There is no doubt that we live in a mobile-first society. Most Americans spend 5.4 hours on their smartphones every day doing everything from shopping to watching videos to staying connected with each other.
People are also connecting with ministries on their phones by using mobile-friendly apps for churches and websites that help people discover, engage, and get connected with other believers.
But which of these tools is better for engaging and equipping people on mobile—a church app or a website?
Companies have tried to replicate the mobile app experience on mobile browsers for many years now. Some “tech experts” have been predicting that websites will bring an end to mobile church apps. Yet when it comes to mobile, apps continue to grow more popular than websites.
Let’s take a look at important information you need to help decide whether or not to invest in a church app, a mobile website, or both.
According to recent studies, people spend 90% of their time on smartphones using apps, compared to just 10% with mobile browsers. At the same time, the average amount people use mobile apps continues to grow year over year.
The reality is that mobile websites have come a long way and can functionally do some of the things a mobile app can, but that’s largely irrelevant because apps still get far more usage and screen time on a person’s mobile device. If you want to engage people where they are, an app is the best place.
Simply put, people vastly prefer apps over websites on their mobile devices.
Mobile apps streamline communications for your church with push notifications. These notifications instantly appear on the homescreens of your app users’ mobile devices, and they are 50 times more likely to be opened than a similar email!
Custom church apps by Subsplash offer even more powerful communication tools, including:
The best part is that you can manage all of these communications tools through your Subsplash dashboard. No more managing multiple platforms, passwords, and processes!
One of the main reasons that mobile apps are so popular is their convenience and speed. Think about this question: How do people access an app on their mobile devices? They only need to download a church app once and it appears on their device’s homescreen. Whenever they want access, all they have to do is click on your church’s icon and it’s immediately available!
In contrast, how do people access a website on their mobile devices? They have to open a mobile web browser, search for your church, click on the correct search result, and wait for your website to load. And, every time they leave your site, they have to repeat this process to connect with your church again.
Beyond being more convenient, church apps by Subsplash usually load faster than websites, store users’ data directly on their mobile devices (instead of a web server), and remember where users left off reading the Bible or watching a sermon video. This creates an enjoyable, more personalized experience for your people and encourages them to keep using your church app.
Websites play a vital role in helping people discover your church. People will often visit your church’s website before stepping into your building. Websites are designed to act as your church’s front door, welcoming new people and introducing them to your community.
When it comes to mobile, however, apps for churches serve as your church’s living room. For example, Subsplash apps create a more personalized, central hub than websites where people can watch sermons, take notes, read the Bible, sign up for small groups, have conversations, and dive deeper into their discipleship journeys—all in one safe place without ads or other distractions!
A church app is designed to help you better understand how your people are engaging with your church. The Subsplash Dashboard will allow your app to track important metrics, such as the number of:
You can also discover which devices and operating systems people are using when they are using your church app. This information helps create a holistic picture of how people are engaging with your content through your app.
Users spend a lot of time on their devices, so having your church app’s icon on the homescreen of their mobile devices keeps your church in front of your users, and this increases brand awareness.
Because your website and church app are distinct from each other, your app offers another brand presence to delight mobile users. Also, apps can be a great place to start if your church is looking to start a rebrand or create a new brand experience.
Some companies offer special app features designed to better engage mobile users. For example, Subsplash offers a native in-app group messaging tool that facilitates conversations in a safe and secure environment. We also offer Live Stream Chat to increase engagement as well as live giving prompts to encourage generosity for people watching live services on your church app.
In conclusion, church websites are valuable because they help your church be more discoverable on search engines and introduce your church to new visitors. On the other hand, apps for churches provide a better, more engaging experience for your community than a mobile website.
Subsplash created the first church app in 2009 to help people better connect with their churches on mobile, and our platform has been the industry standard ever since. We also offer powerful mobile-responsive websites with beautiful church-themed templates, SEO tools, and an easy drag-and-drop editor for design.
The good news is that now you don’t need to choose between a church app and a website! Subsplash makes it easy to design, publish, and manage your mobile app and website on one unified platform, with built in features such as online giving, live streaming, media player, and much more!
[.blog-contact-cta]Schedule a free demo today [.blog-contact-cta]and discover for yourself what it’s like to use the best church apps and websites to better reach, engage, and grow your church!