Mobile Apps and Mobile Advertising — Which App Is Better?

Native Apps

A native app is an app for a certain mobile device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) They’re installed directly onto the device. Users typically acquire these apps through an online store or marketplace such as the Apple The App Store or Android Apps on Google Play.

Mobile Web Apps

The use of mobile web apps refers to Internet-enabled apps that have specific functionality for mobile devices. These apps are accessed through the mobile device’s web browser, and they don’t need to be downloaded and installed on to the mobile device.

Native Apps — The Early Favorite

Early in the history of smartphones, and before the use of tablets, native apps were the preferred medium due to their success on the Apple App Store for the iPhone. This provided easy access to the functions of the smartphone, and showcased the initial latency of mobile web use. The mobile web experience had not evolved — mainly due to limited bandwidth from service providers — and therefore lacked a smooth user experience that were the experience from use of native apps.

When native apps were the preferred medium, mainly because of their success on the Apple App Store, access to the functions of the smartphone, and the initial latency of the mobile web. Back then, the mobile web experience had not evolved to provide the same smooth user experience as native apps did.

Top marketing professionals today should consider not only whether to use either a native app or mobile web as part of their mobile marketing strategy, rather when, how, and where to use them.

The decision depends not just on how easy or difficult it is to develop a native app vs mobile web promotion, but on factors that ensure high performance, and excellent user experience throughout the customer journey.

In a 2015 State of Mobile Advertising Study by Opera Mediaworks, they found that Mobile Apps dominate the global market. They discovered that the majority of their traffic was generated by the use of Mobile pps, and over time, Mobile app traffic consistently drives the majority of both ad traffic and overall revenue.

Below you can see the delivery of both impressions and revenue were substantially higher than Mobile web.

To help with the decision as it applies to your brand requirements, let’s look at the differences, advantages and the disadvantages of each, and how each use applies to a strategy for success.

The Right Mobile Architecture for Your App

A decision to build the best mobile app architecture, can become a million dollar expense if done right, and an incredible waste of money and resources if the wrong choice is made. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all structure to solve all mobile requirements — yes, there is a way to choose the best solution for your enterprise.

The guide below from Outsystems includes a decision tree, and instructions that explain the benefits, and possible compromises to each type of Mobile solution:

Mobile Web and Native Apps

A Native app is an app developed for mobile devices, with a particular platform and purpose in mind — downloaded and installed directly onto the mobile device from the App Store, Google Play, etc.

A web app is an Internet-enabled app that is accessible via a mobile device’s web browser and offers a unique version of the website, resized to fit a mobile device screen. These apps do not need to be downloaded onto the user’s mobile device to be accessed.

The Mobile Web

The Mobile web should be your first step in mobile advertising strategy

For many companies today, the mobile web is a practical first step in their mobile advertising and product promotion strategy. The mobile web has some fundamental advantages over native apps, including broader accessibility, compatibility, and the ability to add and remove content on the fly — which provides marketers the ability to publish targeted mobile content quickly, all without the need for app submission and approval.

Mobile Web — Advantages

· Performs on most mobile devices

· Demands lower initial investment, shorter development time

· No app approval required

· Easier to maintain a common code base across multiple mobile platforms

· No need for large memory, or faster processor hardware

· Easier to integrate with existing CRM, marketing & BI systems

· Can be released anytime and in any form to rapid deployment

Mobile web — Disadvantages

· Operation based on web resources, requiring internet connectivity to function optimally

· Difficult to discover — not listed in any app store

Native Apps

Native apps are an investment in your company’s success

Despite some of the benefits of Mobile web, native apps are very popular, and there are many specific use scenarios where a native app will be your best choice.

Native apps provide access to the extensive distribution channels in Apple App Store or on Google Play plus; purchases are processed from user’s app store account, accelerating the transaction process.

Native Apps — Advantages

· Easy to discover using app store on the mobile device

· Usually better performance

· Works with mobile device’s built-in tools and toggles, all familiar to the customer (taps, rotation, GPS, Camera)

Native Apps — Disadvantages

· Expensive to develop, update, modify

· Competition with millions of other apps

· Requires app store approval to publish

· Longer process to engage (download, install, launch, etc.)

· Device must have robust device memory and storage (most do, but with older iPhones still dominating the market, could be an issue)

· Can’t re-use code between platforms — often requires different knowledge for each mobile platform: Java (Android), Objective-C (iOS), and Visual C++ (Windows Mobile), and that is always changing

Are Native Apps Crushing Mobile Web Apps?

In Galen Gruman’s blog, Native Apps Crushed Mobile Web Apps — And That’s a Good Thing, he stated, “…we actually need both native and Web apps for different purposes.”

In an example, he shared, “That’s not to say native apps are always better than Web apps. The Adobe Analytics app is both unreadable and limited on a tablet or smartphone, whereas its Web app is readable and uncrippled.”

These are factors include in your go-to-market strategy that provides a crucial window of opportunity — measured against the desired user experience, the value of dynamic performance, and the ability to maintain and update the application, or information it contains.

What About Traffic and Revenue Share?

Though only 33% of the traffic is from iOS devices, Android and iOS account for nearly the same revenue.

In the same repot by Opera Mediaworks, they showed that while the assumption that Android OS is in the hands of more users a majority of traffic, it is Apple iOS users that lead traffic that drive nearly the same revenue share, as the illustration below clearly shows:

The Bottom Line

Whichever you chose, native apps or web app––or a hybrid of the two––mobile is the best way to deliver the highest converting content, and provides your business the best opportunity to interact on a personal level with your current, or future customer. Each of these app delivery platforms has their strengths and weaknesses, so the choice of one versus the other, depends on your business’s unique needs.

As a takeaway, consider these important points to decide if you should develop a native app, or a mobile web solution:

· How important is speed and performance?

· Do you want your app to include any device-specific features?

· Do you want your app to be web-enabled––and is that a requirement?

· Will your app be required to support multiple mobile platforms and devices — if so, how many?

· Your budget, goals, timeline

Each of these apps has a very unique benefits. Which is most appropriate for your organization will depend on your company’s specific requirements for speed of execution, budget, resources, and expectations.

Please comment below, and follow me on Twitter (@RikWalters) and on LinkedIn, and let’s continue the conversation!