The End of the Saga - Mobile Web vs. Native App

No disrespect to those who are still struggling with this decision, but if the question of whether your mobile strategy should be mobile web or native app based, you’re more than fashionably late to the party! And if you are still waiting for the year of mobile, well, that happened years ago - when today’s most popular apps became available and entered the mainstream. In fact, the party has been in full swing for the past 4-5 years. 

No doubt, mobile web vs. native app was a hard decision for many, including industry leaders like Facebook, who made big changes to their strategy in 2011-2012.  The results have been more than fruitful as indicated by their latest earnings report where 80% of their ad revenue came from mobile and 90% of their monthly active users are on the same platform. In 2015, Google saw mobile search queries exceeded desktop search queries as a result of the combination of their mobile web and native app investments. Or consider how Uber - who now have a valuation of $62.5B on annual revenues of $2B – revolutionized the transportation service industry with their native app and are just getting started!

What is most interesting though, is that despite the progress, innovation and numerous successes, the question still looms in many of our minds when we contemplate our mobile strategy – should I invest in mobile web or native app?  The answer to this question is both – and it lies in your marketing campaigns and objectives. 

The Best Of Both Worlds

For campaigns focused on acquisition and general public awareness, a mobile web strategy is a must-have.  You’ll want to deliver a great experience to people who discover your brand via their mobile search. A responsive and delightful mobile web is paramount to having visitors become advocates by downloading your app, which in turn is the first step in building lifetime customer value. 

For customer engagement and monetization, your native mobile app needs to be the primary gateway by which you personally interact with every customer.  Here are a few reasons why - in addition to the fact that people spend significantly more time in mobile apps than the mobile web. 

  • Full control of the user experience - this is one of the top challenges that marketers face today. With mobile web or an HTML5 based app, you are at the mercy of web browsers and multiple third parties to deliver your experience. You’ll also have inconsistent experiences that are delivered across a matrix of mobile OS, OS versions and web browsers. 
  • Browser limitations – Browsers have limited access to device APIs that make mobile so valuable and powerful. You can see the all the limitations across OS and browsers here. Camera access, notifications, vibration are just a few of the key capabilities that are off limits to browsers.
  • Offline operability – Personally, I can’t believe that this is still an issue in 2016, but it is. As pervasive as wi-fi and cellular coverage is, we are not always online. Sometimes we have to pay (and we don’t want to), sometimes we just don’t have coverage or a strong enough signal from our carrier. 
  • Ad free – No need to worry about annoying mobile pop-up ads that disrupt your engagement with your customer. 
  • Targeted re-engagement and promotion – Deliver push notifications that are timely, relevant and contextual based on user behavior, location and other data sources.

And there you have it!  It’s better late than never to join this party. And the good news is that despite having started 4-5 years ago, the party’s just getting interesting. Your advantages today: that there are many successes to learn from, your customers are ready and Swrve makes it easy for you to know and personally interact with every customer in one simple platform.

Shall we get the party started?