The Benefits of a Progressive Web App

What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?

  • Twitter saw a 65% increase in Page Views, and a 20% decrease in bounce rates.
  • Forbes saw a 100% increase in average session time & 20% more page views
  • Pinterest saw a massive 46% increase in time on site & a 60% increase in engagement
  • Starbucks had complete “Feature Parity” with their native app (means all of the same features were available on the PWA as their native app) with a massive 99.84% decrease in app size… Yes, their PWA is 0.16% the size of their native app, with all the same features..

So, what are the benefits?

  1. Zero Install
    Because a PWA is just a website, there are no downloads required. Simply send your users a link, over text, email, Facebook, Instagram, wherever. This completely eliminates the typical drop off of App Store apps. Once your users are on your PWA, you can prompt them to install, from which point the app will be on their home screen alongside all the other native apps!
  2. Instant Updates
    Although review queues have improved quite significantly for Apple over the years–with an average of 50% of apps reviewed in 24 hours and over 90% reviewed in 48 hours (according to Apple)–there are still cases where it may take 4-5 days. And that’s assuming your app gets approved. Apple announced they rejected ~1 million apps in 2020. Google warned developers at the start of Covid in March 2020 that review times would likely slow to 7 days or more (which we experienced ourselves). By being on the free and open web, your changes and updates will instantly go live. No middle man, no review queues. The power is in your hands.
  3. Installable to your Home Screen just like a native app
    As mentioned, PWAs can be easily installed to your phone’s home screen, with your app icon and app name. If configured correctly, when the user opens the app, it will be indistinguishable from a regular native app–no browser window, just your app in full screen.
  4. Tiny File Size
    Because PWAs installed to a phone’s home screen are really just a bookmark to a website, they are tiny in comparison to native apps. Remarkably, Starbucks PWA is 0.16% the size of their native app, with 100% feature parity. Installing a PWA is more or less instant, with little to no storage space required.
  5. Discoverable & Search Engine Optimised (SEO)
    Because PWAs are web-based, they can be indexed by search engines meaning your app content can be searched on Google and other search engines. Furthermore, every page within your app is discoverable since they are simply web pages.
  6. A Single Code Base
    iOS and Android are completely different operating systems, supporting completely different programming languages. This means to build a fully native iOS and Android app you need to work on two vastly different codebases. This translates to time, money & headaches x 2.
    In delivering to the web, you just need to build and maintain the web version. From there, it is available on both iOS and Android instantly, but also desktop computers, laptops, tablets, TVs, etc. One platform and one codebase, available everywhere. Not only does this improve discoverability and accessibility, but it also dramatically reduces your development costs, since web developers are much more common than Android of iOs developers and you are developing a single codebase.
  7. No Apple or Google Transaction Fees
    Apple and Google take up to 30% of every transaction that occurs in your app, with many apps being rejected for trying to skirt their payment gateway. This is 30% of your top line revenue, that you either need to cop, or forward onto your users. With a web app, you can make use of much more affordable and open payment platforms like Stripe and PayPal.
  8. Available Offline
    Using what’s known as “service workers”, Progressive Web Apps can be set up to “cache” data and assets on your phone. This dramatically improves performance (as images don’t need to be downloaded each time), but it also has the added benefit of rendering the app with limited or no internet connection.
  9. Deep Linking
    With native apps, linking to content within the app requires the app to be downloaded first. If it’s not downloaded, the user will first have to download the app and often, won’t end up where you were trying to send them. In comparison, deep linking in PWAs is seamless since every page is a URL and there are no downloads required.
  10. Seamless Onboarding from Social Media channels
    With a PWA, you can link directly to your app from Instagram, etc. and create a seamless journey for new users. With a native app, you need to figure out a journey to have your users download the app first which will look different for both Android and iOs users.

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