PWA: APP-athy on the rise

mobile apps and PWA's


Like many people, my inclination to download another native app has long since waned. I’m not alone.

The number of apps available for download in leading app stores as of the first quarter of 2018 were 3.8 million for Android and 2 million at Apple’s App Store – it’s in decline.  A PWA offers an alternative that should be considered.

The US experienced the greatest decline, with app downloads falling by 38% since 2014, with Europe behind following as app installs declined by 5% in the same time. However, with 50% of apps being used more than ten times, it is clear mobile apps can still play a key role in driving brand loyalty….if the promise, purpose, journey, utility and benefit are right.


There are alternatives… A PWA

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). A PWA is delivered through the web and function like native apps. They combine everything that’s good about native mobile applications with everything that’s good about a mobile site. Imagine fast downloading branded app environment that’s open to all – it’s opportunity uplift time.

PWAs are straightforward to create using existing web technologies and deliver a faster and better experience for users on mobile, driving engagement and conversion rates. They are also much easier to deliver reach from and maintain than traditional apps. That said a PWA must be properly explored by all brands looking for success in the mobile age – at least, those that don’t want to risk being left behind.

Some key facts about PWAs

The latest statistics from Google’s case studies on Progressive Web Apps (PWA) uncover how they compare to native apps. Here are some of the key statistics and benefits of PWAs taken from the findings:

  • +68% increase in mobile traffic
  • 15 x faster to load and install
  • 25X less device storage required
  • 52% average increase in conversions
  • 78.25% increase in session length
  • 137% increase in engagement
  • The average load time for a page is 2.75 seconds (& speeding up all the time)
  • Compared to mobile website’s, bounce rate is reduced by a phenomenal 42%
  • On average, page views increased by a massive 133%


About PWAs:

To date, adoption has been limited to a few high-profile publishers and a few big brands. With quicker websites, the aim is to increase conversion potential and so we anticipate that more brands will take steps towards implementing a PWA in 2018/19.

A PWA is best defined by the following key concepts:

Web App Manifest

The web app manifest file can change everything from background colours, assign full-screen mode, implement splash screens to styling fonts.  


Push Notifications – Timely, Relevant, and Precise

Having pop-up messages regarding site updates helps with user/customer retention. Web push notifications allow users to opt-in to timely updates from sites they love and allow you to effectively re-engage them with customised, relevant content. The Push API and Notification API open a whole new set of possibilities for you to re-engage with your users.


Add to Home Screen A2HS

The all important ‘Add to Home Screen’ (A2HS) is a bookmark icon that is placed on the mobile home screen.  This allows users to visit your environment with one click. The icon design itself can be customised via the Web App Manifest file.

The great thing about PWAs is they can work even when offline or on poor network connections. JavaScript Service Workers programs help provide the caching of repeatable page assets such as the entire application shell that includes JS, CSS, HTML files for repeating page elements. It can even also store content in the cache (using Cache API) with assets requested when needed.


PWA and Search

According to google, PWAs currently don’t have any advantage in Google search yet. However, they are a great way to quickly create websites that are fast and interactive, providing cool functionality like offline access & notifications, but they don’t have any inherent advantage in search at the moment. With the forecasted adoption of PWAs its more than likely that this will be something that Google and other engines will rank highly, providing a rating score and optimisation model for. PWAs typically run on dynamically constructed pages served client side (on the browser). Google has been steadily improving the way that Googlebot sees client-side content by being able to execute JavaScript code better.


In conclusion:

There’s a way to go with PWAs however they are already providing opportunities for brands and retailers for bridging the gap between responsive websites and native apps. Given the growing apathy for downloading native, we see PWAs as the way forward.

If you’d like to find out more about how this new technology can help your business – then contact Mobylise today.