Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps

October 4, 2011

Following up last month's article, Why Build a Mobile Website?, this issue focuses on the comparison between developing a mobile website and creating a mobile app, and why Visionary Services believes in most cases, a mobile website is the better solution.

While most people use the term "app" only when referring to an iPhone, mobile apps can be developed for many mobile platforms (Blackberry, Android, etc)1. The largest challenge with creating an app for your brand is building one app that will render equally across most mobile devices. These differences may force you to build more than one app to accomplish your goals and surpass your budget for the project.

Before deciding budget, however, you must first determine your goals. For most businesses, a mobile website is more cost effective and provides a higher Return On Investment (ROI) for the number of potential users2. Customers don't need to "download" anything or have a specific type of phone to access your information. Consequently, if your goal is to develop an easy way for customers to access information about your company through a mobile device, then a mobile website is the way to go.

Most business' goals center on providing information quickly to their target demographic so customers take action, such as making a purchasing decision. Whether that decision stems from getting directions to a local restaurant, comparing apartments to rent or what pair of jeans to buy, a mobile website can easily provide the necessary solution.

Another concern about spending money on an app vs a mobile website centers on how much the app will actually be used. While apps continue to be a buzzword, research by Pinch Media indicated less than 5 percent of non-game related apps are used after the first 20 days.3 Other than many popular social media or gaming apps, business apps can struggle to justify the cost vs. usage.

Whether you're concerned about how your site may work on an iPhone, iPad or other mobile device, a mobile website can generally provide the most cost-effective and cross-platform solution. Let Visionary Services help you determine your mobile goals. Contact us today.

1Is Developing a Marketing App Worth the Cost? By Aaron Maxwell
2Mobile Web vs Mobile Apps, posted by DudaMobile
3Mobile Website vs. Mobile Applications, by The Caliber Group

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