Progressive Web Apps

You might not have come across of them until now, but Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) really are about to transform the mobile landscape.

So before it gets to be all the rage, read on to find out exactly what Progressive Web Apps are and what all the excitement is about.

What is a Progressive Web App?

In the most basic sense, Progressive Web Apps are mobile applications delivered via the internet. This amazing technological innovation enables Progressive Web Apps to provide an app-like experience in whichever web browser you use. It looks and behaves just like a native app and gives you app-style navigation but because Progressive Web Apps are hosted online and available through your browser, they are not restricted to particular mobile devices. A Progressive Web App displays perfectly and in the same way on all devices, including desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever may come next.

IOS – Android

What’s more, ‘service workers’ make it possible for a Progressive Web App to load without delay, irrespective of network quality. This means that this kind of new web app technology is able to function offline as well as in locations of poor online connectivity. With the help of pre-caching, it keeps updated, providing the end user with the latest content whenever it is opened. Just like a native app downloaded from an app store, the user can save the PWA to their home screen and can access it at any time. Making it just like a native app but without the inconvenience of searching for and downloading native apps from the app stores.

Progressive Web App vs. Native Mobile App

Whilst native apps boomed for a while, the latest statistics are now showing that they come with ‘friction’ for both the user and the developer.

One of the most significant distinctions between Progressive Web Apps and Native Apps is the existence of the “app store middleman”. For Progressive Web Apps, this middleman is totally taken out.

Coming from the viewpoint of the end user, they are able to access the Progressive Web App without needing to download and install it from an app store. Rather, with a Progressive Web App, anyone can launch the app right from a URL. Anyone can share it on social media, email, text message, online ad, or link it to a QR code and the user will immediately be immersed into a native app experience.

By eliminating all this ‘friction’, it is certainly a lot less complicated for end users to get access to a Progressive Web App.

At each and every stage of the native app download and install procedure, up to 20% of potential customers are kissed goodbye. The general public finds it time-consuming being required to locate a Native app in their respective app store, wait for it to download and install and then be concerned that it will use up valuable storage space before they can begin making use of the app. Given that PWAs dramatically minimise the number of steps they must undertake (basically making it a one-step procedure), there is a significantly greater probability of people actually making use of the app resulting in a much bigger prospective user base with a Progressive Web App.

The simple fact that Progressive Web Apps utilize web-based technology now means they will function cross-platform, on the majority of browsers, thus taking the operating system out of the picture. You will be able to develop just one Progressive Web App and it will look and perform the exactly the same across all devices. End users are going to have a cohesive experience on any device they launch the Progressive Web App on.

Last but not least, Progressive Web Apps are going to be easily discoverable. What makes this so important is that Progressive Web Apps can be easily found by the search engines, enabling them to show up in search results just the same as any other web-based content. Progressive Web Apps will be handled with conventional SEO, so it will get indexed for much more than simply the app name, but also the content inside the app. It is not going to be viewed as an app specifically, but as a piece of content material that definitely will “answer” someone’s “question.”

To help put this into context, 60% of searches are these days are made on mobile devices and this number will continue to increase. People today are making use of their smartphones to get content, so just imagine your Progressive Web App showing up in those search results.

For instance, an individual may be browsing for a hair salon in their vicinity, so they use Google to start their search. Their search results will probably display directories like Yelp and hair salon websites. If you own a hair salon business, your Progressive Web App can rank well in these types of searches, driving clients directly from their search results directly to your Progressive Web App.

This kind of first contact is an opportunity to win over your clients. An app-like experience will enable clients to schedule a hair appointment from within your Progressive Web App. It’s a smooth process beginning with a web search and finishing with a completed task in the app.

Progressive Web App vs. Mobile Website

Progressive Web Apps are a mix of both of native apps and mobile responsive websites, but precisely how do they differ from responsive websites?

Compared with “old school” mobile websites, Progressive Web Apps are extremely fast. Be aware that 53% of users will probably give up on a website if it takes any longer than 5 seconds to download. Progressive Web Apps load straight away, irrespective of network state and provide fast-to-respond interfaces. This gets rid of their reliance on the network, as mobile websites do, providing a quick and efficient practical experience for end users. A Progressive Web App also updates in the background, so users don’t have to wait around for fresh content to load.

Furthermore, conventional mobile websites provide only static content, while Progressive Web Apps are able to give users the dynamic functionality offered by Native Apps. Progressive Web Apps provide an impressive full-screen experience, enabling consumers to place mobile food orders, take advantage of loyalty programs and contact a business to name just a few. It can also re-engage customers with web push notifications, the same as native push notifications.

Who Is Already Experiencing Results?

Lancome Progressive Web App

In order to generate both targeted traffic and re-engagement, cosmetics company Lancôme recently released a Progressive Web App to offer a fast, app-like experience to their clients.

Lancôme witnessed mobile site visitors surpass desktop traffic for the first time in 2016. However irrespective of an escalating number of mobile site visitors, mobile conversion rates did not compare with those for desktop. 38% of shopping carts on desktop resulted in orders, whilst the conversion rate for the mobile web was just 15%. These statistics exposed that buyers were encountering considerable roadblocks when attempting to buy via their mobile device.

Initially, Lancôme thought about an e-commerce app as the answer. However, they recognized that an app only made good sense for clients who visited on a regular basis. Mobile customers would probably not come back to an e-commerce app every week, let alone every day, so they would not see the benefit in downloading and installing a Lancôme app. The company wanted to create the best user experience on all of their devices. They needed a fast-loading, engaging e-mobile experience, comparable to everything that they could obtain with a native app but one that was also discoverable and available to everyone via the mobile web. Enter the Progressive Web App.

The outcomes have proven to be incredible:

  • 84% reduction in precious time until the information is interactive
  • 17% boost in conversions
  • 53% growth in mobile sessions on iOS
  • 18% open rate on push notifications
  • 8% of users who tap on a push notification make a purchase

In short, their PWA has been a fantastic success, allowing the beauty giant make amazing strides into the mobile revolution.

So what does the foreseeable future look like?

Whilst native mobile apps are by no means going to disappear, a PWA has the ability to offer the perfect solution for enterprises seeking to create an engaging and readily adoptable mobile experience for their clients. PWAs offer the best of both worlds, with all the shareability of the web and all the features of the native app. Activate Mobile Marketing is excited to be now able to offer this new PWA technology to our clients.

We will be part of the future of Mobile apps, where the mobile app and the mobile website evolve into one.