80% of the devices used to search internet today are smart phones. 47% are tablets. For any business, in almost any industry or sector, it only seems reasonable to have a mobile marketing plan. But when it comes to that, most people get caught up in a superficial tussle between mobile websites and mobile apps. It might help to know the differences between the two and the ways in which they affect the purpose of each:
- A website has inherently more scope than an app
The beauty of the twenty-first century is that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between lazy and efficient. And that’s just the way it is. We want to get more results for less input. Browsing websites is less work compared with downloading and using apps. In fact, websites come with a sense of trust. Users know that they can probably find the most important information about products on them. On the contrary, the department of trust is still not doing well for apps, thanks to developers who somehow decide to not include essential expectations of the user in the app. So all in all, a website targets more people because it’s the easy option, and because there’s more common ground in developer-user expectations in websites.
- Apps are a litmus test for marketing success
The basic element in play here is the dependability of apps on an OS to run on. While apps need to be installed, websites simply need a one-for-all browser. Although a browser is an operating system of sorts, it isn’t that complicated. For the common internet user, it’s an app just like any other. Modern browsing has almost achieved its true essence; it doesn’t involve typing, instead it involves links which open new pages in new tabs. It really is browsing. And that’s the problem with browsing and with websites. If you just ran a marketing campaign and saw a surge in your website visits, it might not necessarily be a big deal. Why? Because the campaign might have brought a majority of “browsers”, people who like jumping from tab to tab, barely making purchases or buying subscriptions. On the other hand, an app is usually serious business. If a user has downloaded your app, he or she has taken a serious interest in what you have to offer. This goes on to show that through apps, you can really know how many people actually want to connect with your company because of your recent marketing.
- Customer apps cost more – on both ends (Luckily, there are cheaper options)
The cursed part about apps is that they have to run on more than one platform. But generally speaking, you’re going to have to pay your developer extra money for the same app to be developed for Android, iOS, and Windows and other Operating Systems. And if you decide to share the burden of cost with the consumer, the demand goes down. So it’s the sort of letdown that has no fix. However, in the long run, an app may turn out to be a very profitable deal. Website development, on the other hand, won’t cost you so much. In fact, you may even choose to use a CMS with a minimal monthly or annual price.
- Websites let you take a passive approach in sales, while apps allow you more active control
The thing with websites is, a viewer has to visit them to get any sort of message out of them. If someone’s not visiting your website, you can’t do much about it, other than putting ads or sending them emails, inviting them to your website. So basically, it’s a passive marketing approach. Whereas in apps, you can put up pop-up messages that catalog offers. More importantly, depending on the platform, apps are capable of self-launching and displaying offers or sales to the user. That can be a huge plus when you’re offering a sale on a product with high elasticity of demand. You won’t have to put extra ads for marketing; your app will take care of it.
- Websites are great for customer discovery, whereas apps are better for customer retention
Websites are a great option for landing new customers, given that they can be optimized to rank better in search engines and links can be shared across social media websites and forums. If you want to get new customers to buy your product, it’s a reasonable assumption that they’d prefer buying it on the website rather than downloading an app they might not even know about already. Apps, on the other hand, are great for retaining customers. A customer may choose to come back to your website, or not. There’s not much you can do about it other than sending promotional emails that end up in the “promotions” tab on their Gmail. But apps are magical in the way that they just lie right there, in front of the user’s eyes, daring him or her to tap the icon, and they’re more powerful in terms of what they can and cannot do. Apps can send you analytics for each of your customers, so that you can offer them better, customized products and keep track of their purchasing patterns.
- Customers spend more on websites
According to a study, customers spend 1$ on websites for every 42.7 cents they spend on apps. This shows that customers are not willing to pay for a product without considering competition and discounted prices while using the mobile app. Somehow, they’re ready to do that when they use the mobile website to make the purchase. That probably has to do with the 7th point.
- Customers spend more frequently on apps
Studies show that people who regularly use their smart phones to make purchases prefer using mobile apps. The number of transactions that take place on mobile websites is much lower than the number of transactions taking place on mobile apps. That might be one reason that shoppers are willing to pay more on mobile websites; they don’t buy from there very often and don’t have a sense of entitlement of discount.
- A website is a catalog. An app is retention and loyalty machine
If you’re thinking “Should I get a mobile app or a mobile website for my mobile marketing strategy”, you might want to think again. Apps and websites aren’t interchangeable. The differences listed above do not try to prove that you should opt for one instead of the other. In fact, they only try to help you with prioritizing things and setting reasonable expectations. For example, now that you know that websites have a higher reach than apps, you may decide to use your website for the pre-launch marketing of your product. You also know that websites are better for customer acquisition, so you might want to bring customers to the mobile site, earn their trust and direct them towards the app. In fact, you can create your own marketing strategy by using this list the way it suits you.
What most people overlook when it comes to the App vs. Site battle is that websites can be best utilized as catalogs for the products that the company offers. On the other hand, apps can be created to run efficiently the complex and dynamic functions that a user needs to carry out, like sending customized orders and other database related operations.
If you’re thinking about going with either a mobile website or a mobile app, then, quite naturally, you are bound to miss out on the quirks of other. To create a mobile marketing strategy that works in a smooth and rewarding manner, it’s very important that you associate your expectations and priorities with probable results.
In summary, mobile websites and mobile apps complement each, so we strongly recommend having both. Mobile websites are great for customer discovery while mobile apps are great for customer loyalty and retention — all of this together creates a mobile strategy that will benefit any business.