Mobile App vs. Mobile Web, who will win in the future?

I strongly believe that the best approach is to combine both mobile sites and apps to offer a wholesome experience to customers. While mobile apps offer far more benefits, mobile websites can provide a rapid way for customers to access information on devices that do not have the relevant app installed.

So what are the benefits of mobile apps?

1. Higher engagement

Mobile apps run within their own interface environment, which allows users to become more immersed in the experience. Having a dedicated icon on the home screen of users’ devices also means that the brand becomes more integrated with users’ mobile behaviour. This is due to two reasons: on the one hand, because apps are purpose-focused, users come to associate specific tasks with the visual icon of the app on their home screen; on the other hand, as more apps from the same brand are installed, the brand is able to strengthen its value in the users’ perception, particularly for customer-facing apps.

2. Additional features

Mobile apps also provide additional uses and features that are not available on mobile websites. The most significant of these is their compatibility with a devices’ hardware and features, such as push notifications, address books, audio recording, device vibration, cloud integration, offline access and caching, which enables extra functionalities directly from the app.

3. Enhanced security

Mobile apps can also easily integrate with existing security systems to ensure the highest levels of security. Apps can use Mobile Device Management software, which can not only lock down apps, but also remotely deploy or retract them, giving enterprise customers greater control of the apps on mobile devices and the functionality they offer. MDMs are also often audited and meet strict security standards which are more secure than a standard web site.

4. Better communication and more efficient business processes

Mobile apps are able to offer instant support and information to customers whenever and wherever needed. They enable users to instantly access key information on their mobile device at the click of a button. Push alerts can also be sent to their mobile devices whenever new information or updates are available.� 

Mobile apps generally enable users to do everything they could normally do on a mobile site, but faster and more efficiently.

5. Instant access online or offline

All mobile apps can be accessed instantly by tapping on the relevant icon on a mobile device. This allows users to find the information they need quickly. Many apps can be accessed offline too, with updates being stored locally on the device until it reconnects to the internet.

6. Additional sources of revenue

Finally, mobile apps offer the opportunity to generate additional sources of revenue in the form of app-enabled services tailored to each company. Not only do these services provide companies with extra sources of revenue, but they can also help them to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

The benefits to a mobile website are:

1. Lower cost often

A lot of companies charge a lot more for mobile apps and typically the cost of maintenance, especially on multiple devices, can cost more unless you factor it in and make it part of your assessment criteria when searching for a vendor.

2. Upgrade available

Mobile web sites can often be created through upgrading an existing web site to be mobile friendly. This often costs less than building a mobile app and means a company can keep using their existing web management system.

3. Some offline and native features are available

HTML5 does a good job of offering some native features such as geolocation, databases, etc to web developers. Unfortunately support for these is mixed and even the best companies haven’t figured out how to rely on these features. Therefore if you need native features of the device extensively a website may not be suitable. If you need these features occasionally or temporarily then an app may be overkill.

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