Build Apps or Mobile Sites?

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Lots of marketers we talk to have been dabbling in building apps for consumers for a few years and none of them report to us that they’ve had any real success.  On the other hand, marketers who are building mobile sites using HTML5 are very pleased with the results.  Here’s a great report from that explains why HTML5 is better than apps.

 They think HTML5 will win and here’s why,

  • Distribution: Native apps are distributed through app stores and markets controlled by the owners of the platforms. HTML5 is distributed through the rules of the open web: the link economy.
  • Monetization: Native apps come with one-click purchase options built into mobile platforms. HTML5 apps will tend to be monetized more through advertising, because payments will be less user-friendly.
  • Platform power and network effects: Developers have to conform with Apple’s rules. Apple’s market share, meanwhile, creates network effects and lock-in. If and when developers can build excellent iPhone and iPad functionality on the web using HTML5, developers can cut Apple out of the loop. This will reduce the network effects of Apple’s platform.
  • Functionality: Right now, native apps can do a lot more than HTML5 apps. HTML5 apps will get better, but not as fast as some HTML5 advocates think.

We agree.

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