The future of the web: Progressive Web Apps

By Robbie Ashton | 17 Jan 2019

It wasn’t long ago that Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) looked set to revolutionise the web by creating a web experience that was consistently quick to load, without sacrificing function across all devices. The drive behind these has been clearly demonstrated across the marketing and eCommerce industries – 53% of users will abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

Coming from a city saturated with 4G coverage, it can be hard to understand the need to constantly improve speed, but it’s important to remember that 60% of the globe is still using 2G internet – so there’s a reason why speed is a key ranking factor when it comes to SEO.


Move over, AMPs


But while AMPs used to be new and exciting, the new kid on the block is Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). PWAs combine the speed and functionality of an app with the accessibility of a mobile web page – in short, it’s an app you can access through a mobile browser. Like all web pages, they can also be saved to a user’s home screen as shortcuts, which will enable them to load instantly, regardless of signal – meaning they’re a perfect middle ground for a brand that doesn’t want to invest in a dedicated app. Other features include increased security as they’re always accessed via HTTPs, and the ability to send push notifications (which normal web pages can’t do on mobile).


Getting PWAs right is so worth it


Throughout 2018, a handful of eCommerce brands used PWAs to devastating effect. In 2017, retailer Debenhams had a mobile traffic split of 57%, but still struggled to convert mobile customers. It created a PWA in just four months, which improved the browse to purchase speed by between two and four times, according to Google. This resulted in a 40% increase in mobile revenue and a 20% increase in overall conversions.

Other brands have been clever in their use of PWA features. George At Asda increased customer time-on-site by 28% by including an “Add to Home Screen” CTA in its PWA, which increased conversions 31%. BMW increased its mobile users by 50% by using a PWA to host AMP content, allowing the brand to display high quality content with incredible loading speeds. And beauty brand, Lancôme targeted customers that added products to their basket then abandoned the transaction with push notifications when those items were on sale.

In short, PWAs are fast, exciting, and full of features to engage audiences and increase conversions in a variety of unique ways – so with that in mind, make sure to take ten minutes read up on them. It’ll be more than worth it.