Last week we introduced you to the concept and trends of mobile marketing. This week, we’ll dig a little deeper into the differences of each of these tools. What started off as a means to verbally communicate with others, cell phones soon became a form of written communication (text message) and today have transformed into mini computers that you hold in your hand. Between smartphones and multimedia phones, the phones of today have a hybrid functionality that appeals to a wider audience. This new user wants to do business when he or she needs to and have fun whenever possible. This has created the need for both mobile sites and mobile apps.
Mobile Apps are a software application that is made for a particular device such as an iPhone or Android. Mobile apps gained popularity when Apple’s advertising on their US trade marked phrase, “There’s an app for that” infected households. Mobile apps, at their core, are alternatives to mobile web sites. Is it necessary to have an alternative? Yes, Mobile Apps use all the features of a phone (geo-location, address book, camera, etc.). Mobile websites, on the other hand, can only use the features available in the browser software. Mobile sites are usually less expensive to create and maintain.
• Take full advantage of a device’s hardware capabilities which will give you better performance.
• An app can use features such as the camera, gyroscope and push notifications.
• Some or all of the features of the app will be available offline.
• The app can be launched directly. You do not have to launch a web browser first.
• The app will only work on the platform it is designed for.
• An iPhone app will only work on ios devices.
• To make an app for android devices would require completely different code.
• Users may not wish to install lots of apps, preferring instead to simply visit websites.
• Your app won’t be found directly on the web.
• The user has to download it from the app store.
Mobile Websites: Have you ever used your phone or a similar device to find restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, events, or even clothing stores? What was your experience like? If you were clearly able to find what you were looking for after reaching your webpage destination, then you were most likely visiting a mobile website.
Companies that have the type of business that people search for when they’re out and about should consider a mobile website. Why? Think about your own experiences again. Have you ever searched for something on your phone, clicked on a link that looked like what you wanted, and then gone to a web site that was much too big to fit on your smartphone screen? Did you bother trying to navigate around? If you answered no, you’re not alone. As soon as the searching process is no longer easy, most people will move on to the next choice.
• The mobile website will be viewable on any mobile device.
• It is usually cheaper and faster to develop a mobile website.
• A customer can find your website via a search engine and visit your site.
• The website can be updated easily through a Content Management System like a regular website.
• The website is generally designed to suit a device of average capability. So a website may run slower on older devices and may not take full advantage of higher end devices.
• You cannot access all of the phones features such as the camera, gyroscope, etc. While an app can.
• If a user visits your website regularly an app may make it quicker and easier for them to access.
Which one would be best for you? That depends. There are many facets that must be considered if you want to experience true success with your mobile marketing campaigns. However, rest assured that you are not alone. There are many companies that are mobile experts such as DirectiveGroup who can get you started on the right path.
Not sure if this even matters to you? You have to decide. Just keep in mind that by 2014 there will be more web searches done via mobile devices than on desktops or laptop computers.