Mobile Websites Versus Mobile Apps: Which is better for your business?
Mobile apps (aka applications) have been around for a few years now, and most people are familier with the term and what it means. Less familier, however, is the difference between a mobile website and a mobile app, and even more unclear to many small business owners is which option would really benefit their marketing strategy. Allow us at Treysyde to clarify the difference in simple terms, and give a few examples of which kinds of businesses can really benefit from each.
The Differences: In A Nutshell.
- The biggest, most obvious difference between a mobile app and a mobile website: An app is written software that must be downloaded to your smartphone. A mobile website isn’t a download, you simply visit it in your mobile web browser, just like any other website you might visit on your computer.
- A mobile website is less expensive for business owners to develop and free for users to visit (minus cell phone plan costs, of course). Mobile apps, being more feature-rich, are more expensive to develop and are often sold at a cost to smartphone users.
- A mobile website can be compatible with any brand of smartphone, meaning it has a broader reach. The software for mobile apps has to be developed for a specific market, like Apple, Android, and Blackberry, and can only be reached by those compatible smartphones.
- A mobile website shows up in mobile searches, whether from a phone’s mobile browser or on a search engine app like Google. A mobile app can only be searched for in its compatible app store.
The Benefits: Which Is Better For Businesses
Generally, mobile apps are better for targeting a specific niche. A mobile app is really effective for a company with constantly-updating content and a large following, like a news organization or a social network. They’re also perfect for games or entertainment (Think Angry Birds or Instagram). For businesses, mobile apps can be effective and worthwhile for chain restaurants like Pizza Hut or national retail stores like Macy’s, because their brands are well-recognized by a large audience — in other words, they already have their niche.
Mobile websites are better for targeting a mass market. A mobile website is most effective for local businesses that mobile users would search for, like restaurants, salons, bars, coffee shops, thrift stores, etc, since for a small to mid-size local business, the end-goal of a mobile marketing strategy is to get users inside. Creating an app for ordering chinese take-out or shopping at a local boutique may sound great, but in the end will likely not reach enough mobile users to be effective. Optimizing a mobile website with a few simple, easy-to-access pieces of information and one-click functionality — like their phone number, hours, location and directions — is much more beneficial and reaches that broad audience.
Check out this post and infographic from Mashable about mobile apps vs mobile websites for businesses for a great visual breakdown and helpful statistics.
At Treysyde, we recommend mobile websites over mobile apps for small to mid-sized businesses. Mobile websites are much cheaper and easier to create, they are compatible with any smartphone brand and network, and they can be customized to match your desktop website while still focusing on simple, clickable calls-to-action. For more information about our mobile websites, click here.
Have you been debating a mobile app or mobile website? Which do you think you’ll choose?