Mobile apps vs mobile web

Mobile APP or Mobile WEB? How to Make the Right Choice for Business?

As the total amount of mobile devices worldwide is estimated to be more than 7.7 billion by the end of 2014, it is crucial for basically any business to build a proper mobile marketing strategy. Probably, at this stage, a big challenge to many entrepreneurs can be deciding between a mobile responsive website and a native mobile app.

Mobile apps dominate mobile websites in terms of time spent online.

There’s at least one important fact that speaks in favour of mobile apps. Users spend much more time with apps than with mobile browsers. Another fact is that over 90% of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app. With the variety of apps that are available for mobile devices nowadays, a web browser is just one out of the numerous tools for searching and exchanging content. According to stats revealed by Flurry, there’s a huge shift towards mobile apps at the expense of mobile websites this year. It states that an average US user spends 2 hours and 19 minutes with apps out of 2 hours and 42 minutes spent with a mobile device in total per day. The share of apps increased from 80% of the total time in 2013 to 86% in 2014.

Mobile apps vs mobile web usage in 2014 compared to 2013
Time spent online: mobile apps vs mobile web

But if we take a closer look at the following infographic, it becomes clear that only specific apps categories are used with high frequency. And the biggest share in that respect belongs to games, followed by social networking and messaging apps.

Mobile apps categories 2014
Mobile apps vs mobile web usage breakdown 2014

So, if your app doesn’t belong to one of the most popular categories, it’s probably not likely to reach very high download ranks very fast. Just think of it, there’s about 400, 000 apps with zero downloads out of nearly 1 million apps on the Apple’s App Store in 2014!

Google to encourage mobile friendly websites

Google isn’t going to be out of the swim in the ‘mobile apps vs mobile web battle’. It has introduced a new search label which indicates a website’s ‘mobile friendliness’ and gives it a boost in search results.

Google's mobile friendly search label for websites
Google’s mobile friendly search label for websites

To own the label from Google, a website must meet a number of criteria:

  • not use Flash, which is unrecognizable on mobile devices;
  • links must be optimized for tapping;
  • text must be readable without zooming and scrolling;
  • a web page must load fast enough.

In brief, a website must look great both on mobile and desktop devices. Anyone is able to check a website’s eligibility for the Google’s lable by running a mobile friendly test.

Mobile friendly website
An example of a mobile friendly website

In conclusion, the best strategy for business to compete in this rapidely changing envirornment is to have a mobile friendly website by default. But a native mobile app can be a good solution to enhance the added value for customers, though its development, maintenance and promotion requires additional costs and resources.