30 second summary:
- Progressive web apps (PWAs) provide app-like experiences without users having to download anything from an app store
- PWAs are also far less burdensome for developers than native apps, which require ongoing updates, review management, and shared profits with app stores
- Nick Chasinov, Founder and CEO of Teknicks, shares some of the key business benefits of using PWAs
If Apple has been threatened by “Fortnite” trying to bypass the App Store, it won’t be happy when progressive web apps launch. PWAs disrupt the tech giant’s granular control over the Apple App Store as they deliver app-like experiences without the need to download an actual app. They are designed for the everyday website user, but offer many features that are only available for native apps.
While many companies love the idea of building a native app, this approach can be problematic for developers. You have to update them, manage reviews, attract downloads, and pay most stores a 30 percent cut on every sale – this includes paid apps and in-app purchases that can add up quickly. Apple grossed $ 64 billion from the App Store in 2020.
This is one of the reasons Google is advocating PWAs and encouraging developers to create and distribute them. The search engine also leads the Fugu project, which aims to expand browser capabilities and help web apps “do everything native apps can”. That dream could become a reality: almost 65 percent of Internet users already rely on Chrome, and thanks to the open source Chromium Foundation, other browsers can use PWA technology.
With the pandemic sending more people online than ever before, the focus will continue to be on user experience in 2021. Would you prefer to orientate yourself towards Apple or Google? The war between PWA and native apps has begun. If you want to stand out and stand out from the competition, a PWA might be the way to go.
The business benefits of PWAs
PWAs offer users numerous advantages. For example, they are smaller files than native apps, which frees up space on users’ devices. However, PWAs can also affect your goals and bottom line. Here are three main advantages of progressive web apps:
1. Fast connections
Consumers have options: there are many places to browse the news, buy clothes, and watch videos. If your website is not up to date (literally), people will get their attention and buying power elsewhere. For example, the Forbes website took anywhere from three to 12 seconds to fully load. These delays resulted in 53 percent of users leaving the site. After the company switched to a PWA, browser sessions increased 43 percent.
PWAs can increase speed for all users, but acceleration is especially important for browsers with slow connections. By caching content after the first visit, PWAs allow more people to access your products. This increase in speed also leads to an improvement in the visibility for all users. According to Google’s 2018 announcement, mobile device speed plays an important role in overall page rankings.
2. SEO skills
Aside from the fact that speed affects your page rankings, PWAs are also SEO friendly. Because they live on the web, their content is visible to search engines. This can improve your ability to generate traffic and leads. For example, when Alibaba turned its website into a PWA, it had 76 percent more conversions.
Native apps are limited to the SEO restrictions of app stores. Typically, only the app profile page is listed in Google search results, so businesses have to rely on the app’s description, images, and positive reviews to improve visibility and get more downloads.
With a PWA, you have the same unlimited flexibility as a website to create custom user experiences and streamlined imaginative content that rank on Google and showcase the features and benefits of your app. App Store optimization is limited, but you can run any SEO strategy with a PWA.
3. Engagement opportunities
PWAs support push notifications and enable companies to reach their customers with personalized product recommendations, news updates and other relevant communications. This can improve customer loyalty and help increase brand loyalty.
PWAs can also encourage interaction with your social media pages as they can use device tools like cameras and GPS (Global Positioning System). And when Augmented Reality (AR) becomes available on PWAs, all sorts of exciting opportunities will open up. Imagine a customer trying on your company’s latest clothes in AR and then sharing their selfies on social media – all without a native app that needs to be developed for multiple operating systems and optimized to support dozens of devices.
The decline in coronavirus case numbers and the acceleration of vaccine distribution efforts are fueling optimism in many parts of the world. Still, it will likely take a while for life to return to normal. As people continue to spend more time at home (and on the internet), organizations need to prioritize their digital transformation strategies.
For the reasons mentioned above, this should include creating PWAs. While web apps are not new developments, they are uniquely positioned to help businesses achieve their goals in the current environment. Organizations can focus on one web app that prioritizes user experience rather than wasting energy on multiple native apps designed for different operating systems with limited search engine visibility.
Nick Chasinov is the founder and CEO of Teknicks, a research-based agile internet marketing agency that has been certified by Google for Analytics, Tag Manager and Ads.