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May 26, 2015
by Divyanshu Sharma
While many brands are exploring and serving the growing mobile audience, far more are only beginning to think about their mobile presence. This article tries to analyse various factors you might want to look into, before finalising your mobile strategy.
First things first, what is the major difference between a mobile website and a mobile app?
A mobile/ responsive website is a website that is intended to be viewed through a browser in your device (mobile phones, tabs etc). They are simplified form of a standard website that provide a better user experience through improved usability, reduced page load times and presenting content that can be easily consumed from your device.
On the other hand, an app is a software designed to make the users perform a set of actions on their mobile device. So, what are the factors you need to consider while finalising your mobile presence? We enlist a few of them below:
Any decision on strategy needs to be driven by business considerations. If you have a non-technology business, delivered through technology (Zomato, Ola etc), it could be tough deciding between a mobile website or a native app. However, if your business demands capturing the user's current location, or having access to native features of their mobile phones like camera, settings, network connectivity etc, mobile app might be the way. Whatever the goal, define it clearly first, before going ahead and building one.
Other business considerations, like how you are going to integrate your current marketing communications (with app or m-website), how will the the app/website ease your operations/process- need to answered before you take the plunge.
The most important factor that will help you narrow down (or rather zero in) your choice between a mobile website or a native mobile app is the understanding your target audience. Questions like how are you planning to reach out to your target audience, how are you simplifying their current tasks, how long are they spending time on your product/service, how often do you want them to use it, what are the CTAs, among others might help you decide what you really need.
People tend to download apps for actions they perform on a daily basis and for doing things that 'tie' into their daily lifestyles. If you want your audience to perform a set of repetitive tasks with a lot of CTAs, then mobile app might make more sense. On the other hand, if you want your customers to just read & consume things, you might want to start with a mobile website.
If you can create an app with features to make it a 'go-to app' for your customers, your business will benefit immensely from the brand engagement that the app can deliver. Apps of social media networks are a testimony to this fact. Their traffic through the app is much larger than their mobile-websites because of the value it provides to its users.
Design, development and deployment of a mobile website is very similar to that of an actual website. These websites are accessible and view-able by anyone who clicks the URL from a mobile browser. However, deploying a mobile website might not as easy as it might sound. With varying screen sizes of phones and tablets it does become a challenge to build a responsive website.
On the other hand, it takes a lot of time, money and effort to build a mobile application. Moreover, you need to build an application for different platforms and operating systems.Mobile apps require submission approvals to be featured on play-store/apple store in addition to an annual membership fee. Gauging which platform the majority of your target audience has access to might be a good way to ease out development efforts.
Major difference between a mobile app and a website is that an app lives on the phone, while site lives inside a mobile browser. This means personalised notifications, CTAs, reminders etc are possible only on a mobile application.In addition to this, mobile applications can be accessed offline as well, which becomes difficult for a mobile website. Another advantage with mobile apps is the fact that it lets you discover and uncover your user better, which is impossible through a mobile website.
To conclude, when you are building a website it is mandatory that it has to be responsive. However, if you don't have an mobile app yet, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to interact, engage and have personalized communication with your customers.
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