Because the way people use the web, the things they now demand from the web and the way they spend their money on the web is changing. Since 2016, more people have been using mobile devices than desktop computers and this trend is growing year on year (Morgan Stanley Research), however without a dedicated app, the experiences on mobile are nowhere near as effective as on desktop, with conversion rates sitting much lower. This is due to a range of issues, however network coverage and the resulting loading speed is one of the main things to affect mobile conversion.
The comScore Mobile Metrix 2017 revealed that on mobile devices, people spend on average 87% of their time using apps and only 13% of their time on the mobile web. The reasons given for this were because apps are more predictable (online and offline), easier to find (right there on the phone or tablet desktop) and they serve notifications that remind users to come back and use them. The research also showed that less than 1 new app is downloaded every month on average, however 100 new websites are visited and the mobile websites or tiny versions of desktop websites (both with significantly lower conversion rates than desktop) are then served to these users.
“Progressive Web Applications were created so that these 100 websites per user per month would have the tools to be able to increase their effectiveness by performing like an app on mobile devices.”
Progressive Web Applications provide a fast, immersive experience to the user that is comparable to using a downloaded app. Webmasters are always looking for ways to improve conversion and provide amazing experiences for users because these translate into more time on the site, increased brand loyalty and overall into more profits. To achieve this improvement on mobile devices however, the only real option in the past has been to develop an app; which is often extremely costly, requires ongoing standalone development and if it’s a paid app, fees to the app stores.
For smaller companies, or companies without the resources to manage and fund both a website and an app, mobile performance has just been accepted as less effective, however with Progressive Web Apps we can now create an experience comparable to an app by optimising the mobile website or a section of the website that is most important for conversions.
A PWA behaves like an app to provide dynamic and interactive experiences. It can work offline, can push notifications and prompts users to add a link to their mobile homescreen, alongside their other apps.
PWAs give an online experience even when the device is offline using cached data and is really beneficial for the website in terms of SEO. It is sensible to expect online presence to also improve as a happy consequence of developing a PWA, as PWAs provide Google with many of the things it has always asked for; such as speed, clean code, descriptive content and a variety of other technical elements that tick a lot of SEO boxes.
PWAs combine the performance and capability of apps with the reach and possibility of the web.
Apps were designed to give the best experience on mobile devices, however now PWAs are an option, which one should you choose to invest in?
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