Should I Have an App or a Mobile Site?

For years, if you had a business, you had to have a website and those who didn’t embrace the technology and make it an integral part of the company were left in the dust.  But businesses can no longer sit back and bask in the screen glow of their full-service website. Now, the mobile app is king. People spend a lot of time on their phones and the overwhelming majority of that time―an astounding 90%―is spent using apps.

Does that mean that sites that are mobile-friendly are a thing of the past?      

Why Apps Are Better

Apps are faster.  Apps store data on the user’s device which makes them faster than mobile web browsing because there’s no waiting for servers to respond and load the site.    

Apps are more personalized.  Let’s face it, we humans love when it’s all about us.  Apps allow users to set preferences so they have a more personal experience when using the app.

Apps work while offline.  With a mobile website, if you can’t connect to the server, you can’t access the website.  With mobile apps, you can still utilize some features if you’re not online. 

Apps are more engaging.  When you’re using an app, you’re swiping, pinching, pushing, and tapping various buttons and pages which can almost feel like a video game.   

Apps are good for branding.  Your app’s icon sits on the user’s mobile device, reminding the user of your brand whenever they look at their apps.  By using push notifications, the user doesn’t even have to open the app to see promotions and update reminders.  

Apps can utilize features on the device.  With an app, you can create integration with features that exist on the phone.  Using the camera for things like bar code or QR code readers, GPS for providing content in real-time based on location, contact lists, compass, accelerometer, etc. can give the user a more engaging experience and if they remain engaged with your app, it will stay on their phone.  You don’t want your app to be useful so it won’t be on the chopping block when a user needs space on their phone.

Why Mobile Websites Are Better

A mobile website is the same as a regular website but designed for a smaller, touch-screen interface.  Pages with large amounts of text that may work well on a full website may not translate as well or as efficient on mobile devices.  Mobile websites have several advantages over apps.

Mobile sites are instantly and universally usable.  Apps need to be downloaded onto the device but mobile sites are instantly usable across several platforms.  With mobile sites, it doesn’t matter if users are accessing it using Android or iOS or a laptop, whereas apps need to be developed for each platform.

Mobile sites are easier to update.  Updates on websites are done on your terms but with apps, you have to push users to update the app and you also need to update each platform. 

Mobile sites are less expensive.  Mobile sites generally cost less and are easier to do which can make them a more cost-effective solution.

Mobile sites reach a wider audience.  Mobile sites are accessed on both mobile devices as well as computers which gives them the ability to reach more people.  

Mobile sites can’t be deleted by the user.  People delete apps on their phones all the time.  Mobile sites can’t be deleted but you need to focus efforts on getting your customers to return to your site.

Which Should I have For My Business?

The truth is, both have their pros and cons.  Which option is better depends on goals and objectives are for your company and what you’re trying to sell.  If you’re looking to have a more personalized experience for users, you should go with an app. If you have a diverse, wide-ranging audience, a mobile-friendly website may be the way to go.  Is instant, off-line access something you’re looking for? An app will do that.  

Why not do both?  If it’s feasible, having both an app and a mobile website will give you the most visibility and coverage possible.  If you can afford both, do both. A two-pronged approach works best if you can swing it. A bank can offer simple transactions and calculators on their app while offering more complex services on their mobile site.  A restaurant can offer a menu, directions, reservations, and online ordering on an app and still have a website for users who still prefer using a website.

Whichever you choose, it’s important to remember that support and maintenance is an ongoing necessity and its costs (cheaper for mobile sites) should be considered during the planning stages.

Intergetik Marketing Solutions is a full-service marketing company that provides inbound and outbound marketing strategies that will give your brand the presence and recognition that will bring success.  Whether you’re considering an app or mobile site or both, our developers can create an essential tool for your brand that will drive sales and improve your brand. Call us today at (314)749-0492 or visit our website and let us know what we can do for you.