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Mobile App vs Website

Why Apps are Better?

#Mobile Apps Offer Better Personalization

Personalization is about offering tailored communication to users based on their interests, location, usage behavior, and more.

Mobile apps can let users set up their preferences at the start, based on which users can be served with customized content. Apps can also track and observe user engagement, and use it to offer custom recommendations and updates to the users. Furthermore, they can also identify location of the users in real-time to provide geography-specific content.

However, improving user experience is not the only purpose that personalization serves. It can also help improve conversion rate of apps:

When users are pampered with personalized content, they have a higher chance of making a conversion.

#Ease of Sending Notifications

Well, there’s no reason to worry.

Enter mobile app notifications.

The notifications are of two types: push and in-app notifications. They both are exciting alternatives for communicating with app users in a less intrusive manner.

The ability to send instant, non-intrusive notifications to users is so desired that it is one of the major reasons why many businesses want to have a mobile app in the first place.

In-app notifications are the notifications which users can only receive when they have opened an app.

Push notifications, on the other hand, are those notifications which users can receive regardless of any activity they are doing on their mobile device. There have been instances where the push medium of notifications has delivered click-through rates of 40%.

It goes without saying that you have to plan your notification campaigns judiciously.

Add-on: There are third-party services that provide push notifications services to mobile websites, too. However, these services are in a nascent stage and still have some limitations (some only work on specific browsers, and are not available for all website types). Still, businesses, unaffected with the limitations, can consider using these services on their mobile websites.

#Making Use of Mobile Device Features

Mobile apps have the advantage of utilizing features of a mobile device like camera, contact list, GPS, phone calls, accelerometer, compass, etc.

Such device features, when used within an app, can make the user experience interactive and fun.

Moreover, these features can also reduce the efforts users would have to make otherwise. For instance, users completing a form on a banking app might need to submit their photograph for completion of the process. The app can let users take help of the camera of their mobile device to capture and submit a photograph.

The device features can significantly shorten the time users take to perform a certain task in an app, and can even boost conversions.

Add-on: Mobile websites can also use some features of a mobile device like camera, GPS, etc. Still, there are technological constraints in utilizing all the multimedia features of a device (which mobile apps can use).

#Ability to Work Offline

It is probably the most fundamental difference between a mobile website and an app.

Although apps too might require internet connectivity to perform most of their tasks, they can still offer basic content and functionality to users in offline mode.

Let’s take the example of banking app again.

The app can provide features like tax calculation, installment calculation, and determination of loan limit. These features can work even without the help of an internet connection.

Add-on: Even though mobile websites can use caching to load web pages without an internet connection, they can only offer limited functions.

#Freedom in Designing

Even with all the technological advancements in web designing, mobile websites have to rely a lot on browsers to perform even the most elementary functions. Mobile websites depend on browser features like ‘back button,’ ‘refresh button,’ and ‘address bar’ to work.

Mobile Apps don’t have any of these restrictions.

A mobile app can be designed with a lot of elaborate functions, based on advanced gestures like ‘tap,’ ‘swipe,’ ‘drag,’ ‘pinch,’ ‘hold,’ and more.

Apps can use these gestures to offer innovative functionality that can help users perform a task better. For example, an app can let users move to a next or previous step using the swipe gesture.

#New Branding Experience

Since a mobile app is distinct from a company’s website, it has the liberty of offering a new branding experience to users. It means that the company can experiment with new branding styles for the app, which can be different from the regular brand style of the company’s website (or the company altogether).

Going a step further, companies can build mobile apps specifically to transition into a new brand style for themselves.

Additionally, a mobile app can also allow users to customize its appearance, as per users’ liking. This can further help in the personalization front of the app.

Add-on: The concept of microsites work on similar lines. Microsites offer a distinct brand experience to users, as compared to their parent sites. They are often used to promote a sub-brand, an event, or a newly-launched service.

#Users Spend More Time on Apps

Mobile users spend 86% of their time on mobile apps and just 14% of the time on mobile websites.

Moreover, the average time users spend on mobile apps is also increasing — rising by 21% in one year.

Note: A point to consider here is that users spend a majority of their time on gaming apps and social media apps.

However, we also don’t have data telling us which mobile websites users visit more often (out of the 14% of their time mentioned above). Hence, it’s not possible to make a comparison.

#New Stream of Conversions

If you’re looking to increase conversions, mobile apps can be a great medium to push users down the conversion funnel.

Mobile apps can be used to acquire both top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) and bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) users.

For instance, utility apps can bring-in ToFu users, which can be later nurtured into BoFu leads. On the other hand, apps like eCommerce already have BOTF users, who have a higher possibility of converting.

Add-on: Since mobile apps are much more targeted in nature (through their content and utility), they can be used to tap specific users in the funnel. Mobile websites, in contrast, reach out to a diverse set of audience.

#Brand Presence

Users spend a substantial amount of their time on mobile devices. It’s safe to say that many of the users encounter the apps they’ve installed on their devices, almost every day. This regular encounter can be viewed as a branding opportunity for the apps.

Even when users are not actively using a mobile app, they are still reminded of the brand associated with the app. The icon of the app acts like a mini-advertisement for the brand.

The presence of an app on a user’s device helps influence user’s perception about a brand, subconsciously.

#Apps Can Work Faster Than Websites

A well-designed mobile app can perform actions much quicker than a mobile website.

Apps usually store their data locally on mobile devices, in contrast to websites that generally use web servers. For this reason, data retrieval happens swiftly in mobile apps.

Apps can further save users’ time by storing their preferences, and using them to take proactive actions on users’ behalf.

There is also a technical justification as to why mobile apps can work faster.

Mobile websites use javascript code to perform most of their functions. And the framework that mobile apps use can run almost five times faster than a javascript code!

While all this is happening in the background, users get to complete actions quicker on the front-end of mobile apps, again contributing to a delightful user experience.

Mobile App v/s Mobile Site — What Should You Choose?

Developing both mobile website and mobile app for your business can prove to be a costly affair. You might have to choose one of the two channels, based on your budget and business goals. While both channels have their own pros and cons, mobile apps, especially, can help you get higher conversions. Mobile apps offer greater personalization and operational efficiency, along with multiple other exclusive features.

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