Mobile App vs Mobile Website: Which is the Right Option in 2022?

Published On: June 30, 2022
Last Updated: July 5, 2022
Mobile App vs Mobile Website

The world has gone mobile. People worldwide have adopted smartphones and related devices in the past few years.

  • As per Statista, smartphones hold 50% of the overall web traffic globally.
  • In 2020, global revenue from mobile apps increased to over 318 billion U.S. dollars and will increase over the next few years and overall will reach around 613 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. (Statista)

If you also want to create your business presence on mobile, the first hurdle you may face is choosing whether to develop a mobile app or mobile website, or both. Secondly, you may have a question, what is the difference between a mobile app and a mobile website?

Here, we will compare a mobile app and mobile website depending on the various factors like compatibility, personalization, device capabilities, etc. By understanding these factors well, you can choose between a mobile website or app for your business.

Before we look at these factors, let us understand the main difference between both.

What is the Difference Between Mobile Website and App?

A mobile website consists of browser-based HTML pages connected with each other and can be accessed via the internet regardless of device screen or size. On the contrary, a mobile application is a software application meant to operate on a specific platform(Android & iOS) and a specific mobile device like a phone, tablet, or watch.

Mobile App vs Mobile Website: A Quick Comparison

Here we will have a quick comparison of mobile app vs mobile website.

Factors Mobile App Mobile Website
Compatibility Compatible on a specific platform only. To provide compatibility across platforms, create a separate version. It works properly on most of the devices & screen sizes.
Personalization Limited options for personalization. Vast options for personalization.
Device Capabilities Can access various device capabilities. Access only limited device features.
Reach Accessible on smartphones & tablets only. It reaches users on numerous devices (mobile, desktop, and laptop).
Offline Accessibility It functions properly offline. It has limited offline accessibility.
Development Cost High Low
Support & Maintenance Requires more time and money in updates plus getting approval from app stores. Invest less time & effort in maintaining a mobile website.

Mobile App vs Mobile Website: An Extensive Comparison

Here we have compared mobile site vs mobile application depending on several crucial factors as follows:

Compatibility

A mobile website allows you to provide a better experience to users across multiple types of devices. All the users who love to access services through different devices would praise the compatibility of a responsive website.

Moreover, you can configure various things into mobile websites, such as QR codes, SMS, and near-field communication (NFC).

For effective functioning, a mobile app needs to fulfill the requirements of the specific operating system. Therefore, if you want to provide accessibility on multiple platforms like Android or iOS, you are required to develop a separate version for each operating system.

Now, you might be wondering, is it not okay to create a cross-platform app that supports multiple devices? Absolutely, you can choose a cross-platform solution that offers compatibility across various devices.

However, the cross-platform frameworks you utilize for creating an app have some limitations for every operating system. Hence, you cannot integrate functionality as required by the operating system.

Thus, a mobile website is highly compatible across multiple devices.

Personalization

Personalization is a method of tailoring an experience depending on the information a business has obtained about an individual.

With the help of a mobile website, you can’t provide better personalization to the users as it is focused more on the services/products.

By opting for the mobile app, you can provide better personalization to the users. How?

Mobile apps enable users to establish preferences as soon as they download an app and customize it. In addition, apps help you monitor user engagement and utilize it to provide tailor-made recommendations and updates.

Besides this, apps can also identify a user’s location to provide deals when they reach a particular store. Moreover, it is said that offering personalized notifications impacts your app’s engagement, open rate, and conversion rates.

Discoverability

For a mobile app you can use a process known as App Store Optimization. With the help of this, you can rank your app on a particular app store. In this process, you need to look after various things as given below:

  • Meta title and meta desc of the mobile app.
  • Include proper images and visuals.
  • Effective description.
  • Urge users to rate the app.
  • Reach out to influencers and request them to rate & review your app.

You need to spend sufficient time and money to conduct the app store optimization process.

On the contrary, a mobile website follows the process of SEO. Here, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is the procedure of enhancing the quality/quantity of traffic on a website using search engines.

A mobile website relies on SEO to rank higher in the search engine result pages. Here, companies develop a mobile-friendly website and follow SEO best practices. Hence, their website ranks well on search engines. It further increases brand visibility and traffic.

While comparing a mobile app vs a website from an SEO perspective, a mobile website is a clear winner.

