Think about how quickly some of your favourite apps (Facebook, Instagram or BBC news) load on your mobile phone. A world of information is available almost instantly with just one tap. Now think about that experience when a customer wants to visit your website. One tap to open the browser, another tap for the address bar, a few more to enter the site URL (assuming they remember it or need to search again), and then you need to wait until it loads. It may not fill the screen or is too small, worst it has no real functionality. What makes this worse is that mobile internet connections are often fickle and slow. You will be surprised to learn that Twitter, Instagram, Trivago actually use web apps for web browsers, which delivers a smoother and app-like experience.
According to Google, 53% mobile site visits are abandoned if it takes longer to load or is awkward to navigate. As most people use a mobile device, your website is wasted as an ineffective marketing brochure with no real engaging functionality like an app, hence why native apps fulfilled this need, however with the launch of Progressive Web Apps (PWA) it makes life easy for small businesses to now enter this space with all the advantages of having most of the functions of a traditional app without the expense, and deliver beyond the capabilities of a website.
Introducing Progressive Web Apps
Progressive Web Apps solve this problem really effectively by combining the best of the web and native applications (apps), PWA’s require no installation, it’s fast, feature rich, and is both engaging and helps boost conversions.
Some of the biggest brands in the world are already reaping the benefits: Forbes’ PWA increased impressions per visit by 10%. Alibaba increased mobile conversions by 76% and Twitter saw a 20% decrease in bounce rate. Now even Starbuck, Debenhams and Trivago are in on the act. Here are the top five features that make this such an enticing prospect for all types of businesses and organisations.
1. Add to the home screen (No installation required)
The great thing about PWA’s is that they prompt users to add the PWA to their home screen, complete with icon and branding without the need to install on the device.
2. Full-screen native app experience
PWA’s bring many of the benefits of a native app experience without making sacrifices for devices that do not support some apps due to the specific version of the device. PWA’s are now loaded with a full-screen experience on Android web browsers and safari is catching up soon. Now you can see more of your site on the screen, it’s easier to navigate and operates like an app, providing a better experience and building a stronger brand identity.
3. Works even with a poor connection
PWA’s can work with a poor connection, just like a native app. Your content is always going to be available, no matter how poor the user’s connection is and helps elevate your brand to be more reliable and dependent.
4. Push notifications
Some of the best features that mimic a native app experience are push notifications that will appear in the user’s notification bar or on top of their locked screen, in the same way, that notifications generally work. At the moment it works for Android. Safari will be releasing a version to allow PWA’s to send push notifications soon.
5. New features are being added all the time
There are many more benefits to be had from adding PWA functionality to your site, speed and performance improvements, enhanced functionality beyond website and what is outlined here, plus more are being added all the time. Google is actively working on this tech and more and more businesses are adopting this concept to make their mobile experiences more dynamic for their customers as part of their overall marketing mix. Unlike apps, PWA’s will automatically be updated, showing the latest version, without the need for manual updates or costly upgrades.
Can I use this now?
Yes. Google and Microsoft are leading the way and Chrome on Android devices (for the most part) have full integration; with Safari and iOS under development.