(Want to learn more about how to succeed in mobile marketing?  Please download my free “Secrets to Successful Mobile Marketing” video now)

Brands with limited budgets often ask the question: should I build a mobile site or a mobile app?

Mobile apps are viewed by many designers as to be the optimal way to provide a rich user experience on mobile.

However there are some inherent problems with the mobile app:

The most successful iPhone app which becomes viral enough to be passed to every single user on the iPhone platform will still only reach 7% of the total mobile market.  A mobile website has the potential to reach 100% of mobile web users.

Many iPhone apps require the current version of iOS to run and cannot be used on first-generation iPod touches, which represent 10% of iPhone traffic.  The Android market is equally if not more fragmented.  Once again mobile websites can normally be accessible to everyone.

It may be a myth that users prefer a mobile app.  Research actually shows that most users prefer mobile websites over mobile apps (Adobe, eMarketer, InsightExpress),not to mention that more people use mobile websites than apps

It is extremely difficult to rank your mobile app on Google or Bing.  Having said that, you can optimize your app for the app stores but it requires some specialized knowledge.
Apps help the SEO of iTunes, Android Market, or Blackberry App World but not your website.  A mobile website (even at m.subdomains) can ultimately benefit your rankings for your .com site

Most apps are downloaded once and then […]