Progressive web apps have picked up the pace and have been challenging the effectiveness of native apps, for quite some time now. Gone are the days where the web was weak and mobile apps were all the rave.
Businesses that once were hurrying to create a mobile app to reach their target audience and increase ROI, are now contemplating investing in a progressive web app, instead. So, what happened?
User behavior happened; which dictated the death of native apps. Yes, quite the strong statement here. You must have raised your eyebrows too. It is understandable. After all, mobile applications were once users gravitated towards and preferred over websites.
However, now, they are have outgrown the apps and barely use any except the entertainment, social media, and gaming apps that remain the top consumed types of application. Other than that, even if an app gets download, statistics prove that users either abandon the app entirely or do that after using it for less than a month.
So unless your app is as exciting as a new game, or provides some sort of entertainment, then you have a lot of work ahead convincing the users to not just download but engage with it daily or weekly. A costly gamble, indeed.
This is where progressive web apps step in; “The Future”
There are several questions floating around regarding PWAs, but first, let us be clear on what these web apps are.
What is a Progressive Web App?
In the simplest of forms, a PWA can be defined as a web app that makes use of modern technologies to deliver an app-like experience. With an app-shell model, these web apps provide app-style navigation and interactions amongst many other things.
Coming to those “many other things”, these progressive web apps provide the following:
- They are responsive because they fit any screen size, be it of a mobile, tablet, desktop, or a phablet.
- PWAS operate using HTTPS, which makes them safe and prevent any snooping attempt.
- They can work offline, or even on low-quality connections thanks to the service workers.
- Always up-to-date because of the service worker update process.
- Easily shareable as they are identified through URLs.
- They can be kept on the home screen with an icon just like an app for quick access.
- PWAs are indexed like a website that improves its ranking on search engines.
Best PWA example to quote? Take Starbucks for example. Users can customize their orders, add items to their cart, all while being offline. Once the connection is restored, they can make the order. How convenient!
Hopefully, this must-have given you a clear idea of what a PWA is. Now, coming back to those questions that have looming over the heads of many. Are PWAs the future? Will they replace native apps entirely?
The answer is, YES, to a certain extent. To support this answer, let us consider a few arguments.
Native Apps take the majority of screen time, so what gives?
Yes, native apps still stay victorious and take up the majority of screen-time; nearly 80%. However, when you go to the root of the matter, you find that those apps are either Facebook or any other owned by Facebook.
Even you yourself either scroll away on Facebook or chat on WhatsApp or sending hearts on Instagram. Now, after the usual apps, who bothers with the rest of the ones rotting in our phones?
The user behavior is quite self-explanatory here. The numbers for native apps are great but for the top 5 apps that are dominating the world at large.
With this said, there is no denying that users do not prefer to interact with a mobile web browser to view a responsive website. So, native apps are dying and people don’t like the web browser interfaces. Where are we going with this? To the PWAs.
PWAs sport an app-like look and experience; bridging the gap between both platforms whilst being fast and convenient.
Native apps fail to retain users
Getting a massive number of downloads after the app launch no longer determines its long-term success. It’s the returning users and daily active users that make it useful and successful.
In order to keep the users interested enough to keep coming back, the marketing team devises all sorts of campaigns and whatnot. All in all, there is a lot that goes into keeping an app afloat before it is abandoned.
Generating revenue through in-app purchases and through ad-clicks is a whole another story that often results in failure if your user-engagement is null. A wasted investment and that too, a hefty one.
PWAs on the other hand, do not require to be downloaded. So, the headache of getting the target audience to download your app is gone. Next, users can sav the PWAs on their home screens associated with an icon, allowing them to quickly access. Moreover, even if they don’t, neither is the app losing any visibility and neither are the users forgetting about the brand.
It’s all about the convenient experience, and a browser-based progressive web app provides just that without eating away storage and battery of the mobile. Not to mention, the offline access makes it all the better for the users.
Now with two biggest cons of having a native app out of the way, let’s explore what more do PWAs have in store for businesses?
PWAs have a broader reach and the power to rank in search
For starters, since Google indexes them like any other website, you have chances to rank at the top. This, in turn, will increase brand visibility. Because unlike native apps, you are not only reaping the benefits of having a mobile app like a website but also tapping into the powers of ranking in search engines.
Native apps are restricted when it comes to reach and have to ultimately rely on a landing web page for better visibility. However, PWAs, depending on the quality of your SEO, can easily rank – automatically increasing its reach to a broader audience that isn’t platform restricted like iOS or Android.
A PWA can be accessed from any device as long as there’s is a browser.
PWAs are cheaper to build and still generate more revenue than a native app
So, your brand or business is ranking in the search engine(s), reaching a wider audience, and getting a high return on investment (ROI)? All this from a web app that was fairly cheaper than the average cost of a mobile app? PWAs mean business, no doubt.
Unlike mobile apps, where app stores eat away much of the revenue you make through in-app purchases, paid downloads, in-app ads, and whatnot with their hefty fees; PWAs have no such fee to worry about.
- The revenue that is generated from your PWAs is yours to keep.
- It is cheaper to develop and any custom software development company in Houston would be glad to take on the project for you.
- Maintaining and updating are required but are easy and hassle-free compared to app stores.
- You can inject the update in a live PWA and it immediately shows without crashing it.
- You have more creative control and scaling these apps with more features as the business grow is also convenient.
For the shorter version; consider this insightful infographic.
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<p><strong>Please include attribution to https://www.koderlabs.co with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href=’https://www.koderlabs.com/blog/progressive-web-apps-vs-native-apps/’><img src=’https://www.koderlabs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Progressive-Web-Apps-VS-Native-Apps-1.png’ alt=’PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS VS NATIVE APPS’ width=’700′ border=’0′ /></a></p>
Progressive Web Apps are definitely the future many businesses can rely on
With a user-friendly interface, mobile-like features, and the overall value it adds to the user experience; progressive web apps are a great solution.
It’s a win-win solution where businesses are generating more revenue, getting better reach and visibility, ranking on search, and investing a smaller sum compared to the hefty amount required to not just make a mobile app but also the many marketing campaigns one has to run to increase reach and conversions.
The trend of PWA is bound to grow further.