To App or not

App or mobilePeople are interacting all the time, using mobile devices to do just about anything and everything - keeping stats of their lifestyle, keeping up with the news, keeping up with their friends, organising their social life, buying, selling. The list is endless. We benefit from ‘click to call’ features, maps which use GPS to give us instant directions, share functionality so we can spread the word quickly… and now people are even interacting through watches!

Mobile is growing at an alarming rate - right about now PCs are starting to get the ‘cut down’ version of the site which historically belonged in the mobile arena.

You can’t afford not to be mobile these days, so you take the plunge and make the big decision to ‘go mobile’...  Great stuff! Thing is, it’s quite an operation whatever you do, so surely it would be good to get it right!

 

How do they work?

Mobile websites:

  • load pages in a browser in the same way as your big desktop computer
  • need to be accessed over an active internet connection, wi-fi, 4G, 3G ‘all the time’
  • can show you the absolute latest data/content, refreshed on demand

Apps:

  • are downloaded onto your tablet/phone and can operate without requiring an internet connection
  • may need internet access to update information but have the option of retaining the data for use at a later time when, maybe, you don’t have a connection

Which is better?

 Mobile website pros

 Mobile website cons

 Immediate content delivery*

 Constantly requires an internet connection

 Broader device accessibility

 User has to ‘work’ to find your page

 Cost-effective (as an extension of an existing site)

 Hard to personalise the experience

 Cross-platform

 

 ‘Easily’ found through a search engine

 

 Frequent update friendly

 

 

 App pros

 App cons

 Can be used anywhere

 Different requirements for each platform (Android / iOS / Blackberry etc)

 No constant internet connection required

 Higher initial investment

 You get a piece of real estate on the users device

 Code upgrades have to be published via the relevant store

 Once installed, the user has single tap entry

 Code has to be passed as ‘fit for function’ by the relevant store – this can take time

 Better customer engagement

 

 Send geo-targeted or time related push notifications

 

 Make better use of phone functionality -camera, GPS

 

 Readily and easily personalise the experience

 

*Some of our apps are on content managed systems. This ensures that the customer can update content readily.

But here’s the thing; you don’t really have to choose. It’s not an A or B or A vs B conundrum any more. Without doubt, smaller businesses have completely different needs to larger ones so it’s down to what suits you and the budget you’ve allowed.

Sites and apps are capable of different things so let’s play them to their strengths…

In summary

Use both if you can:
1. If you want to be found, make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. Chances are that people are looking (not necessarily for you!) using a mobile device.

2. Once you’ve interacted with them, don’t let them simply wander off into the abyss. Offer your visitors a way of staying in touch, becoming friends and personalising their experience through an app. After all, it resides on their device, they don’t have to come looking for you and you can get in touch with them at any point – sounds good doesn’t it?

Posted by Steve Rooke