I want an app...
A request that tends to pop up periodically both by brands and enthusiastic individuals within a company is the MOBILE APP. Often it’s suggested by the non-marketing members of an organisation and more so because they generally use apps so frequently, they assume it’s something every brand should have. There’s nothing wrong with that. Statistically, apps tend to drive better conversions and engagement, so shouldn’t every brand just focus on creating one?
It’s unanimous that every brand should have a web presence, and certainly a mobile optimised website. With more than half the world’s traffic accessing the internet from a mobile device, there’s no cutting corners on that front. But an APP versus a MOBILE SITE depends entirely on what your business requirements and customer focus are.
WHEN AN APP MAKES SENSE.
Native Mobile Features
Although web based mobile sites are getting better at bridging the gap between the internet and use of mobile devices – the click-to-call feature being a prime example, the strongest advantage of an app is when you require the use of a device’s in-built features, like the camera on your phone.
If your app is something that offers personalisation and customer preferences and will be used often, then an app is a great option. Take for example, social media or food delivery services.
If you’re offering content that can be viewed offline, then an app is a great way of doing that. Whether it’s something to read, listen to or watch, being offline doesn’t limit the experience.
Assuming users have allowed push notifications through their settings, an app allows a direct way to communicate.
Apps store their data locally which makes them much faster than Mobile websites, in some cases up to 5 times faster depending on the use of java Scripts in website development.
There’s a handful of reasons why an App trumps a website and in those cases ROI is stronger. Other plus points include Brand Presence, especially as mobile use is on the up year on year. An App icon serves as a constant reminder of your brand, as long as the App remains. Design is also another pro when building Apps, as all the latest mobile phone features (tap, drag, swipe and so on) can be incorporated into the functionality.
There is a but… having an App just for the sake of it is going to be costly. It will require more maintenance and the novelty will fizzle out when stakeholders realise it wasn’t a quick win nor did it magically transform revenues or customer behaviour.
FOR EVERYONE ELSE…
Assuming the above are not essential for your customers, a well-built mobile responsive site will tick all the boxes.
Easy Access and Compatibility
Unlike an App, there’s nothing to download and a mobile site will work across almost all browsers and devices. You don’t have to create multiple versions for Android or iOS users.
Updating or Upgrading
Unlike an App, changes to the website reflect immediately, with no effort from the user. With constantly changing operating systems and enhancements, often features on an App need regular maintenance and tweaking to keep up.
Most Apps tend to be deleted within 30 day’s unless your App offers something really useful. A website on the other hand is always available for repeat visits whenever a user may need it without having to download again.
Given a website is accessible across devices and browsers, and easy to share via a URL, reach for mobile websites is broader. It’s easier to search for a website than an App in most cases.
Time and Cost
Not having to create multiple versions or having to dedicate support and maintenance make mobile websites a far more cost effective and faster solution.