Mobile apps or optimized websites? The internet marked the beginning of both. Since its commercial launch in 1992 it conquered desktops worldwide. Initially it was considered and planned to support academic research only, but was soon used in private domains, too. Companies focused on the optimization of their desktop websites – to increase brand awareness and retail online. Many years after the internet’s launch smartphones revolutionized the way we communicate and our provision of information.
With its launch in 2007 the iPhone made massive waves, down to the present day. Instead, many companies now started focusing on optimizing their online presences for smartphones and other mobile devices such as tablets. Surfing the internet via the latter mobile devices has out-competed surfing using computers. The new principle ‚mobile first’ has become the maxim for international marketing departments. Mobile website or mobile app? An exciting question we will answer in the course of this article!
Mobile website and mobile app: definitions
Mobile websites and web browsers hardly differ from other websites. Besides their adaption to so-called handheld displays! This adaption is essential, as conventional websites lose their formats when displayed on smartphone screens. Be it textual content, pictures or buttons – if they are not being adapted for smartphone usage, they get out of place when opening the website. A solution for this dilemma might be the implementation of responsive web design. A responsive website automatically assumes the format required for the device and display at hand.
Mobile apps can’t be accessed via a web browser, whilst mobile websites can – this marks the biggest difference between the two. Instead, users download mobile apps in their app store. Some apps can be used offline, too, whilst others require internet connection.
Mobile websites: advantages and disadvantages
Whether you decide to create an app or not: In any case, an online presence in the web browser makes sense. A responsive or mobile website can be found more easily by your potential customers via the search results and a high ranking in the search portals. With every website visit and a high click-through rate, your website will increase in ranking. It is precisely this organic growth that makes your mobile website visible to more potential customers. You cannot benefit from this reach with mobile apps.
Updates and changes within the corporate website are also displayed more quickly. Changes within a mobile application, on the other hand, require an update. If a user wants to share this latest content with others, the URL can be shared with a simple link. Also, your mobile website can be created across devices, whereas a smartphone app may need to be developed for different operating systems.
Overall, the design of a website is therefore cheaper as well as quicker to implement. From the moment it is published, it is accessible to internet users, whereas a mobile app first requires a download. This requires more internal storage space, but less data volume and battery power than using a website.
Mobile apps: advantages and disadvantages
Developing an app gives you direct access to one of, if not the most important device in your customers' lives. Once they have downloaded your mobile app, you can better reach their end users. This is because apps allow you to send so-called push notifications, even if the app is only running in the background. This allows you to alert customers to news and promotions, as well as place targeted advertising.
Since the smartphone is a constant companion nowadays, you can reach your target group immediately and at almost any time. Accessibility is increased by the fact that an app can be opened with one click, whereas users have to search for a website via their browser first. Also, end users stay logged into the app, whereas using a website requires a repeated login. This allows the customer to buy a service or product with just a few clicks, without any login process.
If you also integrate discounts and benefits when shopping via the app, you create further incentives. Incentives that are reinforced by the increased brand awareness. Because if the smartphone user repeatedly sees the app icon and thus your company logo, your brand is consolidated in their consciousness and subconscious. In the case of brand recall, i.e. the naming of a brand for a certain product category, the user is more likely to remember your brand. And what company doesn't want that?
Mobile website or mobile app? Our résumé
Both mobile applications and websites offer numerous advantages. The decisive factors are the product or service and the target group. If you want to offer interactive elements such as games, the choice should be an app. If you want to regularly share content in the form of blogs & co. that reach as many readers as possible, a responsive website is the right platform.
Both mobile applications and websites offer numerous advantages. A determining factor is the product or service, as well as your target audience. If you would like to implement interactive elements such as games, you should go for the app. If you regularly want to share valuable content such as blogs, which in turn should reach as many readers as possible, a responsive website is the right platform. Yet in most cases their combination is the best solution. For instance, online shops benefit from being offered as an app. On the other hand, the company website can be upgraded by including a blog addressing related topics and providing information regarding your products. Information is the currency of our time. Customers are aware of the fact that an online presence does not only inform them, but collects their data, too. Assuming your target audience is very data sensitive, they will prefer web browsers – as most applications request their access to the user’s contact list, camera, microphone and location. This data collection can result in major challenges regarding data privacy.
Mobile website or app – both solutions are convincing. Considering the implementation of your strategy, your target audience and successful measures deployed by your competitors. We would love to support you in coming to your decision – with our expertise!