Do You Need an App, Responsive Website, or Both?

The answer is usually posed as either/or.  What if it was both/and?

The conventional wisdom is that they are independent efforts, and it is true that there are different use cases for each. But what if we thought about app versus web in a different way?  What happens when a website and mobile app can speak to one another?  How does that improve impact tracking, increase engagement, and address user preferences? 

Matrix comparing app and website relevance, with engagement levels on the X axis, and need to track behavior data on the Y axis.

When is one platform more helpful?

You Need a Responsive Website When...

  • You are focusing on attracting new stakeholders.
  • You are looking for a one-time interaction, like a donation or event registration.
  • You are looking to engage users primarily with content.

You Need a Mobile App When...

  • You want to engage users who primarily use mobile.
  • You want users to access information without a wifi connection.
  • You want to limit user tasks to a specific set of actions.
  • You want to send push notifications directly on phones.
Icon representing a device family of displays from a desktop computer on the far right to smart phones on the left

What's Possible When You Use Both?

What potential does an integrated platform have for improving your ability to track outcomes, increasing stakeholder engagement, and delivering more relevant experiences to your users on the platform they prefer?

Data Integration

  • Uses APIs to exchange data between the website and the app
  • Information entered in the website or in the app can be available in either place.
  • Website—if it is robust enough—can serve content and data to the app.
  • The app can also update information in the website, and be available not just to administrators but also to end-users if that is relevant.

Behavior Tracking

  • Activity on the app can be combined with activity on the site to get a more complete picture of how users’ engage with you.

Service Design and User Experience

  • Using both platforms to deliver strategic, planned user journeys and touchpoints between a website and app to improve user experience, deliver comprehensive service design, and increase user interaction.


  • Activity on the app or the site can drive the experience in the other platform.  Event registration or ticket purchase on the website could impact what a user sees on the app, and the converse.

Co-published content

  • Content can be delivered in both locations, but only posted once.  It can also be targeted to specific users on either platform based on interests or past behavior.

Want to learn more?  We can help!


Message Agency logo


MilkCrate Logo


Message Agency and MilkCrate have teamed up to deliver integrated strategies and platforms for our nonprofit clients looking to engage their stakeholders and track their impact.

Check out some of our resources below, take an assessment to see if you need a website or responsive site, and get in touch today!

Ready to discuss your project? Get in touch!