Web, Mobile, or Hybrid: Which One is Best for Your Mobile Product?

May 23, 2021

As the world increasingly shifts digital, millions of businesses turn to the most accessible, cost-effective communications channel that is the Internet. The Internet has been an effective platform for fast and secure information exchange and transactions between companies and their market. However, when companies can capture, store, process, and present essential data to their market, effective management will only be possible.

Whether Web Apps, Mobile Apps, or Hybrid Apps is the best is still debatable. Depending on several interplaying factors, such as the budget and the deadline, any three choices benefit

This article will dive into the different types of apps to make companies create a smart, more informed decision on which technology is most beneficial in building their mobile product.

What is the Difference Between a Web, Mobile, and Hybrid App?

This section discusses what sets Web Apps, Mobile Apps, and Hybrid Apps apart to get right into the subject.

Web App

Web Apps, although they may look and feel like native applications, are not real applications. Web Apps are websites that employ a combination of server-side scripts (Node.js and Python) to manage the storage and retrieval of information, and client-side scripts as well as frontend frameworks (JavaScript, React, and Angular) to present such information to its users.

Using online forms, content management systems, and shopping carts, Web Apps facilitate the interaction between the companies and their users. Moreover, employees can create documents, share information, and collaborate on common documents irrespective of location or service through Web Apps.

Mobile App

Native Mobile Apps are designed and built for a specific platform, like iOS for Apple or Android for Google or Samsung. Mobile Apps are downloaded and installed through an app store and given permission and access to the device’s system resources, including GPS and camera. Unlike Web Apps, Mobile Apps live and run on the device itself. Some of the most popular mobile apps include Snapchat, Instagram, Google Maps, and Facebook Messenger.

Hybrid App

Hybrid Apps, from its namesake, are a combination of native mobile apps and web apps. Like native mobile apps, hybrid apps live in an app store and use the features available in the device. Like web apps, hybrid apps depend on rendering HTML in a mobile browser shell, which raises red flags as the browser gets embedded within the app.

With hopes of getting a strong presence in the app store without having to spend additional resources for developing a new app, companies usually build hybrid apps to act as wrappers for an existing web page. Moreover, building hybrid apps reduces development costs as they allow cross-platform developments, meaning the same HTML code components can be applied and implemented on different mobile operating systems.

Use Cases

After discussing the differences, this segment delves into the best use cases for Web Apps, Mobile Apps, and Hybrid Apps.

Best Use Cases for a Web App Mobile Product

As established, Web Apps are not real applications that may look and feel like one. With that, here are the use cases of Web Apps that accounts for their continuous use:


An e-commerce site owned by the Alibaba Group, AliExpress is used to convert non-app users into app users using its mobile site. However, such a strategy did not work out. Even though they thought out the plan well, it failed to provide an engaging mobile experience for their users, causing them to convert their mobile site to a Web App a few years back.

As AliExpress shifted to a cross-browser Web App, significant results were immediately witnessed such as:

  • 104% conversion rate increase for new users
  • 2x more pages visited per session
  • 74% increase in time spent per session

Twitter Lite

Twitter recently launched Twitter Lite: An App set to make its mobile web experience faster and more engaging for more than 80% of its mobile users and accommodate the slow, flaky network conditions that most users experience.

Specifically, Twitter Lite optimizes images and relies on cached data to load pages instantaneously and lower data use and charges. Furthermore, it employs push notifications to re-engage users and add the Web App to their home screens. The launch of Twitter Lite in 2017 received significant results, such as:

  • 75% more Tweets sent
  • 20% reduction in bounce rate
  • 65% growth in pages per session


Forbes, a top U.S. business magazine that features finance, marketing, investment, and industry articles, recently developed a Web App to improve the overall mobile web user experience. As more people engage in digital platforms, the launch of Forbes’ Web App increased load times and doubled engagement rates, accounting for more incredible results, such as:

  • 43% increase in sessions per user
  • 20% increase in impressions per page
  • 100% increase in engagement rates
  • 6x increase in the number of readers completing articles

Best Use Cases for a Mobile App Mobile Product

Mobile Apps are built for specific platforms to live and run in the device itself. With that, here are the best use cases for mobile products that are Mobile Apps:


Uber is the leading on-demand cab service app for riders, with more than 103 million active users in 400 cities across 70 countries worldwide. Uber is a technology-based platform that links riders and drivers, eliminating the need to wait extended hours to fetch a ride.

By integrating Google Maps into their apps, Uber presents both riders and drivers essential information such as the exact location at the time of the booking, the estimated time of arrival at a pick-up point, and the expected time of coming to the destination.


Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has consistently gained prominence as it provides an easy way to connect with people through images and videos. Furthermore, Instagram undergoes relentless developments to offer various social media opportunities, making it an increasingly popular platform for digital marketing through ads and tools.


Airbnb is a booking app that helps users plan their holiday and vacation accommodations with the locals. Although also known to list apartments and boutique stays, Airbnb primarily promotes homestays within the city locals. With millions of users opening their homes to tourists, the global presence of Airbnb grows stronger by the minute.


As a subscription-based, video-on-demand app, Netflix is considered the world’s foremost Over the Top (OTT) media service subscription that enables users to watch movies, TV shows, and documentaries on many devices, including a mobile phone.

Netflix has quickly gained a huge following, especially among millennials, as it offers and regularly updates a huge inventory of critically acclaimed films, series, and documentaries across several genres.

Best Use Cases for a Hybrid App Mobile Product

Hybrid Apps incorporate some features from Web Apps and Mobile Apps. With that, here are the best use cases of Mobile Products built as Hybrid Apps:


Gmail is the most well-known mobile product built as a Hybrid App. Gmail represents the harmonious union of Native Mobile and Web features that offer several benefits to an individual’s daily professional and personal life.

App Store & iBooks

Although using some native web elements such as Search or Bottom Navigation, Apple’s App Store and iBooks are generally built using the Hybrid approach.


Although many users take Evernote for a software assistant built on a web app approach, it is a Hybrid app through and through. With its seamless performance and versatile usability on any type of device, it may come as no surprise that it is mistaken for a native app.


Cryptochange is a cryptocurrency tracker mobile app and one of the most popular high-performance Hybrid Apps. Cryptochange allows users to monitor the top 100 most popular cryptocurrencies, read the history of some of these cryptos, and even buy and trade cryptocurrencies.


JustWatch is a search engine for online video streams that supports streaming channels such as Hulu and Netflix, to name a few. JustWatch allows users to search for movies and TV shows through the app with exemplary performance.


Untappd is an increasingly popular check-in Hybrid app that allows its users to discover new places to dine out and grab a bottle of beer. As a great social tool, Untappd has gained a lot of followers among its users.

Should You Convert a Web App into a Hybrid App?

Some companies build an app for an already existing website. Or, they already have a mobile web app, but it lacks certain native app features such as app store presence, push notifications, home screen icons, and offline use. If this is the case, then transforming a web app into a hybrid app might just be the best viable option.

With a hybrid app, companies would not have to manage two platforms distinctly; instead, they will have a single web app covering both the mobile web and the two other major mobile platforms (iOS and Android) with a single app.


With the growing competition in the digital landscape, social networks should wow their users as early as their first interaction to secure, if not increase, conversion rates. They will probably recommend and invite their friends to check them. If the app fails to meet user expectations and offers no innovation from existing apps, probably, users will not share the app.

There will always be one best suited for a company among the three applications, depending on crucial factors such as deadlines and the available budget. However, what matters is that enough time gets spent weighing factors before deciding to start building.

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