Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) may sound like complicated jargon that only software engineers and CTO’s should be aware of, but anyone tasked with business growth, acquisition, and conversion should be aware of their benefits.
First, many of us may not be aware of the difference between a Web App and a website. Definitions differ, but basically, a Web App allows for interaction while a website simply provides information. The difference, primarily, is in the way a property is built. If you want your website to provide tailored content, interaction, and easy purchasing, you may be better off creating a Web App, which will require greater development time and expertise.
A Progressive Web App is more advanced than a basic Web App in that it provides a seamless experience for users regardless of device or browser. Google, the primary backer of PWAs, outlines their features as such:
- Progressive – Works for every user, regardless of browser choice because it’s built with progressive enhancement as a core tenet.
- Responsive – Fits any form factor: desktop, mobile, tablet, or whatever is next.
- Connectivity independent – Enhanced with service workers to work offline or on low-quality networks.
- Native/Mobile App-like – Feels like an app, because the app shell model separates the application functionality from application content.
- Fresh – Always up-to-date thanks to the service worker update process.
- Safe – Served via HTTPS to prevent snooping and to ensure content hasn’t been tampered with.
- Discoverable – Is identifiable as an “application” thanks to W3C manifest and service worker registration scope, allowing search engines to find it.
- Re-engageable – Makes re-engagement easy through features like push notifications.
- Installable – Allows users to add apps they find most useful to their home screen without the hassle of an app store.
- Linkable – Easily share the application via URL, does not require complex installation.
Sounds great, right? More than just reducing friction for users, the features of Progressive Web Apps are also huge wins for marketers.
PWAs Truly Put ‘Mobile First’
Being able to provide users with a seamless experience from desktop to mobile device regardless of platform is a gigantic bonus for anyone with a digital presence. It allows a company the ability to provide a unified brand experience as well as a frictionless shopping and buying experience. Enacting a Progressive Web App strategy also sets a company up for long-term success because it will display well on any device, even those not created yet.
One Shareable Property to Promote
Not having to promote multiple properties, instruct users in how to add an app and making sure it is updated is a huge weight off the shoulders of all brands. Because PWAs are discoverable in search, this ups the chances that your single property is found by users in the moment that they need it, not in the time you’re promoting it.
Continued Engagement Made Simple
Once a user accepts the invitation to add your PWA to their home screen, you’ll be able to engage with them without email using push notifications. Users will be able to obtain the right information at the right time based on geographic location, availability of new offers, and always be on top of benefits that you offer that they’d like. No more costly re-engagement email campaigns or need to push them to check out ‘what’s new’ in your app.
Creating a Global Ease of Use
Because PWAs are ‘connectivity independent’ and require less space on a user’s device, they are perfectly suited for global markets where low-quality internet is the norm. They provide an offline first experience, which allows users in these networks the ability to shop and begin engagements like filling out forms and will sync when they are connected again.
User and customer experience via mobile matter more now than ever. If brands and companies cannot be found and load easily via search and provide a user journey that is frictionless, regardless of network or device, they stand to lose out on customers and influencers alike.