Mobile app vs. mobile web for online marketing?

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A key issue for companies is the mobile versus app debate, and whether there is an argument for producing a mobile application versus a mobile site.

There are clear arguments for both applications and mobile sites. While some companies believe that mobile development priorities should be focused on either a mobile site or an application, the reality is that consumers are using both channels, so an integrated approach is the optimal solution.

The use of smartphones have proliferated in the last year, which means that there are far more opportunities to reach consumers via a mobile app. According to research from Olswang, 22% of UK consumers already have a smartphone, with this percentage rising to 31% among 24-35 year olds.

Smartphones are becoming increasingly sophisticated with a growing number of features, which means consumers are now engaging with brands via multiple channels on their phones.

It is important to distinguish which type of solution best suits the needs of the company.

There are three types of mobile applications: native apps, web apps, and hybrid solutions.

Native apps are programmed using Objective C on the iPhone or using Java on Android devices.

  • Native apps make use of all the phone’s features, such as the mobile phone camera, geolocation, and the user’s address book.
  • Native apps do not need to be connected to the internet to be used.
  • A native app is specific to the mobile handset it is run on, since it uses the features of that specific handset.
  • Native apps can be distributed on the phone’s marketplace (e.g. Apple Store for iPhone or Ovi store for Nokia handsets).

Web apps run in the phone’s browser.

  • This means the app works across all devices, and ensures cross-platform compatibility.
  • The same base code can be used to support all devices, including iPhone and Android.
  • However, web apps do not make use of the phone’s other features, such as the camera or geolocation.
  • Web apps cannot be deployed to the phone’s marketplace.

Hybrid mobile apps are a mix between these two types of mobile applications.

  • Using a development framework, companies can develop cross-platfom applications that use web technologies (such as HTML, Javascript and CSS), while still accessing the phone’s features.
  • A hybrid app is a native app with embedded HTML.
  • Selected portions of the app are written using web technologies.
  • The web portions can be downloaded from the web, or packaged within the app.
  • This option allows companies to reap all the benefits of native apps while ensuring longevity associated with well-established web technologies.
  • The Facebook app is an example of a hybrid app; it is downloaded from the app store and has all the features of a native app, but requires updates from the web to function.

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Which is the right approach?

To cover all bases, it is important to recognise that consumers are not using these channels in a mutually exclusive manner. They are using both native applications and browser-based apps, so the best strategy is to develop both types.

The decision to invest in an app or in a mobile website depends on the company’s target audience and the functionality of the app. Companies also need to consider time, budget and resources to develop each solution.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patrick Murphy
SiliconCloud provides high-quality, customized solutions to satisfy business objectives by leveraging the online space to drive leads and nurture customer relationships. SiliconCloud's integrated solutions of Web Creative, Analytics, Search Marketing & Social Media is designed to elevate your image, inform sales strategies and drive business. SiliconCloud means having a clear vision. Dozens of organizations in B2B and B2C arenas have counted on SiliconCloud to pave their road to the future by securing their online presence

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