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Mobile App Vs. Mobile Website: The Difference Explained

Patrick Leddy | Whiteboard Strategies | 27 April , 2016

In a time when more people own mobile devices than toothbrushes, and mobile usage has surpassed the time we spend on desktops its now more important than ever before to become focused and intentional about the mobile products that we create. In the next few minutes I’m going to show you why it’s important to create native mobile products, and not just mobile websites. Let’s do it!



Mobile App Vs. Mobile Website: The Difference Explained

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[VIDEO] Mobile App Vs. Mobile Website: The Difference Explained


Notes on Mobile App Vs. Mobile Website: The Difference Explained

So this question keeps coming up again, and again. They say “Patrick what would you advise us to build, a mobile app or a mobile/ responsive site. While I think building a responsive, mobile friendly site is an admirable and sensible step in the right direction it probably won’t deliver the results you need.

No Mobile Product = Limited Reach

If your company has no mobile product, you immediately limit your reach on that channel. Of course you could advertise, and engage on social platforms, but that’s about it. While mobile advertising is growing incredibly, I believe that it is over valued attention. The ads are a distraction, you’re not really creating any lasting value or deep utility.

Benefits SEO

However if your company has a mobile site, or a responsive site, you now have some basic ways to reach customers, in fact it may even help your SEO rankings. Google favours companies that make an effort to create friendly mobile experience.

Some contextualization

Because you can access some basic location data, you can also be a bit more contextual and personalized with how you present content.

Mobile web is still very limited when you consider where people spend the majority their time.

Native App = Full Reach

Nine Out Of 10 People

Nine Out Of 10 people spend most of their time inside smartphone apps not the browser. On desktop we tend to spend the majority of our time in browsers. The behaviour on mobile has turned out to be very different. A mobile website has far less reach than a native mobile app.


Building apps in the native code for the device allows us to create faster, slicker, better experiences that feel immersive and dynamic.

Sensors & Context

When we create these native apps, one of the things that makes them feel more immersive and dynamic is the access to location services, accelerometer, photos etc that is very difficult to impossible with the mobile web.

Distribution & Discovery

Getting your mobile web app or site discovered can be difficult. I’m not saying the App Store makes it easy to be discovered but when optimized correctly and used in conjunction with other techniques provides global distribution, payments all built into one platform.


With native apps we are able to continually engage with customers through push notifications. Something we are not able to do if your company just has a mobile website.

So that’s it for this video guys. If you have any questions as always… you can Tweet or Snap me @mobilemonktv. Don’t forget, when you leave a comment below the video, you inspire the whole community. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to my weekly mobile strategy hacks - never miss an episode. I’m Patrick Leddy, see you guys next time, take care.