Mobile Apps Vs. The Web | Which Is Better For Business?
So what are people doing in those apps? Gaming and social networking absorb 79% of people's time, according to Flurry. The rest is made up of news, entertainment, and other apps.
The Counter Argument
The majority of apps that we use ourselves at McCormick & Winter (and presume most people use on a regular basis) are really just portals to the web. Apps like Facebook, a Twitter client, an email client, maps, and weather are all just front ends to the Web. So where do you draw the line? Frankly, it doesn’t really matter. Until apps have the full functionality that the web offers, they won’t take over. It’s just a more convenient way, in some instances, of getting what you want from your device.
Even if you do manage to build a great app that gets, say, a million downloads, statistics show that only about 10,000 of those downloads will end up getting used. That’s nothing compared to the kind of traffic a good mobile website can get, not least because it’s much easier for people to find your site by using any search engine. Let’s take a look at some other differences between the two:
The most obvious difference is that an app is usually downloaded from iTunes or the Android Market, whereas a mobile site can run on any phone with a browser. If you just have an app, only those who are able to download the app have access (that is, assuming your app met Apple or Google’s app store requirements in the first place).
We believe it’s too much to ask a first time customer to download an app when they only plan to make one purchase. On the other hand, a regular customer could well find an app very convenient versus typing in your URL on a tiny keyboard. Another definite upside of mobile websites is that they update automatically and don’t require the customer to download the latest update if you come out with a new version.
The key differences are that mobile sites (on the Web) don’t need to be downloaded, are available to all, easier to build, and don’t need approval. Apps, on the other hand, can take advantage of native handset applications like a camera, gyroscope or push notifications. Clearly, there are many differences between the two and each has its advantages and disadvantages. If combined, the two can create a powerful boost to any organization.
Combine the Two?
Why not maximize your potential and use both? Good question. While it’s certainly a pricier and potentially an unnecessary route, the benefits may be worth it. These days there are roughly four unique generations of users: The Baby Boomers (BB), born following WW2 (1940s – 1960s). Generation X, those born after the baby boom ended (1960s - 1980s). Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, those born between the 1980s and early 2000s. And lastly Generation Z, also known as the Internet Generation, with birth dates from the 1990s to the present.
If a brand wants a simple experience (for BB & some X), they should have a mobile Web site. However, if it wants a deep, engaging and rich experience (for X, Y & Z), they should choose applications. Therefore to target all four generations you would need both a mobile website and an app. However, this assumes all Generations own and use Smartphone’s and/or tablets. In conclusion, the decision rests in your hands whether one is taking over the other and which will benefit your business the most. Only the future will tell.