Mobile sites have gained a huge popularity these days and are giving tough competition to the mobile applications. It can be hard to select one of them if you are about to target your mobile audience. The profitability of the one depends the purpose you are looking for and the budget.
Mobile Site for targeting large group
The very first thing that is to be considered is that if you are targeting a large group of people. In this case Mobile sites are the best option for you as this are accessible on all the platforms whereas an app is run only on the platform which it was built for. For e.g. if you built an ios app, than it will only run on iPhones and an android app will only run on android phones. Creating application for both the platforms is quitter hectic and requires a lot of cash. Even then you might leave out on some traffic where as that is not the case with mobile sites.
On one hand, Apps are most popular these days as they can provide a great user interface and the functionality of this application extent to much greater level. Applications can be accessed without any internet and moreover they are accessible easily, whereas mobile sites require internet connection to run.
However it is considered that mobile sites are easy to conduct SEO as compared to applications and the content can easily be picked by search crawlers. These sites are far better for the shopping and the content based because of the SEO friendly nature of these websites.
The most important factor to consider is the cost of creating both of them. Creating a website is far cheaper and easy than that of creating an application. An application requires to hire a developer and is relatively much expensive to build. Moreover the apps need to be maintained for various platforms and updated regularly where as there is no need to maintain the website as they can be reached by the search engine crawlers.
Only thing is that you have to look at the Pros and Cons of both the platforms and decide which of them works best for you or your Business.
This video might help you in better understanding of the difference between both.