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Community Building on Mobile Web vs App

mobile apps for community building.

There are pros and cons to both mobile web and mobile app when it comes to building a community. Which one is better for your business depends on your specific goals. When you’re looking to create a strong brand identity and connect with customers on a deeper level, a mobile app is the way to go. However, when you’re more interested in driving traffic to your website and increasing sales, than mobile web is the better option.

Why you’ve never heard of brand building from an e-commerce app.

Since the introduction of Facebook and the takeover of web2, few brands have even tried to build brand loyalty and community through their owned channels. “Why try to bring them to me when I can just go to them?” Well, because it’s really expensive. And it’s only getting more expensive every day. 

You’ve probably noticed there aren’t a lot of Fortune 500 brands that have successfully accelerated their brands on mobile apps. With the exception of, say, Nike, in 2020. That’s because until then, it was nearly impossible for emerging brands to be able to afford a mobile app. Until mobile commerce app builders like Plobal Apps came onto the scene. They give brands outside the Fortune 100 a fighting chance at customer retention and community building, with push notifications.

In the early aughts, brands like Redbull, Samsung, and even the queen commerce bee, Shopify, all tried to build their own media houses to increase their brand loyalty. But all they ended up gaining was a dent in their profits. How do I know this? I was one of the poor fools tasked with building out these plans at my last job in media consulting.

They didn’t work, and the reason they didn’t work? They didn’t have the distribution. Now that you can get a mobile app for your brand in a few weeks, and get millions of downloads organically, there’s a whole new world out there for emerging brands to take advantage of.

Now that your e-commerce brand is building a mobile app, why don’t you try community building where you already have their eyeballs for free?  

The benefits of having a mobile web presence

The mobile web is important for any business, but especially e-commerce businesses. In 2020, over 60% of all web traffic came from mobile devices, and that number is only going to increase in the coming years.

A mobile app is great for keeping customers engaged and building a community, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of mobile presence. A strong mobile web presence is still essential for any business that wants to be found on Google.

A mobile app is a great tool for building a community, but it’s not the only tool in your arsenal. A strong mobile web presence is still a vital part of your overall mobile commerce strategy.

Community building with push notifications from your mobile app.

The benefits of having a mobile app presence

A mobile app is considered one of the best ways to grow sales and customer retention, especially in the e-commerce world. According to Shopify, mobile commerce controls 73% of the global e-commerce market of $13 Trillion, which is expected to reach $55.6 Trillion by 2027. And when customers shop through your app, they’re 20% more likely to return, increasing LTV and reducing CAC. But, community building? How are brands using mobile apps to do that?

Push Notifications.

Customers who shop in-app spend more and buy more frequently. This is largely due to the performance of push notifications. Push notifications send customized messages, directly to your customers’ phones. 90% of customers who download apps, allow push notifications. That’s 4x the sign-up rate of email and SMS combined. So with a captive audience, that receives notifications on their phone’s home screens, why wouldn’t you tell them about your latest blog or share a giveaway?

Content Mapping

No one likes being spammed, so content planning and medium mapping is essential to building a brand. With a mobile app, you can use your push notifications and sign on screens as a way to build trust and loyalty with your customers. Push notifications with suggested articles and products show your customers you know what they like.

Community building with suggested items from your app.

Creating Network Effects

By adding a rewards program to your shopping experience, you create an incentive for customers to come back to your store. If you’re a Shopify store owner, there are many trusted apps that can manage this for your store and integrate across all your channels.

*Quick tip: Try adding additional rewards, cash back, or even exclusive products for customers who share your app’s download link.

How to decide which is better for your business

ISSmetrics did a study that found that the average person spends 177 minutes on their phone every day. That’s more time than most people spend eating or drinking every day.

With numbers like that, it’s hard to deny that both mobile web and mobile app experiences are important for e-commerce businesses. The best way to determine which is right for you is to know where your customers are engaging with your brand already. Here’s a list of important engagement data you should track:

  • Time in-app or on-site.
  • Stickiness (DAU/MAU)
  • App downloads
  • Engagement (session length, number of screens per session)
  • Churn rate
  • Traffic sources (organic, paid, social, app)

Key factors to consider when making your decision

There’s only one thing that matters for your brand and that’s how much it’s going to cost you to grow and focus on where it costs the least. Do keep in mind though, that cost doesn’t just mean dollars spent, it’s also time and effort spent. Here are some key factors to consider when developing your brand loyalty strategy:

  1. Your business type: If you’re an e-commerce business, you’ll likely need both a mobile app and a mobile web experience. If you have a physical product, you might be able to get
  2. Your content capabilities: If you’ve got a marketing team, producing relevant content for your customers you can share it everywhere, including both your mobile app and your site. If you’re a small team stretched thin, it might make sense to only focus on where you’re most efficient in growth.
  3. Industry trends: When TikTok launched, almost no brands were on it. Now they’re all scrambling to build a community and paying influencers a LOT to help. That is, other than the brands that got in early. They were able to organically grow their audience before all the noise started from their competition.

And, with a new medium like mobile apps for e-commerce brands, your app could be the next untapped tool to become your best community building.

Final thoughts

I hope this article helped clear some things up for you when it comes to the mobile web vs mobile app debate. In the end, it really boils down to what’s going to work best for your brand and where you can be most efficient in growth.

If you’re not sure which is right for you, consider consulting with a mobile marketing expert. They can help you assess your needs and develop a plan that will work best for your business.

Build a powerful mobile app strategy with Plobal Apps.

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