We’re hearing a lot about mobile web and apps in the same breath these days, and for good reason.
There are currently more than one billion smartphones in circulation worldwide, with that number expected to double in just the next few years. In fact, by 2013 more people will be accessing the web from their mobile devices than from computers, a large percentage of which make purchases directly from their phones.
Having both a mobile website as well as an app is a two-pronged approach that can go a long way in reaching this exponentially-growing market.
Mobile web and apps are not the same
While both mobile websites and apps are designed to be accessed on handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets, there are key differences between the two:
- Mobile websites are like regular websites, except that they are optimised to display on a smaller screen. They can display text content, images and video, just like a regular site.
- Apps, on the other hand, are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on a smartphone, like a piece of software.
- Mobile sites have greater reach, but apps have much higher engagement.
- Apps run faster and are more interactive than mobile sites alone.
The advantages of having both
Mobile sites are a great way to reach a wide audience, while apps are designed for a specific purpose that a mobile site can’t perform. However, because apps are more interactive, people statistically spend far more time using apps than mobile sites.
Hence, having both a mobile site and an app can increase your reach in terms of numbers as well as engagement. Another reason to have both is that people search differently. While some like to search online, others prefer to search through the app store.
One good strategy is to create your mobile site first, then add an app for increased functionality, because if consumers are invested in a brand, they will use both the mobile site and the app for different purposes.
So if you’re interested in gaining wide market reach as well as customer engagement, having both a mobile site and app can make a lot of sense.