Web App or Mobile App? What’s the Best Choice for Your Business

Web App or Mobile App? What’s the Best Choice for Your Business

14 Nov 2022


Michael Signal

Australia is a thriving place for digital startup masterminds. In 2021, startups received funding for over $10 billion, which is three times the amount given in 2020. There has never been a better time to start a digital startup, but to hit the ground running, you need a superior application to help customers engage with your business.

Is your business looking to create a new app or do you have new ideas? If so, you might be wondering if you should make a web app or a mobile app.

Both have their pros and cons, but which one is the best choice? Here’s a look at the differences between web apps and mobile apps, and some tips on deciding which is right for you to implement for your ideas.

Getting Started

Pablo Picasso once said, only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.

Sometimes the hardest part of how to start a digital startup is just that. Getting started!

Before you go down the path of creating a web app or a mobile app, there are a few things that every digital startup must do. These steps will ensure your foundation for success moving forward.

Find a Micro Niche

A micro niche is a way to prevent your digital startup from having large platforms to compete with.

You may look around many digital markets and find large digital platforms these days dominating various tech industries. That is why, for success, you want to consider building success by adding value to a smaller segment of an audience. This small audience will be your digital startup backbone.

Especially for a digital startup that is working on low cash or no cash capital, you must begin with a narrow space. From this narrow space, you want to add a ton of value, building a foundation for growth.

The Blue Ocean Strategy

The base of this strategy is breaking off the trade-off between value and cost. Here, entrepreneurs create new and uncontested markets. Therefore, competition is not relevant, making the startup marketing strategy that much more intriguing.

Digital startups using the blue ocean strategy give end-user customers much more value, and they do so at a lower cost.

Don’t Go All-In Until You Validate Your Digital Startup Ideas

Don’t get caught up with common misconceptions. In a digital economy, two things, while true, may cause enough confusion that your digital startup will fail.

First, people think that a digital world means you can talk to everyone, so you want to talk with everyone. Plus, if you can talk to everyone, you can literally get everyone to do business with you.

Second, since you do not need capital to start, you will want to test everything. Testing everything will generate the best results.

Unfortunately, for these two facts, they are best suited for businesses that are established, with a powerful R&D budget, marketing, and distribution networks. If you are just starting a digital startup from scratch, you will probably be unsuccessful in this arena, at least only in the beginning.

Create a Business Model

This is your framework. It is how your digital startup can systematically unlock long-term value. At the same time, you can deliver value to customers, through monetization strategies, capturing value.

Business models are holistic frameworks. They serve to design, test, and understand your marketplace business assumptions.

It’s a lot like why a scientist will use a laboratory. They use their lab to experiment and test their hypothesis. In the same way, entrepreneurs test their business ideas in real-time with business model experiments.

Before going all-in, it is important to validate your digital startup ideas. This includes your mobile app design and digital startup website. You want to see if your niche market responds well to your business model.

Build an Audience

If you are just starting out, it is important that your first customers come from a niche market. This will allow for more accurate data when testing the waters with new digital product ideas – which we’ll talk about next!

You can generate traffic to a Facebook Group, blog, newsletter, etc. With this traffic, you will want to test who would be willing to pay for your web or mobile app. This leads to the next point of discussion, which is revenue modelling.

Revenue Modelling

Within a business model design, revenue modelling is a process that has the goal of achieving revenue growth. When you are working from scratch, it helps to better understand what options you have available to you.

Growth and Traction

The process of rapid experimentation is what entrepreneurs refer to as growth hacking. It combines the entire funnel, which includes data analysis, marketing, product, and engineering. They all work cohesively to achieve rapid growth.

There are four key stages for the growth hacking process.

  1.   Analysing
  2.   Ideating
  3.   Prioritising
  4.   Testing
Growth And Traction
Growth And Traction

Once you validate your idea, you could use the framework for growth hacking to speed up your growth.

Create Options to Scale

Starting a digital startup from a micro niche is like building a solid foundation, so you can build a high rise above it. As you dominate your micro-niche, you can scale, or continue to build floors above. The goal is to raise the roof, creating options for key customers!

This leads to the next point, why bootstrapping is a critical component of how to successfully start a digital startup.


Generally, bootstrapping works in a self-starting manner. It proceeds without external input.

In terms of business practice, you are financing the growth of your digital startup without financing. Instead, you use already available cash flows that stream in from an already viable business model.

