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The distinction between apps and browsers is an important one for brands and publishers, but in some cases a brand or publisher’s app and browser experiences look nearly identical. Can consumers tell the difference? Do they care as much as marketers do?

For the most part, the answer is yes – consumers can tell the difference. However, the answer depends on the age of the consumer. When we asked “which of the following statements best describes your likelihood to use mobile apps or mobile browsers?” many more consumers aged 45-55+ answered that they are not sure they know the difference compared to consumers aged 18-44.

I don't know the difference between app and browser

Meanwhile, more than half of consumers aged 18-24 believe that most of the apps they have tried still have “much room for improvement,” as opposed to 38% of consumers aged 55+.

Most apps need to improve

This means that younger consumers tend to be more discerning about whether they use their apps or their mobile browser than older consumers, and are more critical of the apps they use overall. It may also mean that older consumers tend to be less confident about their mobile knowledge.

When making app/browser decisions, or any decisions within your marketing strategy for that matter, don’t forget to take your target consumer’s level of technical savvy into account. Make sure that your mobile experience is aligned with their level of technical comfortability and that it is meeting their needs – because they may be quick to drop you if it isn’t.

To learn more about the distinct roles of the mobile app and mobile web, download our report, The New Mobile Mantra, today!

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