HomeTechnologyNewsWhy do websites always want you to use their apps?

Why do websites always want you to use their apps?

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If you’re browsing the web on your phone, you’ve almost certainly seen messages asking you to install an app. It seems strange to build a good mobile-friendly website only to beg people to use an app instead. Why is that?

Beyond the fact that it’s usually annoying to be bombarded with ads when you visit a site, the question arises as to why. Aren’t they proud of the mobile site experience? There are a few reasons why the website owner benefits if he uses the app.

Native apps feel better

One thing that seems certain, regardless of which platform you use, is that native apps feel better on phones. Mobile browsers have gotten really cool, but a native app will generally be faster and easier to navigate.

Native apps can better integrate with system features. The menus and navigation buttons may match what you’re used to in other apps. A mobile site will generally look the same on iPhone and Android, but apps can be further customized for the platform.

Website owners want the experience to be as painless as possible, which is why you keep coming back. That’s why they try to get you to use what they think is the best option. (However, I have to wonder how the people who work on the mobile site feel about it.)

Apps bring you back

Another thing native apps are better at is notifications, and notifications are important to keep users coming back to your app. Mobile sites can also send notifications through the browser, but most people opt out when given the option.

Android, in particular, used to make it very easy for apps to send notifications. Users had to go out of their way to turn them off, which led to a lot of unwanted notifications. That issue has been fixed in the latest versions of Android, but people are generally more inclined to allow notifications in apps than on websites.

Apps are also easier to place on the home screen than mobile website shortcuts. Having the app icon on your home screen will make it much more likely that you’ll open it again. That’s the ultimate goal: to keep you coming back again and again.

RELATED: How to stop annoying website notifications in Chrome on Android

More user information for advertisers

Unsurprisingly, advertisers also play a role in websites promoting apps. Different information can be collected in a native app compared to a website.

When you browse the web, your data is collected through cookies. Information such as browsing history and user preferences is tracked. However, apps have access to anonymous demographic and location data, which is even more valuable to advertisers.

Of course, whether you use the mobile site or the app, your usage is tracked and advertisers learn about you. But your browser may have some built-in ad and tracker blocking features that are not present in the site app.

RELATED: What is a browser cookie?

Do users really prefer apps?

The big question is which users prefer: website or app? There is some evidence that pestering people to install an app may not be necessary to drive activity and engagement.

In 2016, Google highlighted the results of Flipkart’s shift from a native app-only approach to a Progressive Web App (PWA), which can work online and have an icon on the home screen, like a native app. Users drastically preferred using the web app over the native app.

Users spent three times as much time on the web app as on the native app. There was a 40% higher re-engagement rate and a 70% higher conversion rate for people who added a site shortcut to their home screen. And, very interesting, the web application used three times less data.

That’s just one example, but with how good mobile browsers and websites have been, especially with Progressive Web Apps, it seems like native apps have never been less necessary. So please stop bothering us with it.

RELATED: What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?

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