The Results Are In! Apps vs. Mobile Websites

We all know the importance and prevalence of mobile in today’s age. With half the people in the world now engaging with content on a mobile device, the question is no longer if people are engaging with mobile, but how are people are engaging with mobile? Well, we’re glad you asked.

According to Nielsen's latest report, over 89% of time spent on mobile devices is in apps. This means out of the 2 hours and 19 minutes people are spending on their mobile devices each day, 2 of those hours are spent engaging with apps.

Not only are people spending more time using apps, but they are spending more time in apps per session than mobile websites. Here’s what Adobe found:

  • Smartphone users spend almost 3 times as long in mobile app sessions as they do on mobile website sessions

  • Tablet users spend 4 times as long in mobile app sessions as they do on mobile website sessions

But moving beyond statistics, let’s get into the why. Why are people engaging longer and more frequently with apps? The good news, for both your content and your audience, is that apps provide a unique way of connecting with people through their attractive interface, instant accessibility, and convenience to people’s lifestyle.

Take the Facebook app for instance. People use the Facebook app over the mobile website because of its more frequent and accessible content. It allows people to engage with updates and notifications in a more efficient and enjoyable way that fits into their on-the-go daily lifestyle. On the other hand, accessing the mobile site requires you to open a browser, then type in the website address, then type in your login information, and then… are you asleep yet? Apps allow users to get the instant access they need with just the tap of a screen, giving you the opportunity to catch the attention of your audience in ways you never could before.

Congratulations! You’ve now caught your audiences attention, but what about keeping it? Because apps are natively built to function across specific mobile devices and operating systems, the overall experience is more enjoyable as it's tailored to that specific device’s interface design. This includes the navigation throughout the app, media presentation, the ability to access content offline, and integration with other built-in capabilities of a mobile device such as social sharing and syncing calendar events. To put it simply, when it comes to spending time on a mobile device, people will keep engaging with something that’s enjoyable, easy, and fits in with their overall lifestyle.

And let’s not forget about direct communication. Because an app is present on a device’s interface, organizations can use features such as push notifications to communicate messages directly to their audience’s devices. Whereas mobile websites require a user to intentionally conduct a one-way search in a browser to access content, apps allow you and your audience to engage in more two-way communication. 

Having a mobile website and mobile app presence are both incredibly valuable, but when it comes to engaging with content, apps have the majority vote. While a mobile website has its value in giving an organization an upper hand in search-ability, apps deliver an interface that gives end-users a more enjoyable experience of media, text, navigation, and ultimately an organization's brand. This makes the small time investment of downloading an app worthwhile, as it produces more frequent and extended engagement from your audience.

In the end, it all comes down to how your audience currently interacts and expects to interact with content on a mobile device. We believe (as do the statistics), that apps give you the unique opportunity to create a deeper connection between your content and your audience. By creating an app for your organization, your content can receive the visibility and engagement it deserves.