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How to choose between mobile app and mobile web for marketing campaigns

Posted by on 10/08/2016


Deciding between mobile app and mobile web is most probably the most common dispute in the mind of marketers. When a growing number of people across the globe own a mobile device or smartphone, the issue at hand becomes even more important.

With profit often as the goal, how can brands master the art of communication with their customers while not forgetting to respect the user? Can brands merely build a mobile app and consider it done?

If the objective is mobile advertising effectiveness, vital factors must be considered when deciding between mobile app and mobile web.

increasing viewability

A large audience using mobile apps have a strong tendency to see and click on ads that pop up on their screens. According to eMarketer, by the end of 2016 each mobile user will be spending at least three hours each day using various types of apps. Currently the time spent on mobile browsing, however, is around 51 minutes. Advertising on mobile apps, then, is considered a good strategy as a means to increase viewability. A much larger audience will end up seeing your ad; a crucial factor in boosting ROI and accomplishing the your set goals for mobile advertising.

Another way to boost mobile communication is through providing real-time chat opportunities to allow businesses to engage with their customers and grab their attention. This provision can be met through mobile apps, mobile web browsers, and even SMS.

Get inspiration from the big boys: How top brands are using mobile apps to promote their services


The strength of mobile ad attribution, is crystal clear for app marketers, as it helps measure user interactions when viewing a mobile ad. With Apple IDFA and Google Referrer providing very good examples, mobile apps gain the upper hand through the use of tracking features. App marketers are able to closely follow-up their campaign effectiveness with direct responses in mind. This also includes brand awareness, in-store footfalls, and recalls, all of which fall into a sub-category dubbed “down-the-funnel metrics.” Relying mainly on tracking using cookies, mobile web faces significant challenges in the field of attribution. Cookie refresh, post-view tracking and cookie conflicts involving browsers, are just some of those challenges.

Far less time is spent in the mobile web world (in other words, accessing mobile websites using a mobile phone), in comparison to the world of apps. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, there’s evidence to suggest that there’s more overall traffic and a larger number of individuals making repeat visits to mobile websites. It’s also necessary to keep in mind that it takes less active engagement for someone to visit a web page, compared to uploading a mobile app and spending your time on it.

the art of targeting

Micro-moments, as Google puts it, take place when users instinctively turn to a mobile device to carry out unique tasks, such as the urge to learn about something, take action on a specific job, view criteria, or even make a purchase. During micro-moments, the ability to optimize ads using key data signal collection is one of the main reasons of success in mobile app advertising. This is especially important when understanding user engagement in relation to your ads, and goes the extra step of offering substantial opportunities target key users on a deeply personal level. Based on the demographics, location, and historical behavior of highly targeted audiences, mobile data management platforms (DMPs) are considered a very effective medium in reaching such markets.



being innovative

In an attempt to establish relationships and engage with their ideal target audience, app marketers have the opportunity to rely on interactive and innovative ad creatives. Through mobiles, considered as ideal interactive mediums, app marketers have the opportunity to leap ahead of passive message delivery by using interactive techniques that provide a true sense of user engagement. Such ads provide the utmost leverage through the most recent device capabilities, especially camera and location. This can work very effectively on mobile apps. On the mobile web, however, HTML5 is the general language of rich media ads. This is unfortunately limited to audio and video units without the advantage of mobile creativity.

final thoughts

Mobile communication is extremely dependent on four characteristics: the necessity to be informed, intelligence, the ability to be responsive, and of course, the understanding of every specific user’s experience on mobile in the face of other platforms, including desktops. Usage of mobile phones—and especially smartphones— continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, meaning businesses are in need of a strong strategies consisting in heavy mobile engagement. The basic fact is that consumers are using mobile apps and mobile web to different ends. This is exactly why businesses need to weigh up the question of which medium to use, and how to use it. They finally need to form the best design for the optimum real-time communication experience.

All in all, how to allocate your mobile ad budget is an important consideration. It’s completely up to you to decide. It goes beyond simply creating a mobile app or launching a mobile website; businesses need to pinpoint the best way of communicating with their specific target audience.

Topics: App marketing