13 Reasons Why Progressive Web Apps are the Best App Type

Submitted by Candace Saunde… on 04/19/2019 - 11:00:am

Progressive web apps—while Google announced the birth of this app type in 2015, they really didn’t start taking off until this past year. Powerhouse brands, like Google, Walmart, Spotify, and more, adopted the app type, with more jumping on the progressive web app bandwagon by the day.

But what makes this ‘progressive web app’ so exciting?

We’re here to help break down the specifics, but first, let’s talk about the results. Since launching a PWA (progressive web app), Pinterest has seen a 103% increase in weekly active users, and Twitter has seen a 65% increase in pages viewed per session (Lumavate). Moreover, PWAs increase mobile traffic by an average of 68% (App Institute).

For more reason than one, many are speculating that PWAs may be the app type of the future. Here are just 13 reasons why progressive web apps are taking over, and why they might even be the right app type for you.

1. The big players are using them.

You probably first heard about PWAs from the major brands who started using them. If not, you probably have a few of these PWAs on your smartphone already: Starbucks, Uber, The Weather Channel, and Forbes are just a few examples of brands that have built a PWA.

2. It’s like an app but not an app.

Possibly the most interesting thing about PWAs is that even though the word “app” is its name, it’s really not an app at all. They may look, feel, and function like a native app, but they’re not one. The best way to describe a PWA is as a website that’s able to function outside of its browser, which lends itself to a variety of benefits.

3. Cross-platform usability.

One major difference between PWAs and native apps is that native apps don’t function across platforms. “Native” means that it’s an app designed for a specific operating system, iOS or Android. So, if your business wants a native app for every smartphone user, you’ll have to build two separate apps. But since PWAs are essentially websites, you only need to build one.

4. Much lower development costs.

So we mentioned that you need two native apps for cross-platform functionality. With that in mind, it means you’ll spend at least twice as much for a native app than any cross-platform app. On the other hand, you only need one PWA to function across platforms, which cuts costs in half. Likewise, as they are much like websites, they are much easier to create, which cuts down production time and costs even further.

5. Quick production.

In line with having lower development costs, PWAs are much quicker to roll out than most app types. As noted, unlike native apps, there’s no reason to build two separate apps, one for iOS and one for Android. In addition, as they are much like mobile responsive sites, they are often much simpler than native apps, which means they call for less development time overall. 

6. No installation required.

While PWAs can be accessed from a button on your screen, there is no installation required. Why? It’s a website. Think about it: When you open up your browser and pull up something on Google, do you need to install it? No. All you need is some data (or WiFi), and you’re good to go.

7. Offline access & operation.

Since PWAs require a browser, you may be wondering what will happen if you open a PWA on your phone without an Internet connection. The good news is that PWAs will work offline. In fact, they are known for their offline first capabilities. By caching data while the app is online, a PWA can function under conditions where an Internet connection is poor or absent.    

8. No app store necessary.

When you build a traditional mobile app, you’ll have to submit it to the app stores for approval. The Apple App Store, in particular, has very high standards for app store submissions, which can delay the release of your app significantly. With a PWA, there’s no need to worry about that: Once your PWA goes live, users can begin using it immediately.

Note: Google Play is now accepting PWAs in their app store, but submitting your PWA to the app store is not required.

9. Send those push notifications.

It may not be an app, but it offers some app features. For businesses, push notifications are possibly the most valuable tool that apps can offer. Push notifications not only increase app retention by 3x to 10x (Urban Airship), but they drive app engagement. In fact, some push notifications see up to a 40% CTR (click-through rate) (Andrew Chen). Thankfully, you can still take advantage of push notifications with a PWA.  

10. Instant, automated updates.

Since you don’t have to install a PWA, that means you don’t have to worry about updates either. Rather, every time you open your PWA (with data or WiFi, of course), it will automatically update, the same way that a website does every time you hit the “Refresh.”

11. Greater speed.

It’s fairly common knowledge that users will abandon sites with poor loading times, and the same goes for mobile apps. In fact, Google found that 53% of mobile users will abandon sites that take more than 3 seconds to load (Marketing Dive). With this in mind, PWAs are often faster than not only mobile websites but native apps!

12. Require little space & battery life.  

On average, users delete apps in less than a week of last use (eMarketer). While there are many reasons users decide to hit the “delete” button, one of the main reasons is that most apps take up an ample amount of storage space. Since PWAs don’t require installation, they take up very little space on your phone, which means more room and greater battery life.

13. SEO juice.

While PWAs function like an app, they are designed more like a website. As such, PWAs bring something new to the table: SEO. Like a website, PWAs function within a browser, making tje, candidates for being crawled by Google. Moreover, as fast, mobile responsive sites, they are already halfway to being SEO-optomizied—you just need to add the right content.

How Can You Build a Progressive Web App?

It’s possible to build a progressive web app yourself using off-the-shelf software. However, for the best results, you'll want to work with a team who can ensure that your app will help you to reach your business goals.

At ClikFocus, we’ve been building software for small to enterprise-sized businesses for over a decade. We value getting to know your mission, so we can develop a custom-tailored solution that best meets your needs. Let us know how we can help you with your project today!