Need for Web App Design

Building a web app design can be a fun and exciting process. You get to use your creativity and technical skills to create a unique product that meets the needs of your users.

There are many different aspects of web app design, from creating user flows and wireframes to designing the user interface and coding the back end. It’s important to have a good understanding of all these areas in order to create a well-rounded and successful app.

Web vs. Mobile Apps

Before discussing the pros and cons of both, to further simplify your options, here is a brief definition of both.

Mobile app development is specific to mobile devices. This includes phones and tablets. At times, a mobile app can work in conjunction with other features already installed on a smartphone, like GPS.

Then, there is a web application, which is designed for users to access with a browser. Web apps are custom coded and could be saved to a home screen to make things easier. It saves like a shortcut on a desktop but will still open in a browser.

Pros and Cons of Mobile App Design

When developers create a mobile application, it must be specific to the operating system. Each mobile device has native functionality, which gives each operating system unique capabilities.

These days, digital startups can benefit from mobile app designs increasingly made in cross-platform languages. Flutter and React allow for one codebase which can support both iOS and Android platforms. Although, mobile apps can be more expensive in general to develop, versus developing a web app.

Here is everything you wish to know about building a mobile app for your digital startup.

Mobile App Pros

To begin, mobile app design offers speed and performance, because it leverages the phone’s built-in features. This includes features like its microphone, camera, and location services. That is why mobile apps typically work faster.

Another pleasant feature is that when you can use a native feature from your smartphone or tablet, the user experience feels more seamless. If you think about it, taking a photo from your phone seems more natural than having to take an image with a desktop computer or laptop.

Further, local databases host mobile applications. This way, you get fast speeds consistently.

Options for Marketing

Mobile apps are excellent tools to include in your digital startup marketing strategy because there are tons of ways to monetize it. With lots of options at your fingertips, you have a better opportunity to find a marketing strategy that fits your micro niche.

Personalised Experience

Customers will respond better to any application that offers personalisation, as if it was made with only them in mind. It can make it easier for a customer to make a buying decision when they have relevant products and services at their fingertips. This can excite your customers, which gets your customers to bond with your app emotionally.

Mobile apps can give you tremendous insight into user behaviour, including people’s interests, geography, language, etc. This is how you can deliver a delightful experience to create “sticky” customers.

Offline Access

Mobile apps have the flexibility to offer offline access. This means that once the user downloads your mobile app, it is not dependent on Wi-Fi. There are tremendous benefits for your customers to continue to add and save data to your mobile app even while out of cell service or not connected to Wi-Fi.

Targeting a Wider Audience

Customers today are more demanding with digital technology, offering more and more ways to make things convenient for them. That is why it is a lot like a requirement for businesses to have a mobile app, anyway. Your customers will want to do business with you while visiting your mobile app.

Push Notification for Reengagement

A significant benefit of having a mobile app design is that you can allow for push notifications. Certain actions by the user are what will trigger the alert. For instance, if a user has not engaged with your mobile app for a while and it seems to go stale, you can use push notifications to get noticed.

Between gentle reminders and having your mobile app icon showing on a user’s mobile screen, this helps with brand recognition and reminding them to engage with you. Otherwise, you could fall off their radar completely and never regain their business.

Mobile App Cons

Mobile apps require maintenance. There will always be a need to provide customers with updates, which will fix security issues, bug fixes, and more. Compared to a web application, mobile app design required more updates for keeping their code clean.

Large Apps Take More Storage Space

The more complex or robust your mobile app is, the more storage space the end user will need so that they can download your app. If you have customers with smartphones that have a limit on their space, then your mobile app could end up on the chopping block if the end user must free up space on their phone.

Download Required

The Apple App Store and Google Play Store have millions of apps. With so much competition, if you cannot achieve fantastic organic search results, your mobile app could be hard to find.

Sharing Profits with App Store

It costs money to list your mobile application with the app store. It is $99 for the year to list with Apple.

For all in-app purchases, Apple earns a 15% commission, until a cap of where you earn one million dollars. After one million dollars, Apple jumps its commission to 30%.

The Google Play store is similar. It has one difference, which is that it is a one-time fee of $25. After that, it follows Apple’s same commission structure.

Pros and Cons of a Web Application

Unlike a mobile app design, a web application is a responsive website, so it looks nice on any device when a browser is launched, regardless of if it is a desktop or mobile device. Since a web app design relies on a browser to work, it also relies on the machine’s operating system. That makes web applications more cost-effective and faster to design.

