Mobile Strategy: Website Or Application?


Every company should have a mobile strategy but first you need to decide what’s right for your business – a mobile application or a responsive website? Sometimes companies have one or the other or they may have both. This is all depending on the company and how they reach their users.

Some businesses have to choose between a mobile website or a mobile app based on their budget, let’s discuss the pros and cons so that you can make the most educated decision whenever you’re deciding on your mobile strategy. 

Mobile Website

Reach: Probably the biggest  benefit the mobile website has over a mobile app is the amount of reach you have; you’re able to access a much larger audience because of its discoverability and marketing potential, and it has low barriers to entry.

Content Sharing: If your primary goal is content consumption, a mobile website will usually suffice. While apps have the ability to make content sharing easy with a great design, a website can do these things with less overhead.

Ships Fast: Generally, obtaining an model view presenter (MVP) for a website requires less resources than launching a mobile app.

Marketing: Marketing a mobile website is easier and more effective than marketing a mobile application. Two tactics in particular work very well with website: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).

Some disadvantages are:

Functionality: Products with singular functions are generally better delivered via a mobile application than a mobile website. If you think of calendars or email, Uber or Instagram, you’ll likely agree that these functions are more effectively delivered through mobile applications than a mobile website.


Mobile Application

User Experience: The biggest benefit of a mobile app is the rich experience it delivers. Think of the UX on Facebook, Spotify, and some of your other favorite apps. Chances are the experience on the mobile application version is much more satisfying than their website versions.

Stand alone services: Applications are ideal for products that offer stand alone services. Weather, health, and banking apps all provide singular services to the user.

Re-engagement: While marketing an application via App Store Optimization is not very effective, apps offer push notifications. Push notifications are a great way to call the user to act even when they’re not actively engaged with your brand or product.

Some of the disadvantages are:

Storage: There is a limited amount of space on a user’s phone and your app is taking up some of that valuable real estate, I think we can all say we’ve seen the message “Storage Full”. When a user gets that message, they are then forced to decide whether or not to keep the app. Generally, apps get deleted before photos, emails, or other personalized storage.                                                                                                                                                                            

Best of Both Worlds

If you’re unsure which route to take (and you don’t have the budget for two builds), then Progressive Web Apps are a great alternative.

By combining the best of the web and the best of app, Progressive Web Apps maintain a website’s far reach and an app’s exceptional UX. Some of the benefits:

  • Discoverable
  • Responsive
  • Up-to-date
  • Works offline or on low quality networks
  • Re-engagement with push notifications
  • Installable – keep apps on the home screen, leave the app store
  • Linkable

If you have questions about which mobile strategy is right for you, feel free to reach out to us! If you’d like to learn more about some of the mobile strategies we’ve put into place, check out the mobile apps and responsive websites we’ve developed.