Nov 11, '1910 min readby Andrijana Mrkela

7 Reasons to Invest in Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

In 2015, Google introduced PWA, a new way of delivering an immersive user experience on mobile devices without the need to install the native app. PWAs started gaining momentum and more famous companies started leveraging them.

Today, things are going a step further. PWA is now also supported on the desktop. So can we say that PWAs are the future? If so, we could say the future is already here.

If you have questions about what PWA is, and what benefits it can bring to your business, you’re in the right place. We’ll show you why you should consider investing in PWA and how it can bring you one step ahead in today’s competitive world.

What is a Progressive Web Application?

Consider a PWA to be like a perfect blend of native applications and a web page. It is a software development methodology that enables a website to act and feel like a native application, providing a seamless experience to the user.

The point of the whole effort is to remove the friction and making it easy for the user to get the information they need in a fast, reliable and secure way.

A PWA can be downloaded to your mobile home screen or a large desktop screen. Just like a native app, they can be accessed offline and load fast. They respond quickly to users’ interactions, can send push notifications and is highly discoverable, displaying wonderful marketing capabilities as a website discoverable by search engines.

By providing a better user experience we keep users entertained longer. They tend to buy more and, with push notifications, they are more likely to visit often.

Why You Should Consider Developing PWA

A seamless mobile experience is critical to success. To deliver long-term business success brands must optimize for mobile, where the majority of customers start their journey.

We’ve seen some of the characteristics of PWA and what benefits they have. But why should you invest in building a PWA instead of a mobile application or a simple responsive website?

We’ll answer that question with a short story...

Christmas time is around the corner and you’d like to purchase a gift for your special someone for Christmas. Maybe you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or maybe you’re clueless. In any case, you type your search idea in Google.

Reason 1: Since PWA acts like a website, it is discoverable by search engines, unlike native apps.

Why is this important: According to research, 81% of shoppers conduct an online search before buying, making it easier and more likely for the user to discover your product.

Let’s say you typed in “Christmas sweater”. Ok, you probably have that funky sweater in mind but bear with us a bit more.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Search results appear and you click on the first link. After waiting for a few seconds to load, and you’re ready to check some sweaters, a popup covers your screen asking you to install the shop’s native app for a better shopping experience. You may have seen a similar popup when you’ve tried to access a social media post, like a Linkedin post, over the web and not through the app when you’re on your smartphone.

Now, you’re most likely irritated. Not only the website takes some time to load, but you also need to install another app on your phone to “enhance your shopping experience”. All you wanted to do was look at some sweaters.

Reason 2: PWA doesn’t require a download, installation, and onboarding or registration on the user’s smartphone.

Why is this important? According to Comscore Mobile App Report, over 50% of America’s smartphone users download ZERO APPS a month. Further examining the top 1000 websites, they concluded that the reach of the mobile web is 2.5 times higher than the reach of the apps, while the user acquisition cost was 10 times less.

Coming back to the story, you didn’t have time to install the native app and go through the whole process of onboarding so you just went back on Google and clicked on a second link.

In less than a second, content appears showing Christmas sweaters. You scroll through and the experience is so smooth it feels like you’re using a native app. You click on the “Goofy Christmas Sweaters” category and the screen opens incredibly fast, even though you notice by your tv streaming that your internet connection is weak. The screen opens though, and there it is, a perfect sweater for your special someone.

Reason 3: PWA is extremely fast, ensuring quick access to information without a long loading speed. Additionally, by leveraging new technologies, PWAs enables users to consume the content even on inconsistent internet connections.

Why is this important? According to Google/SOASTA 2017, “the probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from one second to three seconds”. Ensuring fast loading times can ensure you’re not losing potential customers.

You are now satisfied. The journey to purchasing a sweater has been extremely enjoyable. You clicked the buy button and ordered that goofy Christmas sweater.

Along with a nice thank you page, they ask you to save their website to your home screen for faster access the next time if you decide to buy something. This is a great option; you don’t need to install it and it won’t stack unnecessary data to your phone’s memory.

Reason 4: PWA can be “installed” on the user’s home screen, just like a native app, but at the same time consuming much less time and taking much less memory space.

Why is this important? The ability to add the website to the home screen increases user’s engagement. For example, Trivago saw an increase of 150% for people who added its PWA to their home screen, which lead to a 97% increase in clickouts for hotel offers.

Satisfied with your purchase, you start working on the next item on your to-do list when suddenly there is a push notification saying they will ship your order in 24 hours. Additionally, they offer you 20% off your next purchase if you share their webshop with your friends. The entire experience goes above and beyond your expectations.

Reason 5: PWA can send push notifications to users, keeping them engaged.

