The mobile landscape is a wide new terrain with ever-changing principles. According to a ComScore report, more than 100 million Americans use smartphones, and businesses are catching up to tailor their content to these users. The mobile space provides unique opportunities for entertaining, selling, and advertising. Businesses craft their mobile strategy and a distinct fork in the road faces all travelers: mobile-optimized web app vs native app? An optimized mobile web page caters to mobile users when they visit the site, providing more convenient mobile functionality automatically. Native mobile apps offer a similar experience, but users download them directly to the device. Take a closer look at our detailed analysis of web apps vs native apps:
Mobile websites have the advantage right off the bat — they’re cheaper and easier to produce. Wapple.net, Mofuse.com, and Zinadoo.com all provide do-it-yourself platforms for mobile sites, which will help you build a mobile platform and integrate it into your existing web code. If you’re looking to provide utility, the best apps are simple and straight to the point.
Unless you have experience coding, building a native app should probably be left up to a professional. Designers must code native apps in a language that the desired operating system can understand. After development, the app may need to pass through approval, which has been known to take weeks with certain Cupertino-based platforms.
While a web app is only a click away, outside factors, such as internet signal and browser speed can affect performance. Animation and graphics may never be as fast as native apps, but the internet is improving.
If properly coded, native apps can operate seamlessly under all circumstances. Native apps aren’t limited by a browser’s ability or, in some cases, a network connection.
Businesses that opt for web apps benefit from searchability — that is, their mobile page will pop up in search results. Especially for small businesses, this is important. According to Google, over half of mobile search is local. Additionally, 67 percent of smartphone users said they’re more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly site, according to Therealtimereport.com. On top of that, web links are easily sharable, so if your web app is noteworthy enough, it will get out there.
Through Apple or Android’s app store, users rate and comment on apps. Currently, apps do not show up in web results, however, so gaining new users depends on positive word-of-mouth, curiosity, and social sharing, which developers must build into the app.
Mobile is a hot trend in advertising, and a mobile web platform provides you with unlimited options. Anyone can access web apps. You can format the content with CSS to suit any device and provide the widest outreach.
Native apps stake a place on users’ phones, promoting regular use. If you’re promoting a mobile service or game, native apps enable you to charge for the technology.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to mobile expansion, but if you’re just getting started, a web app may be the more convenient entry into the mobile world.
Title Image Courtesy: Flickr/ChCameron