When sitting down and thinking through your business’s mobile strategy, inevitably you will come to the question, “Do I need a native mobile app, or can I just make a mobile website?” This is a pretty nuanced question, and depending on your business and customers, the answer will be different. A quick look at facts, though, and you can get a pretty good idea of what MOST companies should be doing.

A mobile optimized website will get your info packaged in a way that people will be able to access it on their smart phones, but it also will limit what you can do with them. Native apps can take advantage of smartphone features like the camera, and also give you an opportunity to send PUSH Notifications to your customers. Another extremely important aspect of the native app is that after it is downloaded, it is on your customer’s phone forever. With a mobile website, your info only there as long as the customer has their web browser open and pointed at your site.

Also important to take into consideration: A mobile website cannot be housed in any App Store. This is a key distinction, as Apple’s App Store is becoming more and more of a juggernaut in the mobile world. In 2013, Apple customers spent over $10 billion in the App Store. In December alone, App Store Customers downloaded nearly 3 billion apps and spent over $1 billion in the App store. That’s a crowd you and your small business should want to be a part of.

So when making your plans for mobile advertising, absolutely consider a mobile website. But, be sure and make your businesses smartphone app a non-negotiable part of your mobile strategy.