Mobile App vs Mobile Website- Which one do you prefer?

April 2, 2018

About 650 million people in India use mobile phones out of which 300-400 million own a smartphone. This means that they access the Internet through a mobile device. Almost 3 out of 4 Indians are planning to upgrade their phones this year, which means that India will have the second largest number of smartphone users in the world (approx 530 million) after China. This increased use of smartphones indicates larger interaction opportunities of a brand with customers which is why a mobile strategy is absolutely imperative for all brands.

Deciding whether to invest in a mobile app or stick to a mobile website is an important factor in the future success of a brand. In this blog, we highlight key differences between the two that can help you make the right decision.

What is a Mobile Application?

A mobile application is a small individual software with limited functions designed to run on a mobile device such as a smartphone or a Tablet. Apps like Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store are pre-installed app stores on individual mobile devices. Various mobile applications that are downloaded from such portals and installed on a mobile device are not rendered within a browser.

What is a Mobile Website?

A mobile website is a condensed version of a full desktop site. It consists of browser based html pages and has to be accessed through internet connection. It is actually designed for smaller display features as in smartphones and tablets and touch screen interface.

Mobile Website

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How are Mobile Apps and Mobile Websites different?  

Means of Access:

A mobile website has to be accessed through an internet browser by typing the URL address in the search navigation bar. It does not need to be downloaded. To gain access, only internet connection is required.

A mobile app has to be downloaded from an online portal or store such as Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store and then installed in the smartphone or tablet for further use. In majority of cases, it does not need an internet connection.

facebook mobile app

Upgrading Setup:

Since a mobile website update is an online process and takes place automatically, the user is not usually aware about it.

The users of a mobile app have to authorize and install an update which might increase frustration for users and somewhat reduce the flexibility for the companies.

According to Purpose:

A mobile website is usually targeted with the purpose of informing a large audience, for a longer time window or for specific events and promotions.

A mobile app can be used frequently and repeatedly because it can be downloaded and stored in a mobile device. It is subject to specific needs and user loyalty.

Availability:

Mobile websites can be accessed immediately via a browser through the internet across different sets of mobile devices.

Mobile apps on the other hand have to be downloaded and installed, before the content or the application can be viewed.

Mobile App vs Mobile Website

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Findability:

Pages of mobile websites are displayed in search results and listed in industry specific search directories making it easier for users to search for it. Using device detection, users of a regular website can be sent directly to a mobile website on a hand held device.

Visibility of mobile apps are restricted to app stores and cannot be located easily without prior knowledge about the app.

Reach:

Mobile websites can be easily shared among users or a broader audience by sharing the URL address of that particular website through emails, social media platforms, or text messages.

Mobile apps, on the other hand cannot be shared easily since it has to be downloaded and installed from an app store based on device compatibility.

mobile app vs websites

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Life cycle:

Since mobile websites cannot be downloaded, hence they cannot be deleted as well. They are available for users regularly for repeated usage.

According to research, the average shelf life of a mobile app is 30 days. Therefore the app has to be very important, useful and unique for the user to continue keeping and using the app.

Maintenance:

Maintaining a mobile website is not much of a hassle and is cost effective because it does not have to be developed for multiple platforms. Only a single version has to be maintained. Also, there is no requirement for app store compliance and application.

The investment made for development of a mobile app does not end with the launch of the app. Proper maintenance and support regarding upgrades, testing, device compatibility and ongoing developments are quite expensive and time consuming. App store application and compliance regulations also need to be dealt with each time an update is required.

In conclusion, both mobile applications and mobile websites are popular and have their own pros and cons. Many apps and websites have similar features and options, however the customer experience definitely differs. The appropriate choice about whether you should choose an app or mobile website depends on the end goals of the brand. If you want to know more about which is a better option for your brand for mobile marketing, leave us a message and we’ll get back to you.