Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites: Which is Better for Business?

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: August 23rd, 2013 | Updated: July 24th, 2019

Mobile Apps vs Mobile Websites

The need to go mobile is becoming more and more urgent for many businesses looking to gain any form of advantage over a sea of competitors offering similar products and services. The key is to extend your reach to as many potential customers as possible. With over a billion smartphone users in the world, gaining a foothold in mobile marketing will surely enhance web visibility and amplify sales.

Creating an app or mobile website for your business will give your company that much needed boost in your marketing campaign. Choosing one from the other needs some careful consideration and a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each option. From mobile website design to custom mobile application development, these marketing services provide a good opportunity to increase a business’ return on investment (ROI).

A Closer Look at Mobile Apps and Websites

In order to determine which among the two would be better suited for your business, it’s crucial to understand the purpose for which they are built as well as their key differences. For starters, both apps can be accessed using handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. Some are designed to run on a specific platform, while some have cross-platform compatibility.

Mobile websites are, in many ways, similar to traditional websites. They also consist of HTML pages that are browser-based and are linked together or accessed through the Internet. One distinguishing characteristic that makes mobile websites different is that they are designed for touch-screen interface and smaller display.

Users also have access features that exclusive to mobile devices, such as click to call, location-based mapping, and more.

Apps, on the other hand, are self-contained programs that are downloaded and installed on a smartphone or tablet, rather than being accessed within a browser. Each mobile platform has a portal where users can search for apps and download it on their devices, such as Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Blackberry App World.

These mobile apps may pull necessary content and data from the Internet just like a website or download them alongside installation files to enable offline access.

Determining the Right One for Your Business

There is really no specific formula to a successful mobile marketing success. The most appropriate choice ultimately depends on company objectives. You may need to ask yourself what it is you plan to achieve or what market you are trying to penetrate. A reputable mobile app development company can present you with a list of viable options that would help you make an informed decision.

Why Should You Choose A Mobile Website?

As a business owner, it is very important to take into consideration how an app or website is able to accommodate the basic concerns of your customers and determining which between the two can better satisfy the needs of your clients. An outstanding mobile website development company will be able to properly address various client concerns with ease.

  • Accessibility – One basic concern of a customer is accessibility. A mobile website can be instantly available through a browser or a mobile device, provided that there is internet access. Apps on the other need to be downloaded and installed before they can be used. This can pose as a potential barrier between initial engagement and the actual conversion of users into customers. Many consumers are eager to get information that they don’t have the time to wait for an app to be installed.
  • Compatibility – Unless your mobile app is specifically designed for cross-platform compatibility, mobile websites are more reliable in terms of compatibility when compared to native apps because smartphone and tablet users using a range of platforms can easily browse them.
  • Upgradability – Mobile websites are upgraded instantaneously, as compared to a mobile app, which requires notification and permission from users. App updates also have to be downloaded per device, which means a person with two smartphones and one tablet with subscriptions to one particular app has to download the update once per device, which can be too time-consuming especially for those with a tight schedule.
  • Shareability – Mobile websites can be easily shared by publishers and users alike in various forms, from social media, email, or in print. Apps, on the other hand, cannot be shared and accessed in an instant.
  • Shelf Life – Users have the option to delete apps when they don’t find it useful. Even ones that are interesting enough will only last for a couple of weeks, if not days. Mobile-friendly sites, on the other hand, can be available whenever users need to revisit them.
  • Cost-Effectiveness – Mobile websites are easier to create and design, not to mention cheaper than a mobile application development project especially in the long run, in terms of tech support and sustainability.

Why Should You Choose a Mobile App?

  • Interactive – Mobile apps take customer experience to the next level, you can have an exciting game created in your company’s name or an informative and engaging app that lets your customers learn about your products and services.
  • Personalization – Imagination is the only limit to what you can do with an app in terms of personalization. You can even allow your users to have a certain level of authority when it comes to tweaking the app.
  • Complex Calculations and Report – Companies in banking and investment can create apps that allow quick and easy manipulation of data, perform complex calculations, and reports.
  • Access Without Connectivity – Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of an app is that it can still be designed to be accessible without an internet connection, which can prove to be useful when users need to perform certain functions when there is no connection around.

The Lowdown

The app versus web question is a very legitimate question for many business owners wanting to scale new heights in terms of ROI as well as those who want to penetrate the growing market of mobile device users. Choosing between the two options can be quite challenging because both offer multiple advantages to both the user and the owner.

Nevertheless, you can make your decision based on the following statement, which pretty much sums up the discussion. If you have chosen to go mobile primarily because of marketing goals, with an aim to dominate your competitors online, then a mobile website is the logical choice. On the other hand, if you’re more focused on interactive engagement with app users or to create an application that works similarly to a computer program, then an app is the better choice.

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