Are progressive web apps the future of mobile marketing strategy?
Every business needs a way to connect with its customers and engage with them regularly. Amongst the multiple choices, the most common ways are
- A website that can be accessed via a mobile’s browser, and/or,
- A mobile app that can be downloaded and used.
While websites use the features of the browsers to their advantage such as giving plugins, access to community etc., mobile apps use the mobile’s resources to their advantage by being fast and available, even offline. Now, what if you wanted the best features from both these methods? Well, that’s progressive apps for you.
TheProgressive web app(PWA)is a methodology that takes advantage of the best features of modern browsers while simultaneously attempting to give a rich mobile experience. It is a hybrid of the website and mobile app features. A methodology that big players like Twitter and Ali Baba have adopted with great success.
What is a Progressive Web App?
A fairly new term coined in 2015, Progressive Apps describes mobile apps that can take advantage of the features of modern browsers while retaining the benefits of getting upgraded to their native OS.
The following are the must-have features for an app to be considered as a progressive app, it must be:
- Progressive – obvious feature, which essentially means it must work for every user irrespective of which browser he uses. Progressive enhancement web design strategy is used to create the Progressive apps.
- Responsive –Multiple device friendly, the app must be accessible via mobile, tablet or any future new format of usage.
- Independent of connectivity – Low connectivity or no connectivity, users must be able to use the apps in both the cases. Progressive apps use Service Workers to help them leverage the Native app benefit of using the app offline.
- Packaged as an App – From the user’s perspective, it must look and feel like an app, the user should get the benefit of interactions and navigations, just like in a native app.
- Up-to-date – the advantage of websites are the frequency and ease with which content gets updated. Users get fresh and up-to-date content. Progressive apps can use Service workers to simulate websites in giving fresh content.
- Safe –HTTPSusage to provide website like security. Prevents online snooping and ensures data security.
- Discoverable – owing to the W3C manifest (which gives information such as name, author, icon, and description in a JSON text file), the progressive app will be considered as an application. Concurrently, the service worker registration scope will also allow the progressive app to be found by search engines just as they find websites.
- Re-engageable – mobile apps have the advantage of features like push notifications to keep the users engaged and encourage more usage of the app. Such features form a core part of progressive apps as well.
- Installable – Once accessed the users must be able to install the app right on their home screen, they shouldn’t have to search the app in app stores.
- Linkable – The apps must be easy to install and must be easy to share with others via links, just as you would share a website link.
Google and Apple on Progressive apps
In the recent Google chrome summit, Google signaled at going big in the progressive app space. Main reason is the substantial reach chrome has on the mobile users. With over 2 Billion chrome instances active, the browser might well be the icon people reach in the mobile for all their app and browsing requirements.
While Google is going all out on progressive web apps, Apple has still kept PWA in under consideration bracket, but Industry pundits are positive that the day is not far when Apple will revolutionize the PWA space. Though iOS doesn’t support all PWA features yet, PWAs have been found to work better in iOS than their native websites.
Should you invest in a progressive app?
The advantage of a progressive web app is that users can start using it immediately, unlike in native apps where the users have to find, download, install it and then finally use it. But, like native apps, progressive apps have the advantage of push notifications which have been proved to achieve up to three times more retention, also the apps are faster owing to the usage of resources on the mobile device.
Hence progressive app gives you the advantage of a native app, like performance, user retention, and offline usage, while staying away from native apps’ pain points.
Similarly, progressive app inculcates the best features of a responsive website, such as access via any browser, latest updates, and security.
Hence, with the best of both the website and mobile apps world, the progressive app is a win-win for both the customers and businesses.
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