The way people engage online has clearly changed! Are you keeping up? Today, people of all ages are using mobile apps to engage rather then trying to type in a long website address on their small mobile device.

Here are some staggering engagement statistics. At least 77% of Americans own a smartphone, and are using their phones to connect with their favorite brands, social media, and their church.  What’s really eye opening, is that 89% of the time smartphone users spend on media is spent accessing mobile apps. This means the vast majority of their time isn’t using the web browser on their phone – it’s spent in an app. Are they connecting with you?

With that in mind, you’ll want to consider whether it’s sufficient to make your church website mobile friendly or if you should invest in a mobile app.  Of course, considering that we provide church apps, we might be a bit biased.  However, there are several reasons why we think you’ll agree that a mobile app is an even better solution than just having a mobile-friendly website.

1) Push notifications

When someone downloads your church app, you’re able to send them push notifications to communicate immediate prayer needs, ask for volunteers to serve the community in a crisis, or even remind people of a special service or event.  That’s something a mobile website can’t provide.

2) Real-time polls

Your congregation can interact during church services when you offer an in-app experience such as a real-time poll, or signals to them to engage with.

3)  Cost efficiency

Building and maintaining a mobile app is now more cost efficient than constantly updating your website with new features each year. Technology has evolved rapidly, and so has the pricing models.

Everyone knows websites cost so much to update and maintain! Most churches pay $5000-$10,000 to update their website, and they still feel outdated. Mobile apps on the other hand used to cost $100,000 and are now as little as $19.95 a month, and the best companies will design them for free. Looking toward the future, there is a clear value to switching to a mobile app for increased engagement and lower cost.

4) A mobile app provides more functionality and a better user experience

An app comes naturally to a mobile device, since it’s developed in the language of the mobile device you are accessing it through. This creates a user experience that far outshines that of a mobile website experience.

You can also think of the app experience as an all-inclusive resort for church members and community. They don’t need to go to the web browser on their smartphone, enter in the church website address, and then log in. With the app, you will find speed, convenience, and accessibility to be key factors in differentiating between the two. You just download the app, and you’re in. This is critical in this fast-paced, and on-the-go culture we live in.

5) Mobile apps are faster than mobile responsive websitesSince an app retains some data on the user’s mobile phone, it can access that data much faster than the web browser can access the data needed to display your church’s website.

6)  Customized daily Bible reading plan

Pastors are using our customized daily Bible reading plan, and devotional builder, in their app console to create reading plans that come alongside their sermon series. This is a great way to engage your church during the week with your message. If ever there was a tool to help people retain the message throughout each week, by way of Bible reading customized to your current series, here it is.

7)  Mobile apps can offer personalized content

A mobile website presents the same content to everyone who visits.  However, a mobile app offers content tailored to the user based on his/her preferences. Users can participate in a Bible reading plan, or even privately journal within the app.

8) Users can access the mobile app even when they’re offline

While some functionality within the app may require an internet connection, there are several features users can access while offline.  For example, they can download sermon podcasts and listen to them on-the-go; even when they’re without an internet connection.

9)  Mobile apps get greater user engagement and interaction

Users can quickly find what they need within the app (event calendar, Bible reading plan, small group leader contact information, and more).  That’s not always the case with a mobile website.

As we mentioned earlier, Nielsen conducted a recent survey on the use of apps versus the mobile web browser. In their report, they found that a whopping 89% of all smartphone users spent their time on media using mobile apps.

This means they spent just 11% of their time on media through the mobile web browser.

It makes sense to provide people with a tool they’re already more likely to use on a consistent basis.  In this case, that tool is a mobile app.

10) A mobile app leverages smartphone features

Users can easily access the built-in functionality of their smartphone from within the app, such as GPS to get directions, make phone calls, take pictures, etc.

While mobile-friendly websites are extremely useful, a mobile app has several advantages! With a mobile app you can better communicate, engage, and connect with your church throughout the week.