When working on your mobile strategy: Mobile App or Mobile Website?

Posted on Jan 24th 2021 by Miira Vehviläinen
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Coming up with a mobile strategy can seem like a never ending job and you're right, it kind of is. Social media, App Store Optimization, Swot Analysis...  But to get it started and create the framework for your company is the most complex and most valuable part of the strategy. In regards of my previous post (click here to read), not everyone needs to invest on an app and not everyone will benefit from an app the same way they’d benefit from a website etc. So companies need to put their goals and purposes on the table and follow them while developing their mobile strategy. One aspect however on this strategy planning is, in addition to a regular website vs. mobile app conversation, the dispute between mobile apps and mobile websites. Many think that they won’t need an app and that they will just make the mobile website look good enough. But there are many differences between only having the mobile website, an actual app or even a website designed only for computers. And many companies often turn a blind eye for the benefits of an app.

Mobile Websites

Computer or a mobile phone - both will be sticking around for a long time to come and they both have their own purposes, but mobile phones are surpassing computers quite rapidly on usage. Thus the usage of apps is also growing daily and the paste is not slowing down anytime soon. However, mobile websites are in active use everyday. People google things all day every day and when they come up to your website, it needs to be mobile friendly. Surprisingly enough, according to App Annie, the most used mobile websites this month, were sites that are rocking the app game as well. In the Top 10 you can for example find Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Facebook. So people do use mobile browser but this might be due to the laziness of downloading the app or not even wanting the app in the first place. Not everyone has an Instagram account or a Facebook account and thus might use these browser pages only when someone sends them a link to a picture etc. 

SEO

Like said, not everyone needs an app. There are benefits for mobile websites as well and it all depends on what your company stands for and runs for and what makes your users happy with their experience. SEO compared to ASO is a whole another conversation, but overall in SEO the competition is way harder due to the amount of websites out there. One positive side to mobile websites however, is the fact that it can be done on both devices, computer or mobile and in addition, tablets. So the site is everywhere, whenever you need it. In addition mobile websites can be designed to look good and be practical, same where as an app would and overall it can be the cheaper option.

Mobile Apps

Not trying to be bias, but I still am. There are so many benefits in apps, so a company who turns a blind eye to it, is simply wasting a vast opportunity.

ASO

ASO by itself, is a tool which makes improvement fast, since collecting data is fast, vast and you can basically collect it for whatever you need. A/B testing gives you the opportunity to decide based on data and not on visual eye, users' feedback or just guessing. If you are only collecting feedback, like in SEO, the users first have to write it somewhere, which takes time and will not give you authentic results. By gaining data via A/B testing, the improvement and changes can happen rapidly enough to keep the user experience the best possible at all times.

Push Notifications

Push notifications give the app the possibility to remind its users of their existence, make them come back at a regular schedule and make the user feel special. Push notifications can also be personalized, which takes the user one step closer to the app. Click here to read more on my thoughts on push notifications.

Design

With an app you have the freedom to design it however you wish. You have the freedom to design its icon, its screenshots, its App Store cover picture and so much more. With an app, the user has it downloaded on their device and thus has the icon visible all the time. This makes the user use it more often, by only seeing it with their eyes and being reminded daily.

Personalized

One of the most valuable benefits of having an app. The few factors above are also connected to this one, since by designing the app you have the freedom to make it available for customization. Maybe the user can decide their own color scheme for the app? And change it based on their mood? In addition, push notifications can use certain info such as the user's name and thus use it in the notification to make it more personalized.

Offline-mode and in-app features

With apps you don't necessarily need to use the internet but you can make the features work offline as well. In addition, the in-app features such as a camera, alerts or a video-call feature make it customized and special.


So overall I say that having an app is pretty great and pretty profitable. But as I have said and you've probably already realized - it is not necessary for everyone. However, don't let that stone unturned and go on create the mobile strategy best for your company.

Miira Vehviläinen
Miira Vehviläinen

ASO Specialist

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