Device Capabilities

Mobile websites can’t access the device capabilities such as camera, GPS, phone dialing, etc., like the mobile apps.

The reason is that smartphones aren’t developed to handle the features of responsive websites. Even if you can utilize various APIs and libraries available in the market to resolve these problems, a mobile website doesn’t function like a mobile app.

On the contrary, a mobile app can leverage various device capabilities, such as push notifications, GPS, device vibration, camera, location, and more. These device capabilities are crucial in a retail mobile app as you are supposed to provide a top-notch customer experience.

Hence, while comparing a mobile app vs a responsive website regarding leveraging device capabilities, a mobile app is the clear winner.

Reach

The ability to reach a wider audience is the main goal whenever you take your business online.

A mobile site is compatible across many platforms; hence, it is easy to reach a wider audience. Also, considering the search engines, a mobile site has more reach than a mobile app which needs to be searched and downloaded from a specific app store. You only need a browser and a stable internet connection to access any mobile website.

On the contrary, a mobile app is built for a specific operating system like Android or iOS. Hence, you cannot reach a wider audience unless you make an app for multiple platforms.

When we consider a mobile site vs a mobile app in terms of a wider audience reach, a mobile site is a clear winner.

Offline Accessibility

Both mobile apps and mobile websites can work offline.

Mobile apps have a better ability to work offline. Even though most apps require an internet connection to function, they provide some content and functionality to the users offline. Hence, users access various things anywhere and anytime.

Offline access to a mobile website is limited. Here, you can design and develop a mobile website considering the best tools and technologies, but it offers limited functionality via cache pages. To access the mobile website properly, you need a stable internet connection.

Development Cost

Development cost is the most crucial factor when choosing whether to develop an app or mobile website for your business.

Generally, the development cost of a mobile app is higher if you want to launch your app on multiple platforms, such as Android & iOS.

Besides this, there are various factors that affect the mobile app development cost, such as complexity, development approach, developer location & experience, etc.

If you decide to launch your app for multiple platforms at a low price, you can choose to develop a hybrid app. However, the cost of developing a hybrid app is still higher than the cost of a responsive website.

Developing a mobile website is cost-effective as compared to the mobile app. The main reason is that you need to build it once. Later, it’s compatible with various screen sizes and devices.

However, the cost of a mobile website varies based on the complexity, technology, frameworks used, developer location, and more.

So, a mobile website is far more cost-effective than a mobile app.

Support & Maintenance

Support and maintenance are the crucial things that further increase the cost of a mobile app or a website.

If you are developing an app for multiple platforms, you need to look after the errors and upgrades and resolve them for various devices simultaneously. Further, request users to update the app to the latest version.

One of the other challenges in maintaining an app is getting approval from the app stores after updating it. In the end, it sums up that it’s costly to maintain an app.

If you opt for a mobile website, you need to maintain a single version. Due to this, the cost of support and maintenance of a mobile website is low.

Also, when you make content or design changes on a website, it will be reflected across different devices. You don’t need to download and install a mobile website and can access it from a URL.

Conclusion

Now, you must have understood all the crucial factors that differentiate a mobile app from a mobile website.

It’s time to select the best between the two based on your business objectives, marketing goals, and brand positioning. However, if you think both the mobile app & the mobile site will help you achieve the result, then go for it.

If you are still confused about choosing between a mobile app or a mobile site, then don’t hesitate to contact us.

GuruTechnoLabs is a professional web & mobile app development company. We possess a highly talented team of professionals who can understand your business well and provide innovative solutions.

FAQs on Mobile App vs Mobile Website

Q 1. What are the pros of mobile apps?

  • Personalized experience
  • Online and offline availability
  • Instant updates and notifications

Q 2. What are the cons of mobile apps?

  • Compatibility issues as every platform – iOS, Android, and Windows – requires a separate app version.
  • Continuous maintenance for adding features, bug fixing, and security updates for the practical working life of your application.
  • Approval is required from app stores where you will launch your app

Q 3. What are the pros of mobile websites?

  • Same user experience across multiple devices
  • Wider reach due to multi-device support
  • Easy to reflect updates for all users at the same time
  • More flexible and cost-effective than app development

Q 4. What are the cons of mobile websites?

  • Offline availability issues
  • Limited access to mobile device functionalities like camera and GPS
  • Improper navigation may create a bad user experience
  • Need to maintain one or more versions of a website
Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.