Browsing websites is certainly easier than downloading apps. We are happy to follow links which open new pages and jump from tab to tab for the pleasure of browsing. But that’s the problem with websites. If you did a marketing campaign and saw a surge in your website visits, it’s not necessarily a sign of success because the majority of those visitors are simply looking and not making enquiries, bookings or purchases. On the other hand, an app usually means business. If you see a rise in your app downloads, then people have taken a serious interest in what you do. They aren’t just browsing, they want what you’re offering.
Mobile websites need someone to actually visit them to get any information from them. This means you have to constantly direct people back to your website by advertising on other platforms they’re already on (i.e. Facebook, Google, etc.) or by sending them emails, inviting them to follow a link to your website. It’s a passive marketing approach and leaves a lot to chance - will they see your Facebook post, or will they open your email? With apps, you can directly communicate with people in messages that land right in front of their eyes, without them even being in your app. Someone can choose whether to revisit your website, or not. An app will remain there on their homescreen, receiving notifications and asking to be tapped open again. It’s more active marketing that takes out the cost and uncertainty of advertising in other places.
But someone needs to know about your app in order to have it, right? Websites work really well for achieving this discovery and landing new clients. They can be optimised to rank highly in search engines and they’re also linkable which means they can be shared across social media platforms and be seen by new audiences. Because of this, websites are better utilised as a point of reference and a source of further information. Apps, on the other hand, are great for retaining clients by running the complex and dynamic functions that a user needs to carry out with ease and efficiency on a regular basis, like entering an event or managing bookings.
So is one better to have than the other? The truth is, they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. But it’s important to acknowledge their individual strengths when creating a mobile strategy to benefit your business.