Mobile Apps vs Mobile Websites: Which one is Better for Your Business?
Deciding between mobile apps vs mobile websites is never an easy thing for most business owners. Depending on your background before getting into business, this singular decision could be slightly hard for you or practically complex.
However, the very first thing to note is this – what is good for company A may not be good for company B. In other words, one size never fits all. Probably, you might have used both a mobile app and a mobile website in recent times. But that is not enough to decide on what is better for you.
Technically, mobile websites and mobile apps have some similarities and these similarities are the things that make the responsibility of deciding on this a hard one.
Even though this post is not a collection of technology questions and answers related to the use of mobile apps and websites, it will help you answer some of the key questions related to the main decision in focus. To make the decision easier, I will be making a comparison on the basis of the following:
- Offering a personalized experience
- Connectivity in offline mode
- Device capabilities
- Need to update
But first, let’s look into the basics.
What is a Mobile App?
It is a software application that is meant to be downloaded and used inside a mobile device. A mobile device, in this case, could be a smartphone or tablet. In most cases, mobile apps make use of both hardware and software systems in a mobile device.
Specifically, in terms of software, most mobile apps make use of iOS and Android mobile operating systems.
What is a Mobile Website?
It a special extension of a desktop website or collection of web pages that are optimized to work on mobile devices only. Unlike mobile apps, a mobile website doesn’t need to be downloaded into a device before using it. In addition to this, mobile websites don’t have the capability of using hardware features of a smartphone or tablet.
NOTE: A mobile website is not the same as a mobile responsive website. While responsive sites are made for all devices, mobile sites are usually hosted in a separate domain like company name.mobi or subdomain like m.companyname.com.
Mobile App vs Mobile Website: Understanding The Core Differences
Before we get to the key questions for business, it is important to understand the core differences between mobile websites vs mobile apps. With increased clarity in this regard, you’ll be able to choose which one is better considering the peculiarities of your business in focus.
1. Offering a personalized experience
Mobile Apps: To customize is to tailor an app users’ experience to the specific needs of every unique user. This is something that app users have to do themselves. In this case, a mobile app gives users control over the layout, content, functionality, and notification. For example, as a user of certain mobile apps, you can choose what you want to get notified about based on your current needs, needs, interest, and demographics you belong to.
In recent times, many businesses are beginning to explore the benefits of personalization. For example, one software as a service (SaaS) company achieved a 50.77% in demo registrations as a result of leveraging personalization.
Moreover, there is also a strong indication that personalization can result in improved customer retention rates and ROI.
Given the diverse nature of mobile app features and capabilities, you’ll have better opportunities to give your customers specific offers that match their personal preferences.
Let’s have a look at how Home Depot delivers a personalized experience to its customers.
The location service of the Home Depot mobile app is used by the company to provide tie in design trends and products localized to the area. The app is also designed to give guided directions to the customers after they enter a Home Depot store.
Mobile Websites: While some tools are popping up newly to improve website personalization, the depth of what you can personalize with mobile websites cannot be compared to mobile apps, especially the ones with static content.
By leveraging seamless integration with other platforms and apps, mobile apps offer even better personalization opportunities with rich datasets relating to location, demographics, and user history.
2. Connectivity in offline mode
Mobile App: Depending on the nature of your business and app, some mobile apps can run offline without needing an internet connection. Interestingly, you may want to look into the best mobile apps that run offline to get insights that will be useful for your business.
Mobile Website: On the other hand, most people will need an internet connection to open a typical mobile website. The mobile sites on their own also need to be live, active, and load quickly to remain accessible for target users.
3. Device capabilities
Mobile App: With mobile apps, certain device capabilities can be leveraged to provide more value while interactively engaging the target users. Just pause for some time and think of what you can do with things like GPS, camera, and maps integration. For example, some brands are now leveraging the availability of the camera in most smartphones to run Instagram photo contests aimed at growing brand awareness and customer acquisition.
What’s more, it can save:
- Page load time
- Battery consumption of the devices
- Users from having issues changing their data in offline mode
- Let people view content while travelling.
Mobile Website: Even when you build an interactive website, almost all mobile websites cannot make use of the device capabilities mentioned above.
4. Need to update
With mobile websites, users do not need to spend their time installing and updating new versions of your product to get better user experience or improved features.
Websites are updated from your side, right from adding new pages to fixing the bugs. Users will not need to spend any of their data to enjoy enhanced features and a better experience.
Mobile apps, on the other hand, require a number of updates.
Mobile Apps: The cost of developing a mobile app ranges from $50,000 to $450,000. According to Adriana Neagu, the co-inventor of Microsoft Office InfoPath, this depends on:
- the complexity of the app
- agency developing it
Mobile Websites: On the other hand, the cost of developing a mobile website can vary from $6,000 – $75,000. This depends on:
- number of pages
- type of business
- type of agency developing it
Why Care About Mobile Apps
From a marketing standpoint, every business ought to reach and engage with its target customers, where they spend a big chunk of their time daily. That domain today is mobile. After digging in a little bit, mobile seems so appealing to many businesses when compared to a desktop experience.
Just take a look at these numbers that will help you think through some mobile app vs mobile website statistics.
- Internet usage: 62% of global internet users access it via a mobile device. It may interest you to know that an average US adult spends like 2 hours 55 minutes daily on their smartphones. And then 90% of that time is spent using different apps.
- Mobile search: It is not news anymore that mobile search has overtaken desktop. That was far back in 2016. The most interesting part is that 76% of people who search on their smartphone for something nearby visit a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.
- Social media: People aged 65+ are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook.
- Mobile email: Mobile devices, especially smartphones account for 46% of email opens. Interestingly, this includes B2B emails as well.
- Mobile video: Over 100 million hours of video is being watched daily on Facebook. The majority of their viewers access the platform on mobile.
Mobile Apps vs Mobile Websites: The Verdict
Remember what I said earlier about the fact that what suits company A may not suit company B. In deciding what’s better for you in this context, you have to take into account the peculiarities of your business as well as the industry in which you are operating.
Understanding these factors will help you think through your decision. Let’s dive in further. Consider these things to decide perfectly.
1. Your Business Goal
First things first. Bring the exact goal you want to achieve into focus. To get started on this, find a quiet place and think through the nature of your business and the goal you want to accomplish with your mobile strategy. For example, you may want to achieve measurable growth in terms of growing brand awareness, customer acquisition or higher retention rate.
2. Target Audience
Who is your target audience? Should your existing or new customers take precedence or both?
Before you get into specific questions and answers related to technology around mobile app vs mobile websites, bring your target audience into focus. What exactly do you want to help your customers accomplish, experience or become as a result of using your mobile app or website?
3. Cost of Development
Whichever path you think is better for your business, it is going to cost you some money and time as well. But the main thing to note is that the costs are hardly equal. In most cases, the cost of mobile app development is usually higher than building a mobile website.
At this point, the most important thing to consider is affordability. However, I want you to understand the fact that simply being more affordable doesn’t make one better than the other.
To find the option that will be better for your business, here are the things I suggest you do. Get a notepad and list out the business goals you want to achieve and all other relevant factors. While you are doing it, think about the things that your target users care about the most.
With your brief notes, you may want to start engaging with mobile app vs website development agencies and experts. This will help you to get more technology and business insights.
In the case that you are considering your mobile strategy for long term business growth, it is important to compare the cost of getting in-house expertise too.
Fortunately, the insights you get in this process will help you to make a better comparison of the cost and benefits. Hope this helps you to make a decision soon. 😀