If the tech giant, Apple, was intimidated when the popular online video game Fortnite tried to bypass its App Store, it will surely not be happy when PWAs thrive. Progressive web apps obstruct Apple’s granular control over the App Store as they deliver app-like experiences without requiring the users to download a real application. While these are designed for daily website users, they offer numerous features exclusive to native applications only.
Even though many businesses are “really” into the idea of developing native apps, to tell the truth, this approach can be a struggle for the developers. Building a native application comes with many responsibilities, including updating them regularly, handling user reviews, drawing downloads, paying a 30% share of each sale (including in-app purchases and paid apps) to most stores, which makes sense. In 2020, Apple earned over $64 billion from the App Store, according to reports.
This is part of the reason why the search giant Google is an active supporter of progressive web apps, pushing developers to build and spread them globally. Google also manages the “Project Fugu,” aiming at broadening web browser capabilities and enabling the web applications to do everything that native apps can. Nevertheless, this dream could turn into a reality as around two-thirds of internet users already depend on Google Chrome, and its free and open-source foundation Chromium allows other browsers to utilize its PWA technology.
Plus, since this pandemic has increasingly introduced more users to the internet world, most of the focus is expected to stay on the overall user experience in 2021. Now the real question is: would you preferably take your cues from Google or Apple? The war between native apps and progressive web apps has started already, and if you are hoping to stand out from the competition and have a competitive edge, PWA might be the best way.
The Key Advantages of PWAs
Progressive web applications offer many benefits to users. For starters, they have a smaller file size compared to native apps and thus frees up plenty of storage space on users’ devices. Nevertheless, PWAs can affect your business goals as well as your bottom line too. Let’s take a look at the three key advantages of PWAs.
1. Quick Connections
Users today have plenty of options at their disposal. There are numerous places where they can read the news, shop for clothes, watch videos and buy products online. So if your website’s speed isn’t up to the mark, users will literally jump to someplace else within seconds instead of wasting their time and efforts on a site that takes forever to load. For example, the previous website of Forbes used to take anywhere between 3-12 seconds to load completely. According to Google itself, more than half of the internet users abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load. Therefore, as a result, Forbes saw more than 53% of users leaving its site due to these delays in load times. However, as soon as they switched to a PWA, the company saw a 43% boost in their browsing sessions.
While progressive web apps can boost website speed for every user, this acceleration is specifically vital for browsers on slower internet connections. PWAs cache content after the first site visit and, therefore, make it possible for more users to access your website effortlessly. Moreover, this improvement in speed also results in a boost in discoverability for all users. Furthermore, Google also considers page speed as a crucial ranking factor.
2. Better SEO Capabilities
Besides the fact that page speed directly influences your overall rankings, progressive web apps, too, are SEO-friendly. Since they exist on the web, search engines can see their content. Resultantly, this can increase your ability to drive more traffic and leads. For instance, Housing.com saw a 38% increase in its conversions with the new PWA.
Native apps are restricted to the SEO limitations of app stores. Generally, Google SERPs list only the app profile page, pushing companies to bank on the app’s images, descriptions, and good reviews to boost their visibility and attract more downloads.
On the other hand, with a PWA, you get the same unconstrained flexibility as a website to build custom user experiences and optimized creative content that will rank in Google search results and demonstrate the features and advantages of your app. While App Store optimizations are limited, a progressive web app lets you implement all SEO strategies.
3. More Engagement Opportunities
Progressive web apps support push notifications, thus, generating more opportunities for businesses to keep in touch with their customers with regular news updates, personalized product recommendations, and other relevant messages. This, in turn, can help boost customer engagement and improve brand loyalty.
In addition to this, PWAs can also increase engagement with your social media pages as they can use device tools such as GPS and Camera. Moreover, once AR (augmented reality) becomes available on progressive web apps, all types of exciting opportunities will unfold. Think of a prospect trying on your recently launched clothing collection in AR and then sharing their pictures on their social media accounts – all this without the need of a native app that has to be developed for different OS and modified to support a bunch of devices.
Wrapping It Up
With the number of COVID-19 cases dropping and the expediting vaccine allocation efforts worldwide, people have started feeling optimistic again. But it will probably take a while before life goes back to normal. Amid all this, as consumers spend more time at their homes (and on the web), businesses must focus on their digital transformation strategies.
Because of the reasons mentioned above, this should ideally involve developing progressive web apps. Web apps are no new developments in the internet world, but they are exceptionally positioned to help businesses accomplish their goals in the present circumstances. Organizations can concentrate their efforts on a single web app prioritizing the user experience rather than blowing their energy on numerous native apps designed for multiple OS with constrained visibility on the SERPs. At this point, making this choice shouldn’t be much of a challenge!