Mobile App or a Mobile Websites
At the end of 2012 Smartphone shipments to retailers worldwide were expected to total 717 million, 45% more than shipped in 2011. With Android holding 68.3%, iPhone at 18.8%, BlackBerry at 4.75% and Windows Phone at 2.6%, – International Data Corporation (IDC)
Some more facts:
In June 2012 Facebook recorded 543 million active mobile users. – A 67% increase compared the to the previous year, and that’s more than half of Facebook users.
For all of 2012, Android is projected to hold 68.3% of the global Smartphone market, followed by iPhone at 18.8%, BlackBerry at 4.75% and Windows Phone at 2.6%, IDC said.
In June 2012 twitter posted out
So the figures speak for themselves, people love mobile engagement, as its simple, quick, and accessible from anywhere.
What should I invest on Mobile app or a Mobile website?
We get asked this couple of times since we have launched our mobile app service. It all depends on what you are targeting and what you want to achieve. Mobile app is not like a mobile website, its different – Yes Sir, I am afraid they are two different things, and yes they can both be accessed from your Smartphone.
What is a Mobile website: Mobile websites are similar to any website that are built using HTML/ PHP and other coding languages, which are accessed though the internet (your phones web browser using your data service). The difference between a normal desktop based website is that the design of the mobile website is more simmered down, its simpler, and easier to load on your Smartphone. But the overall content of the site is the same, where you can add text and images.
On the mobile website you will be able to add certain phone features which will allow your visitors to do certain features to make the mobile website more comfortable to use such as one click to call, or locate your location for directions.
In short a mobile website is simple version of your website
What is a mobile app: Mobile app are actual files that you download and install onto your phone. Think of it like installing a program on to your computer. Similarly you would install an app onto your phone. Depending on the app, it can be developed to use certain features of the phone such as Camera, Calendar and others. The app does not necessary need to have internet connection to run, as the files are download directly onto the phone, some apps do pull data and information from the net, especially those apps that a are driven using a CMS or a database, such as Facebook app, without the internet on the phone it will not work.
So back to the question, mobile website or an app?
The first thing to take into count is what user experience are you looking to create, whether you are looking for a more hands on interactive experience, or a more settle approach such as delivering content and information (blog, ecommerce Sites, Business websites).
Secondly you need to also consider who you audience is going to be, if you are building a mobile app, now there is no point in just having an app for iPhone or an app for Android. Most of the users now days have a mixture of iPhone, android phones, blackberry (though it’s on the decrease) and windows phone (which is on the increase). So if you are having an app ideally you want it to be accessible to the majority of the market, I would say at least two of the above Android and iPhone and keep an eye on the demand of windows.On the other hand your mobile website is just one site which will be accessible to all Smartphone users as all smart phones can now read rich HTML, and you do not need to go through the process of getting your app approved.
Thirdly is the cost factor. Yes mobile apps are more expensive to build compared to a mobile website, as the level of work involved is also more. Even though you get ready made mobile app builders and mobile website builders, which are fairly cost effective, but you are restricted to what you can do with you app, as they are not bespoke. If you are on a short budget and want to test the waters, start off with a mobile website and gradually move into a fully interactive mobile app which will be available on all markets.
Mobile apps are generally faster and more interactive as it can be integrated with other apps on your devices, on the other hand a good mobile website is as easier to navigate and update and will probably cost you half the amount. From the infograph below you can see that users prefer to use apps for engaging, networking, and navigating, and where it comes to searching for something, shopping online they resort to the website.