Mobile traffic has exploded in the last 5 years. The exponential rise in the traffic that goes through mobile devices has been unprecedented to say the least.
However, Mobile traffic is further divided into two subsets. The traffic generated by responsive websites built, either exclusively or inclusively, for mobile devices and the traffic generated by mobile apps.
These two are essentially different, from the developer’s desk right up to the way the end users use them. Analyzing these differences can help you determine which platform would be better suited for your business to reach its target audience. Let’s take a look.
Market surveys reveal that in terms of time spent by user, mobile websites lag way behind mobile apps. But at the same time mobile websites get almost twice as much overall traffic as compared to apps. Similarly, in terms of the amount of referrals, mobile websites come out on top with Search and Social media being the top sources.
User behavior for mobile websites and mobile apps differs vastly. Much of this is due to the fact that the two platforms provide different formats. For example, a random website page found as a result of a search query by a user will include, on average, numerous other outbound links to pages with related or relevant information. Thus even though the time spent by a user on the page might be little, it initiates a chain of exploration that can drive traffic to potentially many other pages or websites. This does not happen in the case of apps. The next section will explain why.
Almost all statistics agree that an overwhelming majority of the people spend most of their times using app rather than mobile website. In fact, about 85 to 90% of the total time spent on mobile device comprises of app usage. However, the vast majority of this traffic is confined to the top performing select few apps. So much so, that the top 25-50 apps account for nearly 80-90% of all usage.
Mobile applications further face the problem of retention. Surveys suggest that most apps would never be opened again after 90 days of installing. The usage graph of most apps out there falls sharply with time, often never repeating the initial spike.
Mobile applications by virtue of their format encourage concentrated and prolonged usage but the flipside of this is that they do not generate even half as many referrals and do not drive traffic further.
Add to this that mobile applications require substantially more monetary investment during development as compared to a responsive websites.
So where should you devote your marketing and development efforts?
Keeping the above-mentioned points, business owners planning to build either a website or an app need to carefully consider their objectives and decide which platform best serves them. Experts suggest that unless you have an exceptional team of developers working for you who can create a premium level app that can compete with the best in the niche, it’s a much wiser move to opt for a mobile responsive website.
On the other hand, if the service you plan to provide cannot be encompassed by the web platform then you may have no choice but to go for a mobile app. Therefore, before deciding on whether to invest in website development or app development to bolster your business’s online presence carefully evaluate all the factors mentioned here and then settle for the most optimal solution.