Thursday, 13 October 2011 04:44

Mobile App vs Mobile Site

So, you know your business need to be mobile, but before you start calling/hiring for mobile web development ask yourself: is it that only way to mobilize my business?

Mobile app or Mobile site?

You're right that a mobile site isn't the only option to meet the requirements of a mobile device. You can also develop a mobile app. There has been quite a lot of discussion over which one is better for an organization. But, if you ask FiG, we will say: "It all depends." Here is a comparison chart of a mobile app vs a mobile site so you can make a good decision when choosing between the two.


Mobile Site

Mobile App


A website that was created specifically for mobile devices

Applications that were designed to run on mobile devices


Accessible by URL, Google search (other search engines as well), no download or installation is required.

Accessible through app stores on your mobile device. Download and installation are required.


Develop once on a common platform (with browser compatibility) with little modification in the future for most mobile sites (For detailed cost contact FiG)

Different platform development required (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Microsoft, etc), and usually need further updates after every system update.

Visibility of search

Same concept as website SEO, and Google mobile search lists mobile sites ahead of traditional websites.

Time, pricing, and investment all play a role in determining the rank of an app. We recommend you read this Mashable article to improve your app's ranking.

Market size

Your existing visitors, prospective customers, and people that can find you on search engine or have your URL.

People that have downloaded or will download your app.

User Experience

Limited control of user experience, which is largely reliant on what is possible with HTML/CSS coding. Motion and interactivity are limited by iPhone and iPad's inability to use Flash.

Full control of user interface to personalize the design, make it easy to use, and provide a simple interactive experience.

Data Collection

Highly limited. Mobile site can generally only collect data that users specifically give. Some geographic and behavioral information can be gathered.

Accessible to almost all device capabilities, including GPS, RFID, camera, contact list, etc.

Conversion Rate

Highly dependent on the mobile site's design and management.

Able to achieve high conversion rate as it requires a user to self select participation by deciding to download and install the app in the first place.

The mobile explosion will continue, so whether you decide to build a mobile site or create an app or both, you'll benefit for the long term. Just don't chase the temptation of apps before you know you've already got visitors to your website. Tomorrow we will continue the conversation and offer some takeaways to help you build a successful mobile site.