Apps vs Websites is one of the big dilemmas. The preference for a website or a mobile app stems from different challenges. This can tip the balance on one side or the other. But, as often in marketing and communication, nothing is all white or all black.
Where an application has certain advantages, the website will bring other advantages. It’s all about context, market, consumers, and business strategy. Let’s take a look at the differences so that you can orient yourself correctly and choose the right digital medium.
Where a website is simply accessible from a Google search engine, a mobile application will request a download to be used. This makes it less accessible, especially since it will not be available on a computer unless it was developed for. The website, even if it is not designed to be mobile, may be accessible from a smartphone.
The browsing experience can, however, be very poor. It is important to note that some applications may be available offline, without the Internet, and thus simplify access compared to a connection-dependent website.
Integration into everyday life
A mobile application can fit into the daily lives of its users and integrate naturally with other existing applications such as SMS, Emails, Phone calls, Camera or even GPS. The website is more limited, although it can request access to the camera or other applications. It remains less “naturally” integrated on smartphones than the application designed for, with the behavior of the application often based on notification systems and other alerts keeping users active.
Maintenance and back office
If we consider that a website is easier to update (especially because the application requires an additional download from the mobile user), the application does not threaten to upset the design, unlike a mobile website (often an adaptation of the desktop website) which may experience some adaptation difficulties.
The cost of creation
This is always the big question that is difficult to answer. The costs can vary according to the needs in UX design, web design, or development. A website can consist of static content that visitors can use, while a web application depends on interaction with the visitor, an interaction that requires programmatic user input and data processing.
Regarding the application, If you want to be available for an iPhone and a Samsung, you will have to develop for both iOS and Android. This will multiply the costs. In general, the cost of the mobile application is, therefore, higher than that of the website, due to the specificity of the development, but also to its different end-users.
Unlike the Website, the user can use many features of the application without having to connect to the Internet. In this sense, the application can automatically store the information shown to the user when he had access to a connection and continue to show it offline. Convenient for use in the mountains, which often lacks internet access.
Targeting and internet access
Another differentiating factor is orientation and targeting. Websites are more focused on promoting events or communicating with a large audience (quantitative approach). Applications can reach more specific audiences (qualitative approach).
According to surveys, more than 60% of users access the Internet via their mobile phone. An increasing percentage thanks to advances in Smartphone technology.