Why is this important? Sending push notifications enables users to be updated on new products, services, special offers or cart recovery. For example, Lancome established an 8% increase in conversion rates on recovered carts via Push Notifications.

Reason 6: PWAs are linkable and shareable.

Why is this important? The ability to share or bookmark your website makes it far more reachable than a native app.

After such a great experience with buying from that shop, you keep wondering why all websites don’t work like that.

Looking at this from a business perspective it’s clear what benefits a company can gain from investing in PWA. There is another benefit to PWA. It’s less obvious but has a significant Return on Investment (ROI).

Reason 7: PWA Can Deliver a Faster Return of Investment

Why is this important? By using a PWA, businesses can deliver the same high-converting, app-like experience in a shorter period of time. PWAs uses web technologies and works across different OS systems, eliminating the time and knowledge spent on creating native apps for different OS systems.

This can lead to, according to research, eCommerce stores saving up to 75% off the costs of designing, developing, and maintaining a native app.

How to Get Started with PWA

The future is here. More and more companies are leveraging PWA and your business should be one of them. But where do you start? There are a few methods you can take, and we’ll help you choose the right one.

1. Building PWA from Scratch

If you are redesigning your website, are undergoing a complete rebranding, or see the need to increase your mobile conversations then it’s a perfect time to power your website with PWA!  

When building any type of website or PWA, approach it from defining a winning mobile strategy. Examine all the ways your new website will harness the power of PWA and what benefits you, as a business, will have from it, as well as the benefits your target audience will experience.

Forbes redesigned their mobile experience as a PWA which resulted in a 43% increase in sessions per user, an increase in ad viewability by 20%, and a 100% increase in engagement.

2. Implementing PWA into an existing website

If you already have a website that performs great across desktops, there is no need to ditch it. You can always approach mobile performance by implementing PWA on it.

Considering the time and budget you have, you can decide on implementing a full-featured PWA or decide to implement select parts that have critical value to the user and provide the most benefit to your business.

BMW turned its main website to a PWA, which resulted in quadrupled the number of people clicking from to a BMW sales site and contributed to a 50% growth in mobile users.

Post PWA Launch | How to Measure Success

Just like with any project, after launching a PWA you’ll want to track key performance indicators (KPIs) as defined in your initial strategy. Here are a few recommended metrics to consider tracking to evaluate the success of the PWA.

1. Performance

Improvements in site speed is a common benefit after implementing a PWA. But you shouldn’t stop there. There are some key metrics you can track and analyze in order to improve the results of the PWA further, such as:

  • First Contentful Paint (FCP) - the measurement of time passed from navigation to the time that the first bit of content is rendered from the DOM. It can break or elevate UX, giving the feeling to the user the website is loading
  • Time to Interactive (TTI) - this metric shows how long it takes for the page to become interactive. In simpler terms, how long it takes for the user to see content and can interact with it.
  • Speed Index. This metric shows how quickly the contents of a page are visibly populated. The shorter it takes, the lower the score, the better it is.

2. New Acquisitions

As we’ve seen previously in the article, some of the benefits companies who implemented PWA experience are new acquisitions and a decrease in bounce rates. You’ll want to monitor PWA performance across these criteria metric to see which parts of the PWA keeps the user interactive the most.

3. User Engagement

After implementing PWA, Forbes experienced a 100% increase in engagement. So how can you track engagement?

You can track engagement by how many users added your PWA to the mobile screen and how often they visit your website in comparison to the number of users who visit your website from a browser.

Furthermore, you can track the CTR of push notifications you send to users. You can track how much time the users that received push notifications spent on your website compared to the period of time users who didn’t receive push notifications spent on your website.

4. Conversions

One of the most important reasons companies invest in building a PWA is increased conversions. Depending on your brand goals you can track metrics like lead generation, average order value, return sessions, etc.

Closely monitoring what happens after the launch will help you identify areas of success and help you make informed decisions for further improvements.

It’s Your turn

PWA enables brands to deliver faster, more engaging, secure and reliable experiences that keep users coming back for more. It can result in increased brand awareness, longer user sessions, more frequent visits, and increased conversions.

The decision to invest in new technology is one of the most important decisions for any business. This article used storytelling and real-world examples to show how you can be a part of the future, improve your mobile strategy and start gaining the users you might be missing.

So when you decide it’s the right time to leverage PWA for your brand, give us a shout and let’s do it together.

- about the author
Author avatar

Andrijana Mrkela

Andrijana is an experienced UX Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the industry. Skilled in Digital Strategy, Wireframing, UX Design, UI Design, and Prototyping, she is a strong problem solver and creative thinker, who loves cooking, photography, and DIY crafts.

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