Websites VS Apps, Which One Is Best For Local Business?

Mobile phone with apps

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Consider a New Website Or App? We Explore The Advantages and Disadvantages Of Both

Website or app, app or website? This conundrum has business owners weighing up the benefits for their industry and target market before deciding. Both have their benefits and potential drawbacks.

2020 taught businesses that websites (and indeed apps) can be the saving grace during tricky times, especially e-commerce technology.

It is generally accepted that the vast majority of businesses need an online reference point to some degree. What, and how much, depends entirely on business model, competition and current climate which governs operation.

If you are considering revisiting your digital marketing, and find yourself at a crossroads between a custom-built website or an app, this blog is perfect for you. We are going to have an in-depth look at both, and how consumers in the UK use their smartphones.

Smartphone Use Statistics UK, Websites & Apps

In 2021, Google will release a core update called Page Experience. Part of this update will favour websites developed for AMP, accelerated mobile pages, to further improve a websites performance on mobile devices.

This complements a future update leaked in March 2021 for 100% mobile-first Which will see websites not developed or responsive for mobile phones completely disregarded and pushed to the back of the line. Huge news for SEO trends in 2021.

For Google to introduce such drastic and potentially damaging ranking factors, we must be a nation of smartphone addicts. And we are, with an estimated 55.5 million users in the UK!

Smartphone Stats For 2020 UK

  • 99% of 16 – 24 years olds own a smartphone
  • 98% of 25 – 34 year olds own a smartphone
  • 95% of 35 – 54 year olds own a smartphone
  • 70% of 55 – 64 year olds own a smartphone
graph papers
The chances are the majority of your target market use a smartphone. Meaning they have access to both apps and websites. So the question once again, website or app?

Is An App Right For Your Business?

Apps grew in popularity as a by-product to smartphones being designed with more memory as standard. Cloud storage has enabled users to save photos, images, music and videos on cloud storage, and stronger 4G & 5G let’s us stream on the go. Leaving actual phone memory free for apps.

But don’t jump for joy and decide an app would be best for your business just yet. Competition and visibility with apps is very high.

If users can store more apps, then they are more distracted when using their device. The average user has more than eight social media accounts, and spends two hours twenty nine minutes on them every day.

Depending on your industry, it’s very possible that you spend the time and money on an app for it only to be lost and forgotten about once downloaded. Let’s say you run a car garage, and invest in an app. A user could well only use it to book in a yearly MOT. The rest of the time, the app sits amongst many others, gathering digital dust.

The same garage could be better off investing that time and money in a modern website, complete with a geo specific SEO strategy to attract local traffic Ensuring it is optimised to appear in the local SERPs when a related search term is requested. Including ‘MOT Check’, a search which on average gets 2.2 million per month in the UK according to UberSuggsts.

app layout

What Makes An App Popular?

In the interest of fairness and to give both sides of the debate, let’s take a look at what makes apps popular amongst certain businesses and industries.

  • Apps Can Offer Personalisation – Some apps allow users to personalise and experience from the word go. Enabling users to adapt the app to behave in the way they prefer. But, does this increase conversion or distract from calls to action?
  • Utilising Mobile Device Features – Your phones in-built camera, contact lists, GPS, accelerometer and compass can all be used by an app (after permissions have been granted of course). This can make the app fun and quick to use. For example, some banking apps offer users the ability to scan cheques. Mobile-websites can utilise the same features. Some could actually be considerable ranking factors
  • Working Offline (to some degree) – The rudimental difference between apps and websites is that websites can offer some functionality offline. However, advances in caching technology and better mobile internet will close this gap eventually
  • Brand Presence – Until a user deletes the app, apps are good for brand impression and presence as they are always on your phone. However, users tend to have their most used apps the fewest clicks away. The most used apps are social media related

Going Going, Gone - How Apps Die

Users can be ruthless when it comes to freeing up space on their phones. 50.6% of users tend to uninstall apps if they take up too much memory and slow the phone down. According to ITR, users can uninstall apps due to long or complex sign up processes or requesting what is deemed to be unnecessary personal data.

Data also show us that 29.6% of users delete apps due to privacy or security issues, and a massive 71% percent delete because of irritating push notifications or pop ups. If an app happens to crash or freeze a phone just once, 62% of people will uninstall immediately. This is more common than you may think, due to an app having to be fully functional on IOS and Android, which frequently update. Unlike building a website via WordPress that is programmed to respond on all major web browsers.

The Internet Or The App Store?

On average, Google receives 40 thousand searches every second in the UK alone. This amounts to 3.5 billion per day. Whereas there were 250 million daily app downloads between 2019 – 2020. Of those, social media platforms were the most popular. Remember that on average ALL mobile apps lose 77% of daily users within the first three days after download. After thirty days, that number increases to 90%. The majority of users.

This is not to give apps a disservice. For many companies and industries, apps are an excellent investment and can create considerable revenue for developers and businesses.

But, for local businesses needing to stretch the marketing budget, websites can be optimised to be seen by a larger proportion of your target audience for a greater number of search terms.

We feel that the overarching benefit websites offer local businesses is ranking factors and the lack of control users have. For example, a user may decide not to use your site at any one time, but they can’t delete it or even choose to not see it again in the SERPs if they are searching for a business like yours, assuming you have a successful SEO campaign.

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits we feel a website holds over an app. And what makes user experience better on a website.

  • Mobile Websites Are Instantly Available – Websites are now fully optimised for mobile. Meaning users can view your site perfectly on their device. With ever increasing advances in 4G & 5G, accessibility is easier, faster and more secure than ever before
  • Shareability – The vast majority of browsers allow users to quickly share web pages. This is not always the case with apps. If a user thinks the information on a page would be useful to a friend, they can quickly send the link across. If they see that info on an app, they have to recommend you download and use the app. This is more longwinded and requires more commitment

Search4Local, Leading Local Digital Advertising & Web Design Solutions Agency

If you would like further details on our website development services, or any other services, please get in touch with us today. Call us on 01392 409159 or email customerservices@search4local.co.uk.


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