Nowadays, only the lazy one does not wonder about the development of his mobile application. There are thousands of startups on the market trying to promote their ideas, and more and more business owners are trying to automate the most monotonous processes within companies, promote their products, or establish closer contact with an online audience.
Native vs Web App or Hybrid App: What to Choose in 2024
However, the growing popularity of applications has led to the emergence of various types: there are native, hybrid, web applications on the market - which, in turn, has given rise to another headache - which type to choose? Well, this is exactly the question that we will try to answer in this article to help you make an informed decision, taking into account all the pros and cons of each type of application.
To get started, let's repeat the basics …
- What is a native application? A native application is an application that is available only on one platform and on no other, for example, an application that is available only for iPhone or Android phones.
- What is a web application? Web applications, again, are only available on one device, but this time on a computer / web browser. This is essentially a mobile-optimized site.
Now let's compare the various aspects of Native, web and hybrid applications.
If you do not take the issue of developing mobile application cost seriously, it can ultimately become a problem, and you will have to spend on the development budget planned for other purposes, for example, marketing. Therefore, first, it is better to get acquainted with the opinions of a number of experts who will tell you what budget is needed for your application.
Developing native applications will require the largest amount of money from you, subject to development for multiple platforms. Perhaps large companies do not have problems creating the application immediately for iOS and Android, and possibly for Windows phone, but for small companies this can be disastrous.
The cost of developing a hybrid application is usually 20-30% higher than the cost of a native application for one platform. Those. a hybrid application will cost 20-30% more than an Android-only application, for example.
Web applications usually boast the lowest cost, thanks to a single code base, as well as the use of a single set of tools.
It is much more profitable to develop applications for a web browser than for a native platform, and this can become a serious factor if you have a small budget, and the application is needed quite urgently.
The user experience of working with your application directly depends on the performance. After you spend a lot of time and effort launching and marketing your application, you probably want it to work well, right?
Native applications have direct access to the functionality of the platform for which they are developed, as a result of which the performance of such applications is much higher than the rest. For example, such applications have the ability to use embedded animation to improve user experience.
Hybrid applications, when correctly made, can be a great way to convert a web application to a native one, however, in the case of complex applications, abstraction levels often do not allow you to use most of the functional features inherent in native applications. This, in turn, can damage the reputation of the application and cause more problems than developing a native application.
The performance of web applications largely depends on factors that are not under our control, for example, which browser the user uses, network speeds, etc.
Thus, a business often unfairly suffers from the fact that some applications that work perfectly for some users do not work so well for others, often due to a slow network connection or an old browser.
Once you have developed the application, its distribution becomes the most important aspect of market launch. This, in fact, is the road that you go to the success of your application.
Native and hybrid applications do not differ from each other in this respect, since they are distributed on one platform - in the application store. One of the benefits of having your app distributed in the app store is that you have a chance of getting organic traffic within the store itself.
You can even appear on the main page if your application is doing well. But (yes, there always seems to be a “but”), there are many different requirements and restrictions when placing an application in a store, which often do not allow people and companies to advertise and create applications in the form in which they would like.
Web applications have their advantages: you can run your application on your own terms and without any restrictions on how you advertise it (within reason, of course). The main drawback in this case is that in this case you do not have any benefits obtained when you have the application in the store.
The ability to reuse the code is an important factor in developing the application: if the same code can be used to host the application on two separate platforms, consider that you saved a lot of money.
Here, native applications do not withstand competition, since if the code is specific and adapted only to the native platform, it cannot be reused. At the same time, the native platform provides better access to a number of application features.
In hybrid applications, after programming, using certain tools, the code can be transferred to major mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android. The true value of hybrid applications is evident in gaming platforms such as 2DX or unity.
As for web applications, after the code has been written, most browsers follow the general rules. You just have to worry about browser compatibility and performance. So this can be attributed not just to the pluses, but to the “expected” pluses.
Monetization may be considered the most important aspect at the stage when the application is already developed. Therefore, you need to know how easily the application can be monetized.
Native and hybrid apps provide a wide range of monetization options. As mentioned earlier, you have a chance to get organic traffic through the app store.
You also have the opportunity to appear on the main page, as well as various opportunities for paid advertising, which web applications do not provide. Your application can also be advertised online or on specific mobile devices, using campaigns on Facebook or Google Adwords, where restrictions are minimal.
However, you must remember that application stores charge a percentage of earnings.
Web applications, unfortunately, do not provide any “free” methods of monetization, and their advertising depends mainly on you.
If you have a plan for paid advertising of the application using other resources, then this should not be a problem. In addition, you can not be afraid of the commissions of application stores, so this is another plus.
After considering the features of the three types of applications, let's summarize and emphasize again the most important points. As for value, if money is not a problem, hybrid or native applications can bring excellent results.
Nevertheless, if you want to save money and feel that your idea has every chance of becoming popular, web application development is the perfect solution for you.
On the one hand, you are guaranteed excellent performance of native applications, and on the other, a cheaper, faster way to get the return on your investment by developing hybrid applications, but they can also lead to difficulties beyond your control.
It is also important to determine whether you want to distribute your application through application stores or if you think that it is better to have freedom of action regarding advertising and promotion. In the latter situation, a web application is perhaps what you need.
Do not forget to decide in advance whether you will place the application on only one platform or on several. In the first case, a native application would be the best choice. If you have a small budget, web and hybrid applications, due to its ability to reuse written code, may be better for you.
Here are some additional comments based on our experience:
Web applications are good for something very simple, for example, for a news site or other information resource. This is a good way out if you do not have a budget for developing a mobile application.
It is desirable to use hybrid applications for web applications without deep hardware or system integration, or for automating business processes when employees or customers already use the services of a company. However, they are not suitable as applications such as instant messengers or social networks.
And finally, the native application is an obvious choice for branded applications that are expected to work well and give positive feedback, which are an integral part of the success of the project.
Most importantly, always remember who your audience is and what your application’s goal is.
We hope to give you a better understanding of the different types of applications, and now you can make an informed decision that will lead you to success.