Mobile Web vs. Mobile App

Mobile Web vs Mobile App

The use of mobile smartphones and tablets has been everywhere and can be considered a necessity around the globe for their advantages. The perks of mobile websites and mobile apps have also been leveraged by both businesses and marketers. Let’s take a look at the differences and similarities of the two.

What is a Mobile Web?

A mobile website or a mobile web is a site specifically designed for smaller screens with touch-screen capabilities such as  tablets and smartphones. It is accessible through any web browser such as Safari on iOS and Chrome on an Android mobile device. Simply, users can type in the URL or click on a link to your website. The mobile website is automatically rendered to the viewer in its mobile version.

Benefits of a Mobile Web

The main benefit of a mobile web is its accessibility to mobile users. Given affordable data plans and availability of free-wifi services, easy access to the Internet makes browsing pages on mobile devices prevalent. A mobile website can contain all the same elements as that of the desktop web version of the site  –  its look and feel, images and branding and other content. However, it comes with the features of a mobile-friendly layout that offers improved functionality and readability when viewed on tablets and smartphones. With a mobile website, consumers can access your website anywhere using any device and anytime without compromising user experience.

What is a Mobile App?

A mobile application or a mobile app is simply an application in your smartphone or tablet. Unlike a mobile web, it must be downloaded and installed. Usually, it can be downloaded from an application marketplace such as the Android’s Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Benefits of a Mobile App

Even though a mobile app functions more like a mobile website, it gives the advantage to businesses of having their own corner on the mobile device of customer. Due to the need for users to download and install the app, businesses have better control over their presence on a mobile device than they would with a mobile web. As for an illustration, a mobile app can be inactive or closed, but still works in the background, gathering data about customer’s behaviors and preferences and sending geo-targeted push notifications. In addition, mobile apps allow easier deployment of loyalty programs, including the use of mobile payments through  a single platform. Mobile apps are also much easier to access than a mobile website as it only takes a tap than having to open a mobile Web browser to type in a URL.

The Similar Features of a Mobile Web and a Mobile App

A mobile website and a mobile app are not basically the same. However, both generally offer some similar features that can help businesses grow by enabling easier access for customers. These features include the following:

  • Mobile Marketing: This feature lets your users sign up for loyalty programs  or marketing lists while allowing businesses to launch location-based SMS, easily marketing and email marketing their own campaigns.
  • Social Sharing: This is the integration of social media apps and websites to allow the users to easily share content with friends and followers.
  • One-Click Calling: Customers can call your business easily. Simply, they can tap on your phone number from your app or website.
  • Click-to-Map: Users can use the GPS of their mobile phones to locate your business. Instantly, they get directions without the need to search your address or to manually input your location.
  • Mobile Commerce: Your online store can be taken mobile with e-commerce capability of mobile apps and websites such as with mobile carts or through Buy Now buttons.

Why Users Prefer Mobile App over Mobile Web

As users spend more time on their mobile devices, studies have shown that more time is focused on applications than mobile websites.

According to an article in Forbes.com, below is a breakdown of that time where it shows that users prefer to live in their smartphone’s applications. Since almost every other area besides consuming plain content, like gaming, shopping, and social media interactions, provides a choice – the users go for an app to access the data over the web option nowadays.

Time Spent on iOS and Android Connected Devices

Customers seem to be turning away from the browser, relying on applications more.  Businesses should take a good look at these numbers to develop a strategy in dealing with their mobile-oriented customers.

The data above shows that users prefer mobile app over  mobile web but the write up does not cover the “Why”. Insert the “why” here.

Follow this principle: Be where your customers are. You can enjoy the advantages of mobile technology, however you prefer, either by having a mobile web or a mobile app for your business. Start with mobile web.  Then get into mobile apps as time and resources permit. Accept that Apple and Google will need to be the third party in any relationship with your customers as you build and distribute mobile apps to advance your business in a highly evolving mobile world.


Sources:
The Mobile Browser Is Dead, Long Live The App
Time Spent on iOS and Android Connected Devices

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