Establishing a mobile presence is as important as developing a good product. The amount of content consumed via mobile applications grows proportionally to the rapid increase in the number of mobile users. According to recent research, the number of mobile users in the world increased from 4,01 billion in 2013 to 5,07 billion in 2019. It means that consumers are massively migrating to mobile devices and expect companies to reach them there. And brands are eagerly following their customers by establishing an online mobile presence. Two most widespread ways to do it is to create a mobile version of the website or a mobile application. Some companies go for both. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of these approaches.
Websites are easier to access from any device. As a rule, they even don’t require any registration, at least for the consumption of content. It means that whenever the user needs to receive certain information about your product or service, or perform an action, they just go to your website. Furthermore, they don’t need to care about the type of OS they are using. The ultimate majority of mobile websites are equally accessible for Android, iOS and other types of devices.
Unlike in the case of applications, there is no need to download and install websites. They are easily accessible in any place with an internet connection. This is a significant advantage of the website, since a lot of users, especially those represented by older generations don’t want to bother themselves with downloading an application and then figuring out how it works. They just want to open their browser and get what they need.
Thanks to good accessibility, websites deliver better outreach of audience and thus allow to collect big amounts of data about the behavior of large groups of users, their preferences and needs. They serve as a solid data source for companies striving to improve customers' experience and their products. At the same time, mobile websites represent a convenient way of content and information consumption for users and make it more shareable.
Websites are far cheaper to run than mobile applications. First of all, mobile versions of websites are adapted to different operating systems meaning that you need to create and manage only one website instead of several applications for different OS. Secondly, websites are easier to update and maintain. You don’t need to invest so much time, human and financial resources in updating the information or changing the design. Once you made changes, they become visible to everyone, while in the case of applications, you have to remake and retest the same features several times and separately update each application for every OS.
Even though being more time and resource consuming for companies to run, mobile applications offer numerous customization opportunities for users. Unlike the website, an application can be considered as a full-fledged tool for customers to satisfy their particular needs by adjusting the parameters of an app in accordance with their preferences. It makes mobile applications a more specific and sophisticated method of establishing an online presence which contributes to a more comprehensive and effective targeting of users. As a rule, a user experience delivered through the mobile application will be more comprehensive and will better meet customers’ needs than that delivered through a website.
Mobile applications offer numerous opportunities to users which not only allow them to receive information about the company and its products (for example through push notifications) but to perform particular actions. Thus, for services or e-commerce based business, applications offer more opportunities than websites. Let’s imagine that you have a food delivery business. It’s pretty obvious that an app would be a better option for your customers. It will be easier for them to download an app, set it up and get access to all the features and information about their interaction with the company than to open a website in a browser each time when they want to order pizza. Furthermore, applications offer numerous automation features which allow users to perform the required action even without doing an action themselves.
An advantage that can appear controversial for some of you nevertheless remains a very important feature of mobile applications. Since they are downloaded directly to the mobile devices of users, they collect more data about their actions. Websites are limited in this regard and predominantly allow to track the interaction of users with the available content, while mobile apps can get access to user’s list of contacts, location, photos, and videos, etc. It allows companies to practice individual approaches to customers personalize offers for them.
One of the biggest advantages compared to websites, is that some mobile applications work offline. Even without an internet connection, they can offer functionality and access to the information you need.
The rule goes that first, you have to create a mobile website and only then develop a mobile application to achieve goals that can’t be met through the website. But as we know rules were made to break them, so when adopting a decision about establishing a mobile presence of your brand, rely on your needs and what you feel will make your business grow and deliver a better experience to customers.
Cover: Artem Marchenko