These days, it’s all about the user experience. 43 percent of individuals would not return to a website with slow loading time. Search engines are now taking user signals into account to rank sites in SERPs and now that we know 87 percent of users have a smartphone and keep it by their side, Google is placing a larger emphasis on mobile-first indexing–which has left many marketers with no choice but to adapt.
It is safe to say that we’ve evolved from the standard, traditional website and technology is also beginning to progress beyond the mobile app, as well. However, a combination of the two has given birth to a new, trendy, and more flexible generation of software: the progressive web application.
What is a Progressive Web App?
Why is it important?
Due to the highly-competitive nature of search engines, PWAs are on the rise. Not only can they increase page sessions and enhance discoverability, but it also allows marketers to increase user engagement. Since research shows that losing 80 percent of mobile users is the norm, marketers are choosing to combat this with effective retention methods such as building progressive web apps.
Examples of Progressive Web Applications
Who is Using Progressive Web Apps?
Although there’s something everyone can enjoy about progressive web apps, there are specific reasons many businesses are picking up on the trend. For starters, it can help avoid the tough decision of having to choose whether an app will be compatible with Apple, Android, or both. Instead, PWAs can be installed on virtually any device. Companies utilizing eCommerce especially benefit from this because it eliminates the need to continuously modify their store to be compatible with each platform.
Below are a few progressive web application examples from a few popular brands you may know and love:
Uber developed a PWA that enables users to have their food delivered or book rides in record time. It was even designed to load in less than 3 seconds on 2G networks.
Twitter Lite debuted in 2017, making it one of the earliest examples of a successful PWA. It included all of the major features we love on Twitter, but it is more lightweight and “data friendly”–requiring less than 1MB to download.
Spotify created a PWA with a new and improved user experience, ad blocking capabilities, and a more visually appealing user interface than the desktop app.
Starbucks has experienced tremendous success with the release of their PWA app. Not only has it enabled users to place orders offline, but it is 99.84 percent smaller than the Starbucks iOS mobile app.
The Weather Channel launched a PWA version of their application after discovering some of its users did not possess the latest smartphones or may lack access to a strong internet connection. Since developing the PWA, they noticed an 80 percent improvement in load time.
Pros and Cons of Progressive Web Apps
As page speed rapidly becomes a critical determining factor for conversions, marketers are gravitating towards the progressive web application trend in droves. In fact, studies show that PWAs have 36 percent higher conversion rates than native mobile apps. Many are drawn to its lightning speed, online and offline compatibility, and the smooth, seamless app experience that it can provide across devices. However, in addition to its many advantages, progressive web apps also come equipped with a few challenges.
While their speed impresses marketers and users alike, one of the downsides of using PWAs is that they are known to require more battery power than your average mobile app. Now that smartphones have become the preferred web-browsing option for users, this is one major setback that can deter users from selecting a PWA over other applications.
Generally speaking, the pros significantly outweigh the cons, so if you’re ready to dive into the trend of progressive web apps, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are PWAs faster than responsive design?
One of the ways that PWAs differ from responsive design is its ability to operate faster than responsive design. A new study revealed that PWAs can perform about 3.8 times faster than responsive design.
Are Progressive Web Apps the Future?
Each year, several businesses are making the decision to hop on the trend of developing progressive web apps. A Jaxenter survey discovered that 46 percent of developers agree that PWAs are the future, while only 14 percent believed this to be true for native mobile apps. Now that Microsoft and Google have decided to embrace PWAs in their app stores, it is safe to say that we can only expect this number to grow significantly. Also, as marketers begin to focus more on page speed and engagement, we predict that many businesses will realize the value of using progressive web applications in the future.
What is the difference between a web app and a progressive web app?
Should I consider a PWA for my business?
Before making the decision to develop a progressive web application, it’s important to consider which objectives it can fill for your business. Are you looking to improve conversions or increase user engagement? According to a study conducted by Smashing Ideas, companies that made the switch to a PWA saw an increase in customer engagement of up to 250 percent.