Web App Pros

It does not matter what operating system a user has with a web app, unlike a mobile app design. A web app works on many devices through a browser. When you take away these boundaries, you get a wider audience and can cast your net over a bigger user base.

Updates Are Simpler

The common code base for your web app will need updates from time to time. It is simpler for a developer to make the changes and push it to the server quickly, making the updates instantaneously visible on all devices accessing it.

Further, web apps will usually not make it so that a user cannot use the web app. With a mobile app, however, an update could make it so that a mobile operating system prevents the mobile app from functioning at all.

Rank on Search Engines

An important part of building your digital startup quickly is to have good SEO or search engine optimization. This way, anyone could find your solution. When people have questions, they look to search engines, like Google, for answers.

If you have a web application that is specific to what someone is searching for, the chances are much higher that you will list in their search results over a mobile app. Beyond basic SEO terms, you could enhance your web app and beef up your SEO strategy to rank higher. A web app offers ample opportunity to manipulate your organic search results.

Cost Effective

Web apps require less development work and less development time to create. Therefore, they are less expensive. The biggest reason for the lower cost is that developers only need to create one version, versus multiple versions, to function on all operating systems.

No Download Requirement

A user can click into a web app and click out whenever they wish to. While downloading a mobile app is simple, it still requires a bit more of the user in terms of time and space requirement than a web app does.

Digital customers want things fast because that is the way the market is shifting. The more you ask someone to invest in your app, the higher the chances are of losing them. Since a web app does not require the user to download anything, it is easier to get a curious mind to come and peruse what it is that your digital startup offers.

Web App Cons

With a web app, the tricky part is that while it has many significant benefits, it still has less integration with the functions of the device it launches on. This includes features like the camera and location services that a mobile device gives a customer. Because a web application is not native to the device operating system, it makes it difficult to access features of an operating system, too.

Slower in Speed

Web browsers can vary. These variations can cause challenges for the user. Since a web application is not running on a local server as it does with a mobile app, it can move slower.

A slow-moving browser can directly affect the user’s experience with your web app.

Not Available Offline

Web apps need the Internet to work. That means if your device does not have Wi-Fi or Cell access, the web app is not available to the user. Also, users could run out of data, or be out of cell range with no signal, so they cannot access your web application when they need it.

No Access from Google Play or App Store

Google Play and the App Store are marketplaces that help users to find your application. However, a web app is not in either market. This could mean that you are losing out on opportunities for customers to discover you and your digital startup brand.

Safety and Security

Mobile apps have high expectations from the app stores. They must adhere to their standards for inclusion. Web apps do not have such a vetting and approval process.

What happens is that a web application may not be secure. This makes it easier for cybercriminals to attack and steal sensitive data. Anytime you incur a data breach, and your audience knows about it, it will reflect poorly on your brand, and may even put you out of business.

Web vs. Mobile Apps: What Is a Better Startup Marketing Strategy?

It largely depends on what your goals are and what your customers’ needs are. Do they need the native functionality of a mobile app, like the camera or maps? Also, is speed important?

Remember that a mobile app will work even when it is not connected to the Internet. Your customers can interact with a mobile application no matter where they are or what they are doing.

However, a beautifully designed digital startup website is likely the better option for an organisation on a tight budget until you have time to grow and build a profitable customer base. Plus, you can leverage keywords to attract more customers quickly, and help you grow the business.

A digital startup is a lot like a marathon. It’s not a sprint. No matter how you start, you can still plan for the long journey ahead.

Start a Digital Startup

It is an exciting time when you start a digital startup, but you also have your hands full and lots of decisions to make. The professionals at EB Pearls get it. They understand how to turn adversity into a success!

A mobile app, web app, or both, are a must. Do you need both, and if not, web vs. mobile apps, which will work better to help you launch your startup?

Since 2004, EB Pearls has been helping digital startups build a foundation for thriving with both mobile apps and web apps. We can help you understand which option is best for your organisation.

Contact EB Pearls today and let’s make your digital startup dreams a reality.


Michael is the creative brains of the company and he leads the UX and UI team at EB Pearls. He has experience of over 20 years in interaction design and have designed digital products for Fortune 50 companies all over the world.

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“We’re very happy with the results of EB Pearls’ work. Since its launch, the app has had over 7,000 downloads, with around 6,000 users completing the signup process in the first 6 weeks. ”

Giuseppe Saffioti
Giuseppe Saffioti

— Founder at Intro Dating