How to Decide Between a Mobile Website vs. Mobile App

Having a mobile strategy for your brand is extremely important. It is not enough for your brand to have a strong online presence. According to ComScore, more than 55% of people in the U.S. own a smartphone. That means your consumers need to have a way to interact with your brand on their mobile phone. There are a few ways to do this: mobile responsive design, a completely separate mobile site or creating a native mobile app.

There are clearly budgetary, operational, and strategic concerns that will impact your decision on how you will "go mobile" in your organization. But most importantly, you must consider who your user is and what kind of mobile experience you want them to have.

For example: has a huge repository of recipes on their website, which they could easily translate into a mobile website. But people who are checking Allrecipes on their mobile phone aren't trying to read recipes, they are trying to make a meal. With this in mind, created the Dinner Spinner app, which helps you do just that with a shopping list builder, intuitive recipe finder and "kitchen friendly"/ad-free view. It optimizes the content to appeal to the real scenario at hand.

Dinner Spinner app

As you can see from this example, an app was the best way to leverage the existing appeals of mobile - like it's convenience and form. An app is the best way to engage your customers on mobile. Here are some more benefits of apps:


11 Benefits of Mobile Apps

1. Cooler visuals

The graphics and effects on a mobile website can be very limited because of the bandwidth and technology. However, mobile apps have the capabilities to have superior graphics and effects, presenting a cooler looking visual to your users.

2. More Features

Mobile apps give you unlimited access to the phone's features such as the camera, microphone, GPS capabilities, etc., while mobile websites can give you very limited access to the phone's capabilities.

3. Less internet restrictions

Mobile websites always require the user to be connected to the internet in someway (Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, 3G, etc.) while a lot of apps do not require internet connection and can be used offline.

4. Speed

Mobile apps have the ability to run a lot faster than mobile websites.

5. Optimization

Apps are better optimized for mobile devices. They are made specifically for mobile and can be designed and created as such. While there is some optimization for mobile in a mobile website, there are still some limitations in that it is designed for computer use and is only slightly reworked for mobile.

6. Navigation

Navigation on mobile websites can be somewhat static, while on apps it can have a more interactive user interface.

7. Monetization

It is much easier to monetize a mobile app than a mobile website. In order to charge your users for what you are offering them over mobile, you have to offer additional features that makes it worth their while. That being said, apps are really the only way to offer these additional features that give users a different experience than going on their computer and going to your website for free. Even if you do offer a free app, there are still ways to monetize it such as in-app advertising and in-app purchases.

8. Users perceive apps as superior to mobile websites

In a recent study from Compuware, 85% of participants said they prefer mobile apps to mobile websites. The most common reasons they gave for their preference were that they are more convenient, faster, and easier to browse.

9. Better user experience

Apps have a stronger capability to create a better user experience than mobile websites. Apps are altogether a better experience when people are using them frequently.

10. Increase users' interaction time

When users have an app they like, they use it more frequently and for much longer amounts of time than the mobile website. Your app has to have enough value to get users to spend that much time interacting with your content. Luckily, Localytics can help you give that value to your app with our analytics and in-app messaging tools!

11. Strong mobile engagement

Creating a mobile website is a great start to going mobile, but it is just that, a start. Mobile websites can't really give you any insight into how people actually use mobile. In order to capture the real opportunity of mobile, you need to have an app. Apps are a better platform for engaging users based on how they actually use mobile. The tools at Localytics can be implemented into your app in order to help you understand key metrics about your users and engage them based on that data.


Wrapping Up

Color us biased, since as a mobile apps analytics and marketing platform we think the choice is pretty clear. But we want to help you be as successful as possible on your mobile strategy and give you a clear scope of all the options in front of you. Here is a helpful breakdown of the qualities of mobile apps compared to mobile websites:

The benefits of mobile apps compared to mobile websites

Has your brand experienced the benefits of a mobile app? Tell us how in the comments!


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