As mobile continues to outpace desktop in both online and offline usage, apps continue to become more essential for digital marketing. On its app, a company can go beyond displaying its products, as it can on its website; it can create interactive features, even games, to deepen the user experience.
Of course, developing an app is a major undertaking. Choosing the right system (iOS or Android) is only one of the many considerations essential to making the app a success. But there's an alternative that is only beginning to gather steam, but offers considerable advantages for businesses looking to enter the app market: the web app.
What is a Web App?
PC Mag defines a web app as
An application in which all or some parts of the software are downloaded from the Web each time it is run. It may refer to browser-based apps that run within the user's Web browser, or to "rich client" desktop apps that do not use a browser or to mobile apps that access the Web for additional information.
In other words, it's an application that doesn't require a download from an app store like Google Play or the Apple alternative. In most cases, the term refers to an app entirely based on a browser like Chrome or Firefox. Stored in its entirety online, this type of web app brings with it several significant advantages:
1) System Flexibility
If your company already uses a "traditional" mobile app in its marketing, you'll be familiar with the distinctions between Android and iOS app, not to mention the Windows alternative. Essentially, you'll have to create variants of your app for each system, which increases both the effort and cost of its development. On the other hand, a browser-based web app can run on every mobile and desktop operating system - making it much more flexible than its Android and iOS counterparts.
2) Saving Space
Of course, Android and iOS apps can also take up significant space on a user's device. In 2012, the average size of an app was over 20 megabytes, with games skewing larger, and that number has only grown since. Mobile users looking to make space on their limited hard drive increasingly delete apps they aren't frequently using, or thinking twice before installing new ones.
Web apps, on the other hand, take up much less space. Everything is stored online, meaning that as long as you have an internet connection, you can use the same features and access the same information while needing only a fraction of the space. As a result, your app is much less likely to be deleted from a user's device.
3) Cost Effectiveness
Of course, developing a web app is also more cost-effective than its space-eating counterparts. We already touched on the significant savings of not needing to develop it for multiple devices. But listing it on the app store itself costs money as well: listing an app on Apple's App Store currently costs $99.
That may not seem like a lot to some businesses, but duplicate that cost for all major app stores and it makes up a significant chunk of a small business's marketing budget. Web apps don't need to be listed on an app store; instead, they are freely available for anyone with a browser and freely available via a URL.
Finally, web apps can be tailored directly to the unique needs of your company and audience. Instead of being hampered by OS or cost restraints, a custom web app can focus fully on your desired audience, ensuring a perfect fit for their needs. Because that audience doesn't have to download the app, they can simply access it as soon as they think of or have a need for your company's services. That, in addition to their flexibility and cost-effectiveness, makes web apps so attractive in today's market place.
Intrigued? Then don't hesitate! Contact us to find out how you can get a custom web app to enhance your company's marketing efforts.