Mobile Web vs Mobile App: Which to Choose for Your Business
by Ruslan Botnar
The increasing number of mobile users has sparked a heated debate: is an app or a mobile website better for businesses? The popularity of mobile channels cannot be ignored today. Some channels have only a mobile version of the site but also a mobile application. But if the budget is limited, then the choice to order a mobile application or website should be based on the cost of development, audience, and required functions.
Today smartphones make up 80% of devices used to search the Internet, tablets - 47%. For any business in almost any industry, it is recommended that you have a mobile marketing plan. But when it comes down to it, most cannot choose between mobile websites and mobile apps.
In the right corner of the ring: Mobile website
The mobile version of the site differs from the regular version in that it adapts to all screens of mobile phones. It should be convenient for users to use with content on the website and online store. It should be borne in mind that the mobile version of the site is essential with the constant increase in mobile phone users. Compared to a mobile app, the mobile version of the site has its advantages and disadvantages.
- The cost of a mobile site is included in the price of creating a site design initially.
- For a mobile site, you do not need to create a new site for different platforms since it works the same on all mobile devices.
- The mobile site does not need to be uploaded to stores in advance.
- A website with poor responsive design can negatively affect the usability and speed of the website.
- No offline access.
- Lack of push notifications.
At the same time, many sites are very poorly adapted for mobile devices. When choosing between a mobile site or an application, remember that ads, pop-ups, and useless content are not the best helpers when creating a convenient online store. In order not to overload the site with unnecessary elements, avoid complex site structures and intrusive animations.
In the left corner: Mobile application
The mobile application has many functions useful for online sales that are not available on the mobile site. If you need to decide whether to order a mobile site or an application, below is a list of mobile devices that can be used in the mobile application.
- Geolocation to contact the nearest company office.
- Push notifications to keep people informed of the current status of their orders.
- Camera to scan barcodes and get product information.
- Augmented reality to empower, as in the Dinaric V.R. tech project designed for business cards. You can download the application here.
- Fingerprint identification relieves customers of tedious routines such as passwords and logins.
- Additional development costs
- Additional settings. Before a user can tell a mobile app from the store, it needs to be placed there.
Unlike a mobile site, a mobile application engages customers more and quickly tracks changes in the online store. Push notifications are a great advantage for online retail. But unlike the mobile version of the site, the mobile application requires an additional investment of time and money.
Round one: The main goal?
First of all, the client must decide why the business needs a mobile application or a mobile version. Suppose the client initially wants a mobile application. In that case, it is worth considering that the mobile version of the site will bring profit faster and reach a larger audience. A mobile application should be chosen if the client wants to make the most of all smartphones' modern functions, where web development technologies are powerless.
Round two: New customers or old users?
Suppose the company has already established itself in eCommerce. In that case, it is worth investing in creating a mobile application that will help increase audience loyalty. As reported by comScore in its 2020 Mobile Apps Report, users spend 20 times more time using a mobile app than the site's mobile version. Mobile applications increase the loyalty of existing users in contrast to the mobile version of the site.
Round three: User statistics
According to ComScore, in its 2020 Mobile Apps Report, users spend 20 times more time on a mobile app than on a mobile site. When choosing a mobile version of a site or a mobile application, it is worth considering that the site attracts 3 times more unique visitors per month compared to the application. The site attracts 3 times more unique visitors per month compared to the application. It should be clearly understood that both solutions have both advantages and disadvantages for businesses. Purely hypothetically, if the client has an unlimited budget and no clear deadlines, then both a mobile application and a mobile version of the site can be helpful to businesses since they solve different problems. It is essential to understand which task is more critical now: finding new customers or increasing brand loyalty.
8 differences between mobile apps and mobile websites
#1. The site has more features than the application
The twenty-first century's beauty is that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between being efficient and just being lazy. We want to get more results for less investment. Visiting websites requires less work compared to downloading and using apps.
In fact, website attachment comes with a sense of trust. Users should be aware that they can find the information they need about the products on these sites. Conversely, faith is not entirely applicable to applications. This is all thanks to developers who sometimes decide to ignore some of the expectations of users. Therefore, in general, the site is aimed at more people since it is the easiest option. Secondly, there is more connection in expectations between the developer and the user.
#2. Apps are a win-win metric for marketing success
The critical element here is the reliability of the applications and the O.S. they run on. While apps need to be downloaded and installed, websites only need one browser. Although the browser is also a kind of operating system, everything is much simpler here.
