2018 and beyond will be all about Mobile. Mobile App vs. Mobile Website has been a debate since the last decade; on account of the increased internet and mobile usage, companies, both small and large, consider options for increased customer reach.

If you can have a mobile website that works well on phone devices, then is there really a need for a mobile app?

Some argue that having a mobile website that works well on many different platforms is enough, while others stress the importance of having a mobile app.

Here’s a comparison of mobile app and mobile websites to give you a clear idea about the pros and cons of two, so you can make an effective decision.

Mobile app vs. mobile website

Mobile websites are websites that are scaled for mobile devices. These websites are usually built with the responsive design that facilitates easy viewing of the website on a mobile device. Mobile websites, when viewed on mobile devices, usually have small fonts, contracted website elements and less white space.

Mobile apps are applications designed specifically for mobile devices. Users can download and store the apps locally on the device. Mobile apps can utilize the device’s native features for a faster user experience, which makes the apps much simpler and easy to use.

Both, mobile website and mobile app, offer a distinct range of benefits. Based on the pros and cons of each, as a business manager, you can decide how you need to divide your budget or focus your marketing activities.

Choosing between Mobile App and Mobile Website

Now how do you decide whether your business needs a web application or a responsive design?

As a rule of thumb, you should always aim for a responsive design to increase your reach across different platforms. However, generally, you have three options in this regard:

  1. If you are running an e-commerce store, you can benefit from both a responsive design and a mobile app.
  2. If you are interested in developing a media and communication app like Whatsapp or Instagram, your main focus should be a mobile application.
  3. If you are building a casual blog site, then you only need a mobile website.

Mobile Website and Mobile Apps Differences

Here’s what makes the two different from each other:

  • Compatibility: Mobile websites are compatible. They can work on different platforms and work with different operating systems.Mobile apps have to be designed with unique specifications.
  • Maintenance and upgrades: Websites are easy to maintain and upgrade as compared to mobile apps. Users may have to download a different version of the app every time there’s an update, but with websites, updates can be done on the site’s end.
  • Features: Websites are more comprehensive than the mobile apps. Apps can be used as a supplemental tool for the website to give users an additional feature for an improved user experience.
  • Ease of Access: Websites are safer and easy to access. Users don’t have to download anything in order to use a website.
  • Personalization: With mobile apps, there are more options for personalization as compared to responsive websites. With responsive website design, the opportunities for personalization are limited.
  • Customer Engagement: Mobile applications offer better customer reach as they have features for personalization, which allows for tailored communication based on user’s usage behavior and location. Whereas, websites have limited personalization based on user behavior or location.
  • Reach: Responsive websites target more customers through search engine optimization. Mobile apps cannot be targeted or optimized. You can, however, use the optimization tools on your website to promote your company specific app.
  • Offline Access: Mobile apps have offline access that allows users to have flexible access to the mobile app features. Website apps can only be accessed online.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Depending on the type of design, responsive web designs are more cost-effective than the mobile apps as they require fewer upgrades and maintenance checks and can be built on a budget.

Mobile app vs. Mobile Website Statistics

The statistics indicate a rise in mobile and mobile app usage which could only mean one thing: mobile apps will become an important part of online marketing strategy in a few years (they still are for some companies). Here are some important statistics you shoudl know:

  • 42% of the purchases made on Black Friday last year were done through mobile devices (com).
  • The mobile advertising budget will reach 70% among all advertising budgets by 2019. (MarketingLand).
  • 77% of people in America own smartphones. The percentage will likely rise in the coming years (Pew Research Center).
  • More than 89% of the mobile ads are viewed on a smartphone, while the remaining 11% are viewed on websites (Smart Insights).
  • Most adults in the United States spend more than 3 hours a day using smartphones. This time will likely increase this year and beyond (eMarketer).
  • Mobile app downloads reached 197 billion in 2017. It is estimated that this figure will reach 350 billion in 2021 (Statista).
  • Every day, more than 1,300 apps are added to Google Play. Today, there are more than 3.5 million apps on Google Play (App Brain).
  • Entertainment, Music (Games and multimedia), and Communication are the top 3 categories in apps.
  • 90% of smartphone users in the United States use activated location services, which offers a great opportunity for geo-targeting campaigns (GeoMarketing).
  • 50% or more of smartphone users check their notifications right after they wake up (Betahaus).
  • 42% of small business owners in the U.S. have their own mobile app (Clutch).
  • Every other second, people are using apps to search for information related to goods and services to make a purchase. (Scilled).
  • People spent 900 billion or more hours on mobile applications in the year 2017. This number will likely rise in 2018 and beyond (App Annie).

Final Thoughts:

Both mobile website and mobile app have their benefits. However, if you are a growing business, it is important that you have a responsive web design that is compatible with various platforms. Remember that web applications can help you supplement the effort of your website. Therefore, you can utilize web app both as a stand-alone application and as a supporting feature for your responsive website.

So what exactly is the best option in 2018?

That totally depends on your company’s requirements. But on account of increased internet use and mobile phone usage (mentioned in statistics above), it is safe o say that you should establish your brand presence through a mobile app.

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