Mobile App Or Mobile Website?

If you don’t already have a mobile presence established for your business, you are probably making plans to do so, and deciding between a mobile app or a mobile website. These two different marketing tools can look very similar, and which you choose will depend on several things like your budget, your target audience, and your desired features.

What’s The Difference?

Before you can decide which one you want, you need to understand the differences between mobile apps and mobile versions of websites. Both are accessed on devices like smart phones and tablets. A mobile website is similar to any other website, except that it was designed for a smaller display and a touch-screen interface. By comparison, apps are downloaded and installed onto your mobile device, not rendered within a browser. Once downloaded, an app may or may not require internet access to function.

Is One Better Than The Other?

Whether a native app or a mobile website is the right choice for your business depends mostly on your goals. For example, if you want an interactive game, you should choose an app. However, for making mobile-friendly content available to the most users possible, a mobile website may be a better option. Once in a while, having both might make sense, but it probably won’t make sense to build an app if you don’t already have a mobile website. Therefore, if you have neither, you should probably consider a mobile website first. Once you establish your mobile presence, an app can be useful for a specific purpose that a web browser cannot accomplish effectively.

Why Choose A Mobile Website

A mobile website is almost always going to be your best bet if marketing or public communications is your primary goal. A mobile website has several distinct advantages over an app, making it a better strategy for mobile outreach. For example, a mobile website is available to users instantly, whereas apps must be downloaded and installed. Mobile websites are also compatible with more devices, while native apps must be specially designed for each type of device. Also, mobile websites can be upgraded more easily than apps, tend to be more easily locatable than apps, and can be shared between users more easily.

The extensive list of mobile website advantages doesn’t stop there: mobile websites also can’t be deleted, meaning they will last much longer than apps on users’ device (apps are notoriously short-lived for most users). Mobile websites are also far less expensive than mobile apps, and mobile website development takes far less time.

Why Might You Want A Mobile App Instead?

There are still situations in which an app makes more sense. For instance, you might want a mobile app for interactive games, complex calculations, or if you want to provide content without a wireless connection. Just make sure only an app will do – you’re wasting money if you can accomplish your goals with a mobile website.

Happy marketing!


Sean McPheat

(Image by Stuart Miles at

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