20 August 2011
Web apps versus mobile apps - which is
right for my business?
STEVE NASH: DIGITAL STRATEGIST & DEVELOPER
I recently went to a Web Apps versus Native Mobile Apps conference. The discussion took the usual route: web apps do a, b, c and native apps do x, y, z.
Surprisingly, no one brought up what I believe to be the most important consideration – app discovery – or how a user gets to the application.
So I thought I’d document my thoughts on why it’s important and why app discovery solidifies web apps as my typical weapon of choice for mobile solutions.
What is a native app? A native app runs only on a particular make of phone – say iPhone or Android. They can typically only be installed through the phone’s Application store. The app owner has to channel all marketing into driving users to a link in the app store to download the app.
Now, here’s where web apps cut through. Unlike mobile apps, web apps are accessed by a URL. A user can even be deep-linked and jump right in. No logins or multi-megabyte downloads necessary. Why is this awesome? Because the possibilities are endless.
For example we could:
- Embed the app URL into an SMS
“Check out Vodafone’s new pre-paid plans! mylink.com/plans”
- Let users click through from pre-existing email campaigns
“This job is recommended for you mylink.com/job”
- Run mobile AdWords or AdMob campaigns to drive users to a mobile app
- Let users share the app via social networks
"Check out this car I’m buying mylink.com/car"
A friend who runs a successful deal-of-the-day site was recently contemplating whether to create a web or native app, and was leaning towards a native app. However, after discussing the above, he quickly changed his mind. A large portion of his traffic was coming through social networks and email marketing, and there was no way to channel this mobile traffic into a native app.
So, before getting your heart set on a native app – remember to consider how you want people to access your app.
If you're thinking of creating an app for your business, get in touch with us today.
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