For the average Internet user, this is the same application as any other. Modern browsing has almost reached its true purpose; it doesn't involve entering text. Instead, it includes links that open new pages in new tabs. And this creates problems with browsing and websites. If you've just run a marketing campaign and noticed a surge in your website's visits, this isn't always a success. Why? The campaign could have brought in visitors, most of whom like to jump from tab to tab, hardly shopping.
On the other hand, an application is usually a serious business. If the user has downloaded the app, he or she has taken a serious interest in what you have to offer. Thus, you can know the actual number of people who responded to your marketing campaign through the applications.
#3. Client applications are more expensive (fortunately, there are cheaper options.)
The most annoying thing about apps is that they have to run on more than one platform. You will frankly pay your developer extra money for the same application for IOS, Android, Windows, and other operating systems. And if you decide to share the burden of costs with the consumer, then expect a decrease in demand. So this is a kind of flaw that cannot be fixed. However, in the long run, the app can prove to be very profitable. Website development, on the other hand, won't be as expensive. In fact, you can use the CMS for a minimum monthly or yearly price.
#4. Websites offer you a passive approach to sales, while applications provide more active management.
To get any information from the websites, you have to visit them. If someone is not visiting your site, there is not much you can do. Alternatively, place advertisements or send emails inviting them to your website. Therefore, in general, this marketing approach is considered passive. In applications, you can use the pop-up messages that are offered in the catalog. More importantly, depending on the platform, applications can launch themselves and make suggestions to users. This can be a huge plus when you are offering a high-demand product for sale. You don't have to post additional marketing ads. Your app will take care of that.
#5. Websites are good at finding customers, while apps are good at retaining customers
Sites are an excellent option for finding new customers, given that they can be better optimized for search engine rankings. Suppose you are looking to attract new customers. In that case, it is reasonable to assume that they would instead buy from a website then download a dedicated app they might not even know about. On the other hand, apps are a good tool for customer retention. The client can choose whether to return to your site or not. There is not much you can do here except send promotional emails tagged with "promotions" in their Gmail mail. And the magic of apps is that they are right in front of the user's eyes, waiting to be tapped, and work more efficiently. Apps can send you analytics for each of your customers to offer customized products and track their purchasing patterns.
#6. Customers spend more on websites
According to research, a customer spends $ 1 on websites for every 42.7 cents in apps. This proves that customers are unwilling to pay for a mobile app, while mobile websites are preferred. This is probably related to item 7.
#7. Customers spend more often on apps
Research shows that people who regularly use their smartphones to shop prefer to use mobile apps. The number of transactions on mobile sites is much lower than the number of transactions occurring on mobile applications. This may be one reason why shoppers are willing to pay more on mobile sites - they do not make frequent purchases. They do not know about the possibility of getting a discount.
#8. The website is a directory. An app is a loyalty tool
When in doubt about whether you need a mobile app or mobile website for your mobile marketing strategy, think about it again. Apps and websites are not interchangeable. The differences listed above should not lead you to choose one over the other. In fact, by pointing out the differences, we're only trying to help you prioritize and set reasonable expectations. For example, now that you know that websites have more reach than apps, you can use your website to pre-launch your product. You also understand that websites are best used to attract new customers, so you can bring customers to a mobile site, build their trust, and direct them to an app. You can create your own marketing strategy using this list in any way that suits you.
P.S. In case of emergency, seek help
What do most people look for when it comes to discussions about apps and sites? On the one hand, websites can be best used as directories for a company's products. On the other hand, applications can be built to efficiently handle complex and dynamic functions that a user must perform, such as submitting a customized order and performing other database-related operations.
Suppose you doubt the choice between a mobile website or a mobile application. In that case, it is only natural that you must take into account all the nuances. To create a successful mobile marketing strategy, it is essential to consider how you relate your expectations and priorities to the possible results.
So, we found out that mobile websites and mobile applications complement each other, so we recommend having both. Mobile sites are great for finding new customers. In contrast, mobile apps do a great job with loyalty and customer retention programs. All of this, taken together, creates a mobile strategy that will benefit any business.
Customers who want to use the native features of modern smartphones to diversify the customer experience choose the mobile app. If the goal is to attract new customers to the online store, then the best choice is the site's mobile version. Our team can provide mobile app development and responsive website development services.