The Growth of Progressive Web Applications – PWA

Progressive Web App – What?

If we combine the best of the web and the best of mobile apps—it will be Progressive Web Apps or PWA. Progressive web apps are websites that look and feel like an app, load quicker, and are easier to develop. This means users can access all information and capabilities without downloading a mobile app.  It starts as a normal web page in a browser, and as a user explores the web page, they get the prompt if they would like to “Add to Home Screen”. Once the user gives the thumbs up to this prompt, VOILA! The PWA gets added to their home screen just like an app. Once open from the home screen, it can even hide the browser UI controls and appear as an app.

PWAs have managed to bridge the gap in the web between the web and mobile apps much more than a .bookmark would.  More than 40% of the users bounce from the websites that take more than three seconds to load. PWA is a solution for this “Web Speed Epidemic” faced by many companies. 

Why is this it important?

It is a myth that the users will happily download the app of every website they visit frequently. The Mobile App Report by Comscore shows that over 50% of America’s smart phone users download zero apps a month. Yes, that’s correct, gone are the days when the phone is full of apps and people-smart phone honeymoon phase is getting depleted. Additional, there is a drop of off 20% of users with each step it takes to step to download an app. Progressive Web Apps reduce the steps between discovery of an app and getting it on the home screen and thereby eliminates friction of getting an app installed. This provides a very fertile ground for businesses to pitch in their PWA.

PWA helps to improve conversions by increasing potential reach with low acquisition costs.  For example:

Increasing Reach: Comscore reports the reach of mobile web is 2.5 times more than that of mobile apps (while considering the top 1000 sites and apps). This is the reason why many corporate plans to abandon their website for an “app only” model has backfired. Now, if companies can start to provide a better experience to a wider audience, they could surely get a competitive edge over the others.

Higher Acquisition: Another serious concern faced by the mobile apps are their user discoverability compared to websites. The user acquisition cost of web will be 10 times cheaper than that of native apps. With more exposure and low friction for on-boarding, PWA is likely to acquire more users at very less expense.

Higher Conversion Rates: The end user experience increases greatly with PWA because it improves the number of successful conversions. Many apps report delivering an increase in the conversion rate of near 70% with lower acquisition cost.

Case Studies:

Trivago: An increase of over 150% for Trivago’s PWA for people who added it to their home screen. This increased engagement led to a 97% increase for hotel offer clickouts. Now, users who go offline (while they are browsing), can continue to access the site and of these users, 67% continue to browse even when they come back online.
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Uber: The PWA Uber designed was directed to their 2G users. Their core app is so small is is only 50k gzipped and loads in 3 seconds on 2G networks.
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Pinterest: Recently Pinterest rebuild their whole mobile site as a PWA. This increased core engagements by 60%, and an increase of 44% in user-generated ad revenue. Time spend on the site has increased by over 40%.
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Forbes: The magazine recently developed a Progressive Web App to improve its mobile web user experience. The Progressive Web App increased load times and doubled engagement rates through the use of push notifications and an option to add the Progressive Web App to home screens.

  • 43% increase in sessions per user
  • 20% increase in impressions per page
  • 100% increase in engagement rates
  • 6x increase in the number of readers completing articles

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