Native app or Mobile Website: Pros and Cons
You already know that your potential customers are already spending a lot of time on their mobile devices and that if you want to reach them you should add mobile to your digital marketing mix. But should you develop a native app, create a responsive website, or design a mobile website for your business? Here we will try to help you decide.
First, here are some basic definitions:
A mobile website is the mobile-friendly version of the standard desktop website. The mobile website can either have a separated version, with different URL and different, usually shortened version, of the desktop content. Or it can have a responsive design, with same URL and identical content, and different display adjusted according to the devices’ screen size, whether it is a desktop, a tablet or a smartphone.
A native app is a mobile application designed specifically for a mobile platform or device, usually taking in consideration the particular features of the platform or the device such as location tracking features, built-in camera and microphone, and other features available in smartphones. There are also hybrid apps, that combine native app capabilities with web content, but we will not discuss it in this article.
In short, the main difference between a mobile application and a mobile website is that apps must be downloaded to a mobile device while responsive sites are accessed via browsers.
Choosing the type of mobile platform for your business should depend on the app’s purpose and its target audience. For example, if your company offers services like online content writing, you go with a responsive, mobile-friendly website. But, if you are an online retailer or you own a small business, then developing a native app for your business might be a good idea. Here are some more pros and cons of each of the platforms.
According to a 2016 survey by Flurry analytics, 90% of responders said they prefer using mobile apps to using mobile websites. In a different research conducted by another independent researcher, findings show that from 2013 to 2016, the time people spend online has grown by over 50% and that 90% of this growth is fueled by the increasing use of mobile applications.
The meaning of all these data is that more people are spending more time on the internet using the native apps on their mobile devices.
Pros of native apps
- Convenience: the number one benefit of native apps is convenience. According to one report, users are more likely to interact with a brand through their mobile app than visiting an equivalent website, and they attributed this likelihood to the convenience they provide, especially since most people carry their mobile devices with them virtually anywhere.
- Personalization: t is far easier to personalize your services to your customers through a mobile app than a mobile website. Also, integrating a push notifications feature helps in sharing updates, special offers, and offers which encourages customer loyalty and retention.
- Offline mode: Mobile apps increase the interaction between your brand and customers. For instance, a user can make some changes to their account, upload details and still be able to interact with the features and contents of the app even when they’re offline. The same can’t be said of mobile websites since they must connect to the internet before accessing your contents.
- Compatibility: One drawback for native apps is the need to meet the requirements for each of the operating systems. In most cases, this means developing apps for the different platforms – iOS, Android, and Windows.
- However, to combat this challenge, you could develop a cross-platform solution that is compatible with all the operating system using bobile app maker.
- Regular Support and maintenance: maintaining and updating an app usually take time and money.
Originally, mobile websites were designed specifically for the mobile; hence they don’t usually display perfectly when viewed from a desktop. However, due to the varying sizes of mobile phone screens, it became impractical to develop mobile sites for each mobile phone.
To tackle this problem, responsive websites were developed. These are sites that automatically resize to fit the screen of the device on which it is being viewed, and they are more commonly used today.
- Fast load time: The mobile site loads faster than conventional websites which contribute to the website’s rankings on search engines.
- Support and maintenance: Compared to mobile apps. Websites usually cost less to maintain and update. This can be attributed to the fact that you only need to maintain just one version of the site.
- Convenience: Websites does not offer the same level of convenience that a mobile application can provide.
- Limited features: Compared to mobile apps, websites fall short when it comes to features they can support. For instance, it is easy to access the camera, GPS, push notifications and so much more using an app but you can’t do same from a website.
- Offline access: A mobile site requires an internet connection to function properly, and this feature makes it difficult for users to access your content when they’re offline.
In summary, choosing the right mobile strategy for your business is not an easy decision and there are many factors that should be taken into consideration. Hopefully, this article will help to point you in the right direction.
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