Mobile Internet usage has now surpassed desktop Internet usage. Needless to say, most if not all companies need mobile-friendly websites. But how does a business know which device to prioritize? Native applications, responsive sites, mobile sites – there are so many options.

Even if your website has a responsive design and it can be viewed on all types of devices, it’s often only an adaptation of your desktop version. The disadvantage with that is that almost all of the weight of the desktop version will load on the device. The result? On average, display time for the mobile site will take around 19 seconds. And that’s a problem – more than half of Internet users leave the page if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Applications account for 50% of time spent online

In June 2017, ComScore conducted a study in the United States that showed that the average user spends 2.3 hours per day on mobile apps. And almost half of our Internet use is on the phone.

However, two thirds of this time is dedicated to entertainment, like instant messaging and social networks, with Facebook coming out on top.

applications mobiles

In the near future there will be 5 million native applications available in the app store. On average, there are 29 applications installed on any given cell phone. And as we stated before, a user will dedicate ⅔ of his time to only two or three of those apps. So how will your application fare against Candy Crush and Messenger?

We know that when someone buys a cell phone, he will probably download the applications he needs and/or the apps that are most popular in the app store. But what then?

51% of users won’t download any additional applications

This poses a big problem for businesses. Even if your application is a success, with so much competition, the challenge lies in standing out from the crowd and being optimized for search engines. And that’s without considering the high acquisition cost. According to Chartboost’s figures as of October 2017, the average acquisition cost per install (CPI) for an app was, on average, $2.72 USD in Canada. Knowing that the average retention rate after 30 days is 25%, the average acquisition cost would then be $272 USD for 25 users…

So on the one hand, we have users who want to benefit from the application experience without actually having to download the app and on the other, we have websites that are being asked to offer high-performing mobile sites but then face a number of challenges: download speed, ergonomics, application SEO, CPI and visitor engagement…

Does all this have you wondering what could possibly meet the needs of both Internet users and businesses? The answer is: progressive web apps (PWA).

What are progressive web apps (PWA)?

PWAs combine the best of a website and the best of a native application. Google coined the term progressive web applications for “app-like” sites that are reliable, fast and appealing. They are an all-in-one solution for web developers to create a single version website/app that can be delivered across all devices. Ideally, they should make your site more user-friendly for mobile users, both online and offline.

Unlike native applications, PWAs are directly accessible via web browsers instead of being downloaded in the app store.

Do I really need a progressive web app?

A powerful marketing tool

PWAs have numerous features that make them a superior choice:

Push notifications that can increase traffic and engagement

Push notifications are sent to users who have signed up to receive them. They are short messages that appear on the user’s screen. When they are used the right way and targeted properly, they can generate traffic when you want to notify customers about new content or a new promotion and build user loyalty.

Installing the PWA icon on the home screen

Browsers encourage users to install PWAs on their phone’s home screen. It’s similar to installing an icon for faster and easier access to the site.

SEO friendly

PWAs allow you to preserve the SEO of your website. This means that your app and its content can be found on Google, unlike a native application.

Cost

No more waiting for submission deadlines, paying 30% commission or doing ASO (App Store Optimization) to increase your visibility on the mobile app stores. Development costs for PWAs are cheaper than a mobile app and the maintenance costs are lower too.

Improve user experience with progressive web apps

By combining the best of mobile sites and applications, PWAs deliver an unparalleled user experience. PWAs allow ultra fast display to offer an immersive experience in full screen (bye bye address bar). And no need to download the application to your mobile, freeing up storage space. Some PWAs can even be used without an Internet connection. Last but not least, its weight means that users consume up to 10 times less data.

 

Is a PWA right for you?

There are some major websites that have hoped on the PWA bandwagon including Pinterest, Uber and Instagram. News, e-commerce and social media websites were among the first to see the value of PWAs. They certainly seem to meet the requirements of the Mobile First Index and user expectations. Choosing to use a PWA can be particularly interesting if you have a site with information that needs to be updated on a regular basis (prices, stock, real-time data – like the weather), if your site generates a lot of content or if your visitors are likely to extract data and browse offline (a news application or blog publishing many different articles daily).