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Mobile Websites vs Apps for Local Business

By Kevin Z. on October 1, 2012 in Blog
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The mobile web vs. native apps debate continues to rise along with the mobile surge. The latest news on mobile apps in the marketplace recently made headlines.  Adeven, a German mobile analytics company, claimed that 60% of mobile apps never get downloaded due to the huge amount of apps in the App Store. This makes it really tough for small and independent app publishers to be discovered because big companies are dominating the top of the lists. If apps don’t make it to the top listings, the small players will find it difficult to get their applications noticed by anyone in the App Store. At the same time the big app publishers are spending millions of dollars to get to the top 25 list. Penetration in the App store is very tough at this point.

So, the question is, where does your business go from here, and should you offer your clients mobile websites or native apps?

If you’re planning to establish a mobile presence for your clients business to reach the widest possible audience, a mobile website is the best way to go.   Mobile website users can instantly access content through a mobile web browser across a range of mobile devices. Updating your content and design is easy because changes are immediately visible. Mobile websites are also quick to find in mobile search results and through industry specific directories, not to mention anyone who is trying to access your clients site directly via URL will get redirected to the mobile website. The mobile website’s URL can be shared via a simple link or text message so anyone with a smartphone is free to access the page any time.

Investing in a mobile website is much less expensive and less time consuming than developing a native app that requires multiple versions for different platforms. Having a mobile website provides a better value proposition for local business owners as consumers are not searching the app store for local business, they are searching using the mobile web or linking to a business’s website from one of the many social networks.

The cost of building an app is high due to on-going upgrades and development.  Pricing for a mobile website is much more affordable so you get an optimal return on investment over time.

With the huge amount of apps competing for user’s attention, the likelihood of being discovered by users and getting downloaded is quite remote. This unfortunate fact is backed by studies made by Adeven when they measured the statistics on apps download.

If you’re still not convinced over the issue of which option is better, think again and read Adeven’s report on why 60% of apps never get downloaded.

About the Author

Kevin Z.View all posts by Kevin Z.
Kevin Z. is the Founder & CEO of brick&mobile, a full service mobile marketing company specializing in turnkey reseller programs and White Label Mobile CMS solutions. Kevin’s passion for mobile innovation and sales training is the driving force for thousands of successful mobile marketing partners and local resellers in over 22 countries worldwide.
  • Livingcovers

    Hmmm….this is quite informative and revealing. Thanks for an awesome post.

  • James B.

    I see How the statistics for “mobile apps” can be the way they are.  Big companies are spitting apps out like they are watermelon seeds.  But you have to realize the mobile app for small business is given directly to their customers via posters in-store or printed on receipts.l  This allows the business to directly reach their customer base with targeted adds or discounts.  The apps can also allow for ordering of goods and services as well as bookings for hotels and/or flights.  Small business spends billions in advertising trying to reach their customer base and they would be lucky to reach a small fraction of them.  Where as mobile apps have a %97 read rate for “push notifications” as oppose to %3 or less open rate (read rate <%3)on emails.  With discount clubs like the 10th bag of food is free and being able to keep track of it without holding up the check out line has the potential to exponentially increase sales. Just because there are millions of unused apps on the market doesn't mean for a second a customer wont download an app for their favorite restaurant or bar and use it to order food and be informed of lunch specials or drink specials. And that last statistic says" 60% of apps don't get downloaded"  is true, I bet $100.00 its true but if the app stores weren't loaded with crappy wallpaper apps and stupid little games from big companies than a small developer could sweep the market a revolutionary app and eventually either be toe to toe with the big names or buy them right out. And isn't it true that you would rather deal with the crazy neighbour than to have to learn what a new one is all  about.  The evil you know is better than the evil you don't know.  Big business got scared when they realized the true potential of mobile apps and flooded the market with crap to drown out the a true inspirational mind in a see of garbage.

    James Brown

    • Tez Australia

      Well said and I agree, if you have an app that hits a direct market, then those looking for that market will find it. Targeted apps also work well for small business to. If a small business has an app built for their client base, it will and does get passed on to others via friends word of mouth etc. Thereby giving more free exposure to that business and it works like the upside down pyramid, starts small and gets bigger each week.