Investing in a mobile app or mobile websites for your small business? The decision here has always been tricky, especially since each has its own pros and cons. So here are 8 differences between mobile apps and mobile websites you should consider when developing any mobile marketing strategy.
Mobile Apps and Mobile Websites
Mobile Website Casts the Net Wider
A website has a broader scope than apps, which can be used only if you download and install it first. In fact, 80 percent of all searches are made on a mobile device. However, browsing websites requires internet connection, so you can’t use them anytime.
Apps are generally more interactive (i.e. more addictive) than websites, which is why they can retain the visitor only for as long as they are finding the thing they are looking for. Furthermore, apps can offer more functionality than mobile websites such as push notifications and GPS location abilities.
So websites take less effort to use, but apps are more fun.
Apps are Meant for Your Best Customers
Websites attract all sorts of visitors. Not all of them are prospects though. You can run an expensive marketing campaign and see a tremendous boost in the number of your site visitor, but not necessarily in the actual sales.
Apps, on the other hand, are meant for prospects as users typically spend much more time inside of a mobile app when compared to mobile websites.
Custom Apps are Costlier
Like any other professional tool, apps come with the drawback of high cost. If you don’t use a simple app maker, whose apps work fine with all platforms, you’d have to spend a lot of money on making your app compatible on all operating systems. Mobile websites on the other hand can be very inexpensive to create for your small business.
Apps are Active and Sites are Passive
Turning a website into a handy marketing tool is difficult. People don’t visit a website often, so they wouldn’t know if you are offering sales. Most marketing emails end up in the spam folder and don’t get opened.
Apps enjoy a significant advantage here. Once a user has installed them, they can lie silently in their phone and pop a small notification when you want to reach them. Messages on phone are shorter and less annoying, so they do get read most of the times.
Websites Attract Customers but Apps Retain Them
People come to your website before becoming your client. After that, they prefer to go through the app. Surveys show the average app user spends almost ten times more time on the app than on the website.
In addition to this, apps keep you posted on frequency of use. Your apps serve as a 24/7 finger on the pulse of your users, which helps a great deal in retaining customers.
People Spend More on Websites than On Apps
Studies show that people are more willing to make a purchase on the website than on the app. You may use this fact to avoid spending energy on giving your app payment processing functionality and making it more centered on retaining old clients and marketing new products.
Recently, Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report for reconfirmed this fact when it reported that 89 percent of time spent on a smartphone is spent on apps, while only 11% is spent on the mobile web.
People Spend Less on Apps but They Spend More Frequently
People trust apps for making small transactions. According to a study by Facebook, customers spend 1$ on websites for every 42.7 cents they spend on apps but purchase much more frequently within mobile apps. If your small business has a lot of repeat purchases a mobile app would likely benefit your customers.
You Can’t Do With Having Just One
Essentially, a website is different from an app. You use the former to draw the customer in, and then gain trust through your product. An app, on the other hand, is more about retaining the customers you have already won. It’s about getting more business from your existing customers.
So both mobile apps and mobile websites are needed for a complete mobile marketing strategy—each for a different purpose. Happy mobilizing your small business!
Mobile Shopper Photo via Shutterstock
Not everyone will install your app. Even if apps are great for getting really targeted traffic, some people will not install it because it still takes up space in their mobile devices.
Good point Aira. The best way for a customer to download your app is to give them a really compelling reason to. Whether it’s a way for them to save time, money or transact with your business faster, there absolutely needs to be a clear benefit to the user of the mobile app.
I think that it is reserved to your most loyal clients or clients who really frequent your website. These people would be willing to install and use your app on a regular basis. Much like Facebook or Instagram.
Andrew: I have a standalone app for my podcast, EGO NetCast. It is up to the listener how he / she wants to listen to my podcast, but I see it as additional service to provide the listener with a podcast app. Through this app you could get extra material and push notifications.