t leverage the phone’s other capabilities as easily.

Mobile App Or Mobile Website: Which Is The Better Option? Key Takeaway

Let’s talk statistically…

What’s everyone doing on their smartphones? Well, 88% of mobile time is spent on mobile apps.

21% of Millennials open an app 50+ times per day.

Most users have more than 10 apps installed on their phones.

Facebook Messenger is the top mobile app worldwide by download, and WhatsApp is the top mobile app worldwide by monthly active users.

The list could just go on and on.

Oh, it’s no wonder with over 3.2 billion smartphone users globally, the mobile app industry is flourishing. These numbers indicate that smartphone infiltration and app usage are constantly increasing, and they will only continue to increase in the future.

So, statistically speaking, the numbers do favor mobile apps over mobile websites.

However, the right choice between mobile apps vs. mobile websites depends on your business’s objectives and the goals you aspire to accomplish. Besides, it also depends on the nature of your business, whether it is a service that you provide, mobile-friendly content that you want your users to read, a product that can uplift your users, etc.

For example, if your objective is to provide mobile-agnostic content to your readers, then a mobile website will be the best option.

If you want to create engagement, interaction, and communication with your customers to boost customer loyalty and retention, a mobile app could serve as a better option.

In a few cases, you may require both a mobile app and a mobile website. If you have the resources, budget, and time with a clearly defined strategy, you could certainly leverage a mobile app and a mobile website for your business to achieve its goals. Thus, when it is the decision between your business’s mobile strategy, it is the question of requirements, nature of the business, budget, and your target audience.

If you are looking for an expert’s guidance and bespoke mobile strategy for your business, contact Velan today.

Peter Paul

Technology Consultant

About the Author:

Peter has over 20+ years of experience in managing and delivering enterprise applications and IT infrastructure. He served several IT companies in the US and Canada before joining Velan. He is instrumental in deploying, managing and delivering latest technologies at Velan. He can be reached at peter.paul@velaninfo.com

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