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Mobile App vs Mobile Website: Which One Should You Choose?

Almost 60 percent of Internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. People are switching to searching and browsing on their smartphones.

There are differences between how people use the Internet on mobile and desktop. Mobile users, for example, use “near me” searches. Most of them also conduct most of their activity through apps.

As a business owner, you know you need to cater to a mobile audience, but you’re not sure how to do that. For your business, it’s a marquee fight between mobile app vs mobile website.

They both have their pros and cons, but which one is the right fit for your business? Use our guide to get informed about the advantages of each, then make the right call.


Advantages of Mobile Apps

There are millions of apps out there, which means consumers have plenty of choices. You need a good reason to enter this competitive market.

Apps do offer unique opportunities for your business, so you may feel it’s worth building one. What are some of the advantages of a mobile app vs website?

First, a mobile app offers an opportunity to personalize for your customers. While much has been made about responsive websites, the app allows each user to set their preferences. Apps also allow for better tracking, which can build a better profile of user preferences.

The app can also use GPS locators to serve up content geared for a particular locale.

Apps also allow your users to take you offline with them. They can’t do that with a website. You’ll also get access to device features like camera access or push notifications.

This also improves customer engagement. If you can send someone a notification, they’re more likely to click into the app. So long as the app delivers high value, users will likely interact with it more than they will with a website.

Finally, an app provides more expansive branding opportunities for your business. If you want to experiment with your brand, then an app might be the right choice. The app can even give you real estate on your customers’ mobile devices.

Advantages of Mobile Websites

Mobile websites are just what they sound like. They’re websites built to perform on a mobile platform. For the most part, this means building a responsive site.

Responsive websites adapt to the device accessing them. This allows you to ensure your website looks good on an Android phone and an iPad.

The mobile website has fewer advantages versus the mobile app. The advantages it does have are big ones.

First, a website is much more cost-effective. You’re probably building a website anyway, so it doesn’t cost much more to go with mobile-first design. Unlike the app, you won’t need to expand server or hosting capabilities.

A mobile website also performs better when it comes to SEO and brand visibility. You might be competing with billions of other websites for the top spot on Google, but SEO can help you get there. It’s a lot harder to get noticed in the crowded app store.

Mobile websites also don’t need to be updated like apps do. When you do want to give your mobile website a facelift, the bill will be much lower than upgrading an app.

Finally, your website will reach a broader audience than a mobile app. Some apps are only built for iOS or Android, which can limit your audience.

Mobile App vs Mobile Website Disadvantages

The mobile website has a few limitations. One, it’s accessed through another app. It doesn’t give you the same brand presence, and it limits interactivity.

When it comes to mobile site vs app costs, though, a website might be the right choice. Apps can cost more to build and maintain.

It’s also harder to win over users with an app. You can design a great app, but it may get buried in the app store. A competitor’s app may do the same thing and do it better.

There’s also a higher barrier. With an app, users have to download and install it. Some people are unwilling to take this step, especially if they don’t see a clear use for your app.

This is why a website has broader appeal. Visiting your site is less commitment for your users.

Reasons to Invest in an App

With so much competition in the app store and the higher costs of building and maintaining an app, you might ask why anyone would choose an app.

There are plenty of bad reasons to pick mobile apps vs. mobile websites. Creating an app because everyone is doing it isn’t solid business decision-making.

There are good reasons to build an app. An app, for example, can help you solve a customer pain point.

Take a look at apps by home improvement stores. Home Depot’s app uses augmented reality to let users test out different paint colors in their own home.

A mobile website can’t do that. With the right app developer behind you, you can create an app that delivers what your customers want.

If you want to know if building an app is right for your business, talk to your customers. What are their pain points? How could an app offer a solution to these issues?

An app may allow you to offer your customers more and do something your competitors don’t.

Go Mobile Your Way

So who wins the mobile app vs mobile website battle? It ultimately comes down to your business and its needs. If you want to reach a broad audience on a budget, a website is likely best.

If, on the other hand, you want to interact with your customers or help them solve a unique problem, an app could be the right solution.

Once you’ve mastered how to go mobile with your business, it’s time to check out more great tips and tricks. Whether you want to offer presale codes or set up a server, we have you covered.

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