Mobile App vs Mobile Website: What’s the Difference, Anyway?

mobile app vs mobile website

Mobile App vs Mobile Website: What’s the Difference, Anyway?

Mobile adoption has grown rapidly over the last decade. It’s creating a complicated business issue: mobile app vs. mobile website. Be sure you know what’s right for your business or consumer expectations will leave you in the dust.

Global mobile data traffic is projected to increase sevenfold from 2016 to 2021. You and your competition must determine what that means for your businesses. Choosing a mobile strategy has never been more important.

But experts differ in opinion on which is the best approach. In a broad sense, this leaves some unresolvable questions.

Which is best for my type of business? What are the advantages of having both? And will that help or hurt customer engagement?

This article covers the key differences and advantages of the two solutions. Continue reading as you consider which is the best technology for your business.

Mobile App vs. Mobile Website: What’s the Difference?

It’s somewhat two-dimensional to call one better than the other. Their features differ and provide alternate benefits for customers.

Mobile websites are accessed through a browser. They’re often created using a responsive design. This allows companies to use one platform for both mobile and PC websites.

Mobile apps are standalone applications. Companies can customize their features and integrate them with mobile devices. This allows companies to be more active in customers’ mobile lives.

There are pros and cons to each solution. Each must touch on the same business requirements and meet them in their own ways. The following are some advantages for each.

Praise for the Mobile Website

Mobile websites are normal websites optimized for mobile devices. Experts praise mobile websites for their shared benefits. SEO, web analytics, and other web features are advantages for mobile websites.

Companies can unify mobile and standard websites via responsive design. This streamlines back-end operations as the two websites function as one. For this reason, mobile website design resources conveniently overlap with standard website design.

Praise for the Mobile App

Mobile apps provide integrated mobile experiences for users. They can utilize device features like push notifications. They have high visibility in app stores and on mobile desktops.

Mobile apps are entirely customizable. The technology is in the hands of the company. They may also offer offline access and performance advantages.

How These Mobile Technologies Perform in 7 Key Areas

Business priorities differ, but some are the same for everyone. Let’s consider some important KPIs and how each technology achieves them.

Cost-Effectiveness

Building mobile websites is easy and affordable compared to mobile apps. In fact, the cost is usually included with the standard website design. Apps must be customized and can be more expensive.

However, web access with employees, mobile sites, and standard websites can clog bandwidth. Companies should consider options like the Gamma Telecom business first network to avoid consumer drop offs. This is especially true for companies sharing network load with employees and consumers.

Mobile apps may make up for that initial setup cost. High performance may yield grater business results. This depends on the audience and your company’s expectations.

Cross-Device Functionality

Mobile websites work on any browser and can be accessed on any device. This opens doors for more customers. It also reduces costs when updates are required.

Companies must develop app formats for every platform. This can be costly and taxing on the back-end. But this creates opportunities to customize for different audiences.

Back-End Integration

Developers can use responsive design to create seamlessly integrated websites. Responsive design solutions span browsers and devices. This adds cost and efficiency advantages for all types of data transfer.

Apps designed to capture all company services may struggle in this area. Apps with a targeted approach and unique data are more likely to succeed. Companies can develop unique functionality and data capture for this purpose.

Customer Satisfaction & Retention

Both solutions offer customers something different. The right choice depends on how you want them to access your offerings.

You may find the best way to satisfy customers is to offer them both. Customers are least satisfied when they can’t find solutions, regardless of the platform.

Usability

Mobile apps typically have greater usability than websites. Mobile websites are dependent on browsers and thus are less optimized. Apps facilitate customer experiences and may even work while offline.

Companies that prefer mobile websites can spend more time developing a superior mobile experience. They can streamline the site to make up for performance issues. This may include simpler presentation or functionality.

Accessibility

Mobile apps can streamline login and even enable facial recognition. This makes customers’ experiences smoother on a daily basis. They are more likely to see that service as an important part of their lives.

App users can only use their own device to access services. This can be limiting for customers who cannot do this in times of need. They may also struggle if your standard website experience is different than your app.

Mobile websites are accessible on any browser and device. The standard website shares its foundation with the mobile website. It should provide the same functionality and unify data from both sites.

Long-Term Business Potential

Again, mobile websites are far easier to update and maintain. Companies can easily update mobile and standard websites at the same time. This makes updates easier as the business changes.

Mobile apps are more difficult. Updates must be pushed to all versions of the app for every device.

Still, mobile apps support greater customization and flexibility. That means updates can be broad and transform the entire customer experience. Mobile websites are limited in this capacity.

Who Wins?

The winner is unique to each business–including your own. It might be a combination of both.

Mobile apps might not be the best choice for companies with infrequent visitors. For high-traffic services like banking or messaging, mobile apps are probably the way to go.

Partner with a design expert to determine what’s best for your customers. This is an investment you’ll want to get right the first time.

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