The Power of Progress: Progressive Web Apps
July 11, 2017

The Power of Progress: Progressive Web Apps

Many businesses have made strict choices to maintain both a website and a native app without giving much consideration to the possibility of this up and coming middle ground.

Written by Julian Raiford

In the world of mobile technology accessibility, approximately 77% of American adults own a smartphone, with this statistic jumping to roughly 92% smartphone ownership among 18 to 29 year olds. These numbers indicate that the future of marketing needs to lend itself to the interests of this growing generation of consumers by creating increased electronic access to desirable resources. The answer to reaching this consumer base and developing a strong relationship between users and businesses has come in the form of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).

So what are Progressive Web Apps?

PWAs is the beginning of a modified form of apps that are easily installed and used from a user’s mobile web browser with the function and feel of native apps, but with increased speed, reliability, and smaller file sizes. The process of downloading and beginning a PWA is so simple and fast that the word “installation” creates an incorrect concept of bulky and slow files.

progressive web apps

In terms of scope, a PWA can be anything from a business site to a game*. Popular and successful examples include Forbes, Lyft, and Financial Times, which have all revolutionized their outreach to consumers due to the switch to a Progressive Web App.

You can use Google Chrome, where banner triggering (after determining that a site is a PWA) allows users the option to add a web app to their phones home screen, and complete the download process. For the popular iPhone, there is a manual option through Safari that goes through Share > Add to Home Screen, but works in easily downloading PWAs.

Once installed, users can return to their home screen and find the icon for the downloaded PWA for a seamless app experience with the capability for the features of any native app, such as push notifications, bluetooth connecting, and offline capabilities.

However, this is not true on iOS. Most device level functionality cannot be accessed from the web with iOS. Further, the container they give you does not honor session state, local storage (at least not as well as Safari) and uses an antiquated version of Java Script.

Is a PWA right for my business?

Answer: Maybe.

Consider the size of your online presence. Are you a small business with limited resources, time, effort and bandwidth? If so, then a PWA might be what you need…just yet. Generally speaking, small businesses have less repeat traffic and therefore do not need to focus on this functionality. PWAs are ideal for bigger companies that have consistent returning visitors

Many businesses have made strict choices to maintain both a website and a native app. Traditionally the problem with native apps is that they only receive 4 million unique visitors monthly, while mobile websites receive 11.4 million unique visitors monthly. However, mobile websites only retain the attention of these visitors for 9.3 minutes, and furthermore, 53% of users disappear if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Is your business equipped with these Web Essentials?

PWAs become a beautiful solution to the problem of mobile web vs. native apps. They create a unique experience for visitors to have the best of worlds with comfortable, engaging environments for lengthy visits and more compelling cause for installation after using the web app. In Forbes’ case, the company’s site had a 43% increase in sessions per user after the switch to a PWA. Not only this, but there was also a notable 3x in scroll depth on average, a 100% increase in session duration, and advert views also jumped 20%.

Across the board, the PWA proved to be a massive success for consumer and company alike. The site became immensely more profitable and enjoyable. Companies looking to make a change in viewership and appeal of their brand, a progressive web app is most certainly a way to provide a modern interface that is guaranteed to pull users in again and again.

*For more examples of what a PWA can look and function like, you can visit https://pwa.rocks/

Sources:
Pewresearch.org
Cloudfour.com
Financial Times.com
Forbes.com
Google.com/developers