Native vs. Web Apps: The Good & The Bad

Gw 3

You’d be forgiven for thinking there’s no real difference between your downloaded app and the one in your browser. It’s as simple to shop just as it is to book a hotel, and likewise that theme is common amongst video games and pretty much everything else. In fact in just about any industry the differences in capabilities between the two are tightening incredibly.

However, there is still enough there to take note on the subtle differences that can make one more useful – and in many cases more enjoyable – than the other.

Of course native apps leave you very limited in terms of device. A business or developer has to tailor an app for a specific platform. And then a user needs the encouragement to download it. Often this isn’t hard. Take the betting industry for example.

In the UK alone, 4.3% of iPhone users have a betting app on their phone with that number expected to rise in the very near future. But that’s because of the incentives attached. At British bookmaker William Hill, they added a ‘Cash In My Bet’ option which has returned nearly £90million to almost 400,000 punters since the end of 2012.

That has since made its way to the web-based format, but for a punter simply loading up an app is much simpler than loading your browser and typing in a web address.

Gw 2

For a developer it is much more cost effective to have a web app as well as easier to maintain and has potential to reach a much wider audience across numerous devices, and the future could see that expand further.

We’re currently living in a multi-screen world, a world where second-screen betting is a huge phenomenon. Brands are likely to communicate with punters across a variety of touch points. Nadav Linden, Head of Affiliation at William Hill Online spoke of their offerings in a talking mobile discussion with

He said, “We look to offer the same features to all our punters, whatever device they’re betting through. Where I can see divergence is in taking advantage of iOS or Android specific features which can really enrich the experience beyond web.”

It’s likely that native apps will always be ahead slightly of the game because of that ability to tailor. For bigger businesses that is the way to go, it offers more security for users and a unique experience specific to their device. The ability to send push notifications is also an option that has already taken native apps beyond web apps, and until they catch up, the subtleties will keep people downloading for a long time to come. 

More on Geekweek


Sign in to comment with your TypePad, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo or OpenID.