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The difference between a mobile website and a mobile app

As a housewife, terrified that my children will think I am a technological weakling, I recently started building apps.  I am proud to say that at SNAPP we now have 10 apps in store and have achieved our 2013 goal.

That might not sound like a lot to you but wow what a learning curve. Think about what needs to be done to get a book in store, never mind an app.

There are a lot of ducks you need to get in a row to get your first app in store.  We do have an article posted on the SNAPP site entitled our TOP FIVE tips and resources that you will need to build your first app – hint you do not need to know how to program or write code.  Even though you do not need to know how to write code you will have to be able to project manage the finer details of your projects.

There is no question that mobile is the fastest on-line growing space. On the 11th July 2013 Apple stated that the app store which started with 500 apps has now over 900 000 apps in store.  The development of the app store has been singularly responsible for leading the mobile boom and ushering in the end of the PC era.  Smartphones and tablets abound.

One of the questions most often asked by our clients as what is the difference between a mobile app and a mobile website.  Why build an app in the first place?

A mobile website is similar to any other website in that it consists of a browser based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed on a hand held device or tablet. One clear characteristic is that the site can be accessed from many different hardware devices of varying sizes, which accommodate the screen size and display correctly without chopping off images or details in the content.

The obvious characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface. One clear characteristic is that you need Internet access to be able to access the mobile website.

A mobile app on the other hand is downloaded from an on-line store such as Google Play or the Apple app store and is saved onto the smartphone or tablet. In most cases, to use it therefore you do not need an Internet connection to make it work.

An app is typically for repeated or frequent use such as a banking app or one that contains useful information such as a directory app. A conference app falls into this category as it can list the speakers (with their contact details for later reference or contact) and sponsors details conveniently stored in your pocket as opposed to the realms of paper traditionally given out at registration.

The Green Business Guide app is our most recent directory app, and which includes daily news updates, green events, and green jobs as well as short podcasts on saving energy.

East Cape Tours lists adventure self-drive, safari honeymoon and African packages in and around the Cape.  The IFES (International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services) app is the latest conference app built by SNAPP.

Typically an app addresses a specific need, whilst increasing customer loyalty.

Take for example the Coffee Culture app, we recently upgraded to version 2.0, shows you all the coffee shops in your vicinity for South Africa (using the phones GPS facility).  The menus are displayed for each shop, so you can browse what you want for breakfast.

Using the QR scanner within the app, your loyalty cup for each shop literally fills-up as you get closer to your target free cuppa – an electronic loyalty plan that you will not loose as you always have your phone on you. The coffee shops themselves can send a push notification to their specific clientele with any specials they may have.

Just yesterday I heard of an app developed by a funeral home – the GPS function shows mourners exactly there the gravesite is, the Church service program can be downloaded and messages of condolences can be sent directly to the family. Clever use of an app, for a specific problem – people not being able to find the gravesite.

Here are some of the benefits of Mobile apps

  1. More features – Mobile apps will give you unlimited access to the phones features such as the camera, GPS capabilities, microphone if you are playing back podcasts whilst a mobile website will not give you access to these features.
  2. Less Internet restrictions – Mobile apps, once downloaded do not need internet access, whilst mobile websites require, often expensive, connections via 3G, 4G LTE or wi-fi access.
  3. Speed – mobile apps have the ability, if built correctly to run a lot faster than mobile websites.
  4. Better optimization – Apps are better optimized for mobile devices and are often made specifically for mobile so are designed with this in mind – you will find a lot of thought goes into the use and flow of an app.  A Mobile website is designed for a computer screen with the ability to be re-worked for mobile screens and tablets.
  5. Monetization – It is much easier to monetize a mobile app than a mobile website – this can be done with in-app advertising and in-app purchases.  A company wanting to advertise on an app will also need some statistics of users and databases for them to calculate their return on investment.
  6. Perception – Users typically perceive an app as being more superior to websites – simply because they are convenient, easy to browse, faster and there is generally a better user experience associated with apps over mobile websites.

So in conclusion, not all businesses need an app, only certain ones will benefit  – such as directories, companies with on-line inventories (car dealerships, estate agents), or a social presence etc.  Should your customer simply want to share a large amount of content across a wide audience then some consideration should be given to rather building a mobile website than an app.  A website is also easily searchable across many platforms.

If you or your customer has a specific need or problem that can be solved by an app then consider diving in and starting out on the journey to build your own app as we did at SNAPP.

Ten reasons to buy a SnAPP app


1)   Analytics and tracking

With our apps you are left with a full dashboard that will allow you to update your app from time to time (if there is a new event for example) and to be able to see how many downloads have been on each of the Apple or Android platforms. This means you are in control and do not need to pay an extra IT person to manage your success.


2)   Built in South Africa

The apps are built here in South Africa meaning you have support and back up on your doorstep.  Most apps are made in either the USA or India and these time zones make talking to someone about a small change difficult. SnAPP is but a phone call away. We will also visit you and work with you through out the design phase where necessary and possible.



3)   Push Notifications

Throughout the duration of your sign up with SnAPP you will have the ability to send push notifications to all your customers who have downloaded the app for free and an unlimited amount of times – within reason as you do not want to bother and annoy them.


4)   Build Brand Loyalty

With the app and ability to update daily, as well as the integration facilities, loyalty programs available, and social media links you can easily engender and build brand loyalty with your customer base.


5)   GPS directions

These days people are on the move.  Map books and yellow pages are left in the office. Our app’s allow your customers to locate you and get directions from their point of reference right to your front door!


6)   Social Medial integration

Every smart Company and brand has a social media presence. Integration of your app with these platforms is literally done with the click of a button.


