Updated: Feb 23
Studies suggest that by the year 2020, the number of mobile phone users all over the world will reach over 4.78 billion. Thus, businesses can expect that the number of online audiences they will have to cater to will skyrocket in the years to come.
Since we mentioned mobile phone usage, let’s look at a few facts in this context. As of 2018, 58% of website visits were from a mobile device, and this percentage is steadily rising. On the other hand, app usage has outdone desktop usage with studies suggesting that 90% of the time spent on mobiles is on apps.
All these facts lead us to one of the key questions for business in the present times:
How does a business win the current market - with mobile websites or mobile apps?
Difference between mobile websites and mobile apps
Mobile apps and mobile websites may look similar but are completely different mediums. Choosing between them depends on several factors, like:
● target audience,
● intent, and so on.
A mobile website has a number of linked HTML pages based on a browser. Responsive sites, which are increasingly becoming the norm for the industries, are made for different platforms, and they can easily adapt to varied screen layouts and sizes.
Mobile apps are downloaded and installed on the device of a user. They can pull data and content from the internet just like a website, and can even function offline at times.
Let’s get into the Pros and Cons of Mobile Website and App to help you understand what your business needs.
Why go for mobile apps?
Apps are like an extension of your brand. To get into the Technology questions and answers about it, apps are developed depending on a device’s operating system (android or iOS).
Here are the top five advantages of opting for apps for your business.
Helps you create a brand name
Being a completely different entity than a website, an app can provide new branding opportunities. If you are worried that your website can’t create enough brand value, then a mobile app might just be the solution for added engagement.
Brands like Domino's Pizza USA, Nike, Starbucks, and Shell have found success in using mobile apps.
Shell’s Motorist smartphone app is designed not just around its core services but to deliver as per its customers’ needs.
By improving the customer experience, Shell has scored many brownie points in terms of branding with its mobile app.
Allows to customize your services
Customization through apps is all about providing personalized services to users depending on their location, interests, usage habits, and more. Apps allow users to personalize the settings depending on their needs and preferences. So tracking user engagement and using it to provide customized updates or recommendations to the customers becomes easy.
Home Depot uses its mobile app’s location service to provide tie-in design trends, products localized to the area as well as guided directions to the customers when they enter a store.
Helps your business make the best out of the features of the users’ device
An app can use the features of a mobile device, like GPS location, camera, and more to send notifications, provide auto updates, let users tap to email or call and more. This is especially useful for retail businesses that can enhance the user experience which is essential when it comes to shopping. After all, relevance and context are the keys to earn customers’ favors.
Allows you to reach customers in offline mode
When it comes to mobile apps, a variety of tasks can be accessed offline. So, users can stay engaged with your business anywhere and anytime they want.
What’s more, this save:
Page load time
Battery consumption of the device Users from having difficulty changing their data in offline mode
This way people can also view app content easily while travelling.
Why go for mobile websites?
A mobile website is basically a responsive version of a regular website. It is made to run on different screens due to its responsive design.
Related: Build an Employee Mobile App
Here are the reasons why mobile websites are a good bet for your business.
Help reach out to a broader audience
Barring the mobile app vs. website statistics, it is important to keep in mind that mobile websites can run on all platforms. Taking the search engines into consideration, mobile websites have a greater reach compared to an app that needs to be downloaded.
Provide good brand visibility and enhance SEO
Search engines love mobile-optimized websites, and they tend to rank higher on the SERP. Thus, what you get is higher site traffic from greater online visibility. For example, websites are a good way to display content such as infographics with marketing content.
Offer an affordable solution
Based on the complexity, developing responsive websites is an affordable option.
The cost of developing a mobile app can range anywhere from $50,000 to $450,000 depending upon the complexity of the app and the agency developing it, according to Adriana Neagu, the co-inventor of Microsoft Office InfoPath.
App development costs increase further when you aim to deliver something that has its presence on multiple platforms.
On the other hand, the cost of developing a mobile website can vary from $6,000 - $75,000, depending on the number of pages, complexity, type of business and type of agency developing it.
No 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.
So, is it mobile apps or mobile websites?
Going by the statistics, the apps win by a margin. Reports suggest that the revenue from apps is going to increase by more than 50% to reach 139.6 billion in 2021.
However, it all comes down to your business objectives. If you aim to deliver mobile-friendly content to a wider audience, then a responsive site will serve you well. But if you aim to enhance user engagement and interaction to secure customer loyalty, then perhaps a mobile app is what you need.
In most cases, businesses use both an app and a mobile website to get value and drive profits. Perhaps it is not about choosing one, but rather an all-inclusive approach. If you want to know what your target audience would prefer and what would be better for your business technology and budget-wise, it’s a great idea to do some research into discussion forums.
Author Bio: Samuel Alfie is a blogger at ProProfs Discuss, the #1 Q&A website with millions of wisdom seekers collaborating to ask questions and get the best answers. He loves reading and writing about a variety of topics including technology, business e-commerce, science, philosophy, pop culture, digital media, and more. With a knack for writing, enthusiasm for research and an editorial mindset, he loves creating content that resonates with the audience.