App vs Mobile Website

Should you have a mobile optimized website or a mobile app? Both? How do you decide?

Mobile Websites
A mobile website is basically just a website that is optimized specifically for smaller screens, often has touch-screen capabilities and is more streamlined for ease of access and visibility. They are designed to be accessible through any mobile browser on almost all smart phones. All you have to do is type in the URL on your device, and the site automatically detects that it is being accessed through a mobile device, changing its settings to optimized media.

Mobile Apps

A mobile app is a bit more engaging, and to many people, better. An app must be downloaded and installed to your device, such as a smart phone or tablet. You access it from a mobile marketplace like Google Play, the Apple App Store, or Amazon Marketplace (and others). While it takes more effort to download and install (and more room on your device, of course), it offers specific features and functions that websites do not.

Here is how mobile apps and mobile websites stack up against each other:

Features
When it comes to features, mobile apps come out ahead. They can do more and also have access to other device tools, like GPS and the accelerometer. For that reason, they offer a wider range of features, and allow you to create a more robust suite of offerings to users. Mobile websites, on the other hand, are somewhat limited in the types of features they can offer through a browser.

Userbase
Mobile websites shine here. Instead of being designed for a particular platform (iOS, Android, etc.) and therefore being limited to a subset of the total device market, mobile websites can reach any device with a browser. They therefore allow you to connect with far more people on more devices, without having to convert your app to a number of platforms and upload it to a number of app marketplaces.

Function
The last point cuts both ways, however. Because apps are designed for specific platforms, they offer smoother functionality. They’re custom-tailored and there are none of the potential translation problems that might be present when displaying your mobile website in different browsers and devices. Instead, apps work seamlessly and generally deliver a more reliable user experience.

Promotion
Here things are split. Mobile websites make you visible on search engines, but apps have push notifications. The difference is between push and pull. Mobile websites allow you to be passively found by people searching for solutions in your industry (pull), while apps allow you to send messages and ads to your captive audience (push). Each type of promotion is useful, valuable, and effective in a variety of given situations and markets.

Value
Mobile websites and apps each deliver significant value, and customers have come to expect both from a business. If they don’t see you on their mobile device when they’re searching, they’ll ignore you. If they can’t get an app after forming a relationship, you’ll miss out on a number of opportunities to enrich the relationship, increase customer satisfaction, and drive revenue growth.

Don’t choose between them. Just knock it all out at once with AZ Mobile Apps.