The mobile market has been a growing force in marketing investment for a while now. However, there’s been a schism of sorts in recent years. With the advent of mobile apps downloadable to people’s phones, marketing companies now have to wonder if they want to invest their marketing in mobile web, or mobile apps.
Both sides have their pros and cons, but does one outweigh the other? Whether it be brand recognition, following the money, or playing the long game, there are many reasons to invest in one or the other. The logical thing to do is to list the major pros and cons of both, and let your company’s unique situation decide which side to pick.
Mobile web pros
Diversity: For the time being, there are still exponentially more websites than there are apps on mobile devices. Because of this, there are many websites with untapped audiences, either because they don’t have or don’t need a mobile app to support themselves. This way, you’ll potentially reach a much more varied and diverse audience, than the mobile app avenue.
There’s a standard ad format: One hurdle that in-app marketing has yet to get over is its difficulty in attaining a true standard for its ad formatting. Whilst mobile apps rely on platform standard formats, they don’t work on every device. Mobile websites have a standard format for their ads, which work on all kinds of devices.
Mobile web cons
Ad Block: Ad blocking software is getting more and more popular by the day, and doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. And when the customer does not see the ad, that means the site/video/banner creator doesn’t get any ad revenue (which is why so many professional YouTubers plead their audience to turn theirs off). It also means you miss a potential customer. Mobile apps don’t have this problem, so there’s an obvious advantage.
Ad Fraud: The biggest problem of them all, however, is ad fraud. Whilst mobile apps barely have this problem, if at all, mobile websites are being hit hard. Neither the site or the company being frauded get a cent, and the scam artist typically gets away scot-free.
Mobile app pros
It’s where the money is: Apps are hot in the mobile market, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. It’s where the consumer is, so if that’s your marketing strategy, apps are where you want to be.
Ads are more tolerated: No one pays attention to banner ads, and ads before videos are an annoyance to most folks. But apps offer marketing companies the creativity to make ads that people will love.
Mobile app cons
Brand domination: If the app you’re advertising on isn’t YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram, you’re unlikely to see that money back. Advertising on apps means allocating a portion of that advertising to one of the big five apps on the market, just to make sure that people see your brand.
Format scaling: Apps like to do things their own way, and that includes how ads are formatted. While there are systems to help you out with this, you will have to alter the scale of your ad to some degree regardless, potentially destroying the message of your ad.
Ultimately, which side you invest in depends on what you’re equipped to handle. If your ads can cater to the format of another app effectively, and you don’t mind shilling to five specific brands, then apps are a very good option. However, if you want to reach a more diverse audience and are ready to take on the ad frauds and ad blockers, then websites are also a potentially profitable option.
Hello, my name is Nick Cotton and I am the content editor at Websites that Sell, a marketing strategy firm located in Brisbane, Australia. I have been in the content writing industry for 6+ years and specialise in digital marketing.