7)   Ten keywords for the stores

Heard of Google Adwords – these are keywords that people use to search in the search engines and they cost money – depending on the keyword it can be as much as R 40 a click. With our app you get to select 10 keywords that people can use to search for your app in the stores – for free.


8)    Impulse purchasing

Purchasing anything you may have to sell on an app or even the app itself is called an “impulse purchase”. This is like the chocolates that the retails stores put at eye level with the shopping cart full of kids.  The Apple and Android stores are the biggest repository of credit card details in the world and they make it easy to spend 99c or 4.99 on a small item – hence the term impulse buy.


9)   On-line shopping cart

Our app has the ability for us to integrate a shopping cart for your products from within the app itself.  Your customers are tempted even further by the ease to make that sale you are looking for.


10)                   Taylored to your needs

Lastly we can add and remove any of the features available and build an app specific to your needs and interests with the aim of bringing more traffic though your door or making more sales as the bottom line.

What kind of businesses need App’s


What kind of businesses need App’s?


In this day and age, when the advertising and marketing budgets have been slashed, marketing departments are more accountable for their spend, metrics from websites are more readily available than from the print media, on-line distribution costs are cheaper, social media managers are being appointed within the teams, one needs to ask what kind of businesses would benefit from having an App.


The truth is, not every business needs an app.


This is especially true for service type industries.  As an example why would an electrician need
an app?
If a household has an electrical short in their home they would be unlikely to whip out
a smart –phone looking for an app.

A school in the local area is unlikely to get one more booking to fill the Grade 3 class because of an app that the school had.


So what we at SnAPP am saying is that using apps as BUSINESS CARDS
isn’t that beneficial.


However, when deciding what movie to go an adult would not be surprised to watch the children quickly whip put their smart-phones or I pad and tell you what is showing in the closest Nu Metro cinema’s, what time and which seats are still available. In fact you can make the bookings from within these app’s these days.


So in the end, it’s up to each individual company to decide if it is appropriate to develope and app or not, but
these are the businesses that could
easily BENEFIT from an app:


A) Businesses with a social atmosphere

B) Businesses with an event calendar

C) Businesses that keep on-line inventory





Bars, restaurants, etc, get tons of repeat
customers and also have MENUS.  That’s
a great reason to get an app.  Plus they
typically have bands/functions, specials and strong social media followings, which can be supplemented by the app. People really have a strong social attachment
to bars and restaurants.  Push notifications which have a 98% opening rate mean you can advertise a half price cocktail to the customer base on the way home on a Friday night – something that an email would not achieve with it’s 4% opening rate!




Every single movie theater, playhouse, opera,
hotel with conference rooms, bars, nightclub,
stadium, sports team (big or small), arena
and event center SHOULD have an app…
and  they all WILL have an app in the next
few years.




Another big market that needs apps is people
car dealerships, collectibles shops (comics,
baseball cards, etc), clothing stores, real estate for sale, details of tour inventories etc.

Basically in this case the app is a
bookmark.  So people can check their inventory
quickly on the go.It’s good for repeat business and this app helps keep those customers loyal.



South African App market

There are millions (and millions) of smartphones in South Africa. And growth is accelerating.

Vodacom’s latest financial results disclose some interesting numbers:

  • Between April and June, it added 406 000 smartphones
  • 70 percent of smartphones sold in the quarter were BlackBerry
  • As of 30 June, there are 3.7-million active smartphones on its network
  • 33 percent of its smartphone subscribers use data bundles

MTN, the second-largest network in the country, has 2.6-million smartphones on its network at the end of June. And Cell C, latecomer to the BlackBerry party, has over 100 000 BlackBerry customers.

That’s a total of 6.5-million (adding in 8ta and other smartphones on Cell C’s network). And remember, these numbers are all dated. We’re already at the end of September!

In the absence of any official figures, and based on some conversations with senior executives in the industry, here are a few (very) educated guesstimates for this market as of September 2011:

  • There are over 2 million BlackBerrys
  • About 2-million Android devices
  • A good many devices running Samsung’s Bada OS and
  • Around 250 000 iPhones in South Africa.

Nokia too is still a massive contender with its N-series and E-series devices, popular among business users. It still has a big installed base (well over a million).

So, 6.5-million smartphones. By the end of this month, that number will be around 8 million. In September last year there were fewer than half of that.

Let me repeat that: The number of smartphones in South Africa has more than doubled over the past 12 months.

Yes, the first thing we do on our new smartphones is install Facebook, Twitter, a few news apps, maybe a game or three…

But where are the great local South African apps?

Nokia has been the leader in sourcing, highlighting and growing local content for its Ovi (now called Nokia) Store. Sure, some of the drivers of the other platforms in this market are starting to commission local content, but there’s just not enough innovation happening.

Corporates are hiring agencies and development houses to build apps, but this is largely a box that the marketing department wants to tick, rather than something that offers a solution or attraction to customers.

Vodacom has launched an app store (piggybacking on what parent Vodafone offers in other global markets) and MTN is building an ambitious app store for its markets across Africa and the Middle East. But, despite what they might think, operator-run app stores are not the logical place to find apps.

Where are the slick, innovative, really great apps for the iTunes App Store, for the Android Market, for BlackBerry App World (and the soon-to-be-very-relevant Windows Marketplace)?

The new SuperSport App for the iPad is a step in the right direction. So too FNB’s Banking Appavailable for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices.

Let’s stop with the rehashed, stripped-down webpages that barely pass as an app.

Don’t tell me the market is too small.

If you cannot build a business (or a business case if you’re in a corporate) with a potential customer base of 8-million, then you shouldn’t be in business. That number will be 10-million by the time your app reaches the market.

And I haven’t even mentioned tablets.

 Source: With millions of Smartphones in South Africa where are all the App’s and article written by columnist Hilton Tarrant