#native, #native mobile app, #PWA, #web app
26 April 2021
Julianna Sykutera

Why is it worth investing in PWA for your business?

For those wondering – what is PWA – PWA is an acronym for “Progressive Web Apps”. The best way to describe it, a PWA is a website with the look and feel of an app. PWA apps are designed to work on any browser and from whatever device (phone, tablet, laptop). This means they are able to adapt to any screen size without losing usability. Many businesses also offer the possibility of installing a PWA to a device, thereby enabling even easier access for users. 

But, what’s the big deal? Why are more and more businesses opting for PWA instead of apps? Or in other words, why use PWA for your business at all?

PWA vs native apps

PWA and native apps are developed on entirely different platforms using different programming languages. Without getting into the technicalities, let’s see what are the essential differences between the two. 

Native apps 

Native apps are applications developed for specific platforms (Android and iOS) and can be downloaded for use with all its content from the relevant app store. These are the apps most of us use on a daily basis on our phones and tablets. Some pros and cons of native apps are:

Pros

  • Excellent interface and user experience (more user-friendly).
  • More features compared to PWA apps.
  • More secure.
  • Suitable for complex applications.

Cons

  • Longer development time and higher development costs.
  • Constant updates and maintenance.

PWA apps 

As I said in the beginning, PWA are websites which you can access through any of your browsers, but made to work like a native app. What does this mean in regards to PWA characteristics and performance?

Pros

  • Availability on all devices, regardless of platform.
  • Content can be accessed much faster, as users do not have to download the PWA.
  • Users don’t need to worry about updating, they always have access to the updated version.
  • Requires much less data to run, and uses much less device memory.
  • PWA are linkable, can be easily shared and forwarded using messaging services.
  • PWA can be found faster or better than native apps, making a brand more easily discoverable.

Cons

  • While there is a possibility to download and access the PWA from a device, the option to do so is not yet visible and obvious, especially on iOS devices.
  • Limited use of push notifications (at this time).
  • It is not easily possible to monetize an application with a PWA.

How are PWA useful for businesses?

PWA apps are predicted to seize a larger part of the market in the coming years. Many of the most popular global companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Alibaba, etc. have successfully incorporated PWA into their business. Twitter, for example, managed to significantly increase the site’s performance, since their PWA – much smaller in size than the Twitter app – reduced data required to upload the website by 70%. Thus, they were able to increase the number of tweets by up to 75%! 

There are many other reasons why a business could opt for a PWA instead of a native app, or even develop PWA alongside their native app:

  • Limited budget for app development: Especially for startups for which native apps are not top priority, PWA apps offer a less costly but very effective alternative.
  • Need for a cross-platform app to reach a larger audience: No need to choose between Android and iOS, or break the bank developing for both!
  • Businesses want to be easily accessible in places with low internet connectivity: For example, this applies to many developing countries which don’t have 4G technology. PWA can load fast even on 2G networks!
  • Businesses want to optimize page opening speed: Studies repeatedly show that page speed significantly impacts business metrics and has a direct correlation to sales.
  • PWA apps are much simpler and often better solutions for online shops and media outlets: Once installed on a device, the data can be accessed even without an internet connection, using cached data saved from the previous visit. 
  • Businesses want to utilize the power of push notifications: While iOS still does not offer the possibility of push notifications, Android users can already receive them.

Why do you need PWA for your business?

For the users, it’s all about their experience!

  • Mobile users prefer using apps to browsers, as the former are much more user-friendly. PWA combine the best of website performance and the native app visual experience.
  • Many users have limited storage capacity on their devices. Many times, if they do not find the app essential, they will not download it. PWA solves this conundrum as a downloaded icon leading to the website takes up minimal space on the phone (less than 1 MB), yet offers instant accessibility.
  • Users want speed and reliable performance. They don’t want to wait ages for the website/app to open only for it to crash a few minutes later. PWA have proven to be fast and dependable solutions for many businesses. 

How does improving customer experience impact your business? PWAs have shown to directly add value to businesses by increasing their mobile traffic and the average session duration. This leads to increased engagement and page