Mobile apps versus Mobile websites

As part of a burgeoning series of “versus” blog posts (see my earlier Instagram v Vine effort), we now move on to the vexed question of whether to choose a mobile app or a mobile website.  What, you may scream, is the difference?  Well, a mobile website is one that has been designed to be accessed and read/viewed on your tablet or mobile. You access a mobile website through your browser. Everything you can find on the non-mobile website can be on the mobile version – just altered for handheld viewing.

Apps are downloaded on to your handheld device – from that device.  So as an iPhone user, I go to the App store, find the app I want and then install it.  Blackberry App World and Android Market would be used by those unfortunates who do not have an iPhone – I’m joking! Apps don’t necessarily need an internet connection – my Monopoly game app doesn’t for example – but apps that rely on content from the internet clearly will need a connection.

Being a funky, hip kinda guy, I was all up for recommending apps to all my clients until my resident web developers advised me not to reject the humble mobile website out of hand. They still reach the parts that apps may not. They are there ready to be viewed without being downloaded and of course can be seen across all devices. If you’re trying to save money, a mobile website is also the budget option.

But I’m afraid my drift is towards apps. Even my gym trainer is going to launch one for heaven’s sake! They may have a transient quality (though some of mine have been staring up at me from my mobile for a couple of years) and there are charlatans quoting eye watering figures for developing pretty mediocre apps. But they’re my preference – unless you can convince me otherwise.

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One thought on “Mobile apps versus Mobile websites

  1. Hi Tony,

    It’s not a case of one over the other, both are equally important as is the traditional website.

    Digital marketers that choose a single-device strategy are limiting their potential audience reach. Recent stats from Ofcom show Smartphone penetration at 59% in the UK, with the most popular method of accessing the internet still the laptop (http://ow.ly/mNIif).

    Budgets are indeed a factor so my advice would be to start with the cheapest, the traditional website, then use free tools like Google Analytics to measure the device types that generate most traffic (or whatever your one metric that matters most is, could be ‘engagement’). The results will show you where you should be spending your budget, mobile optimized or app.

    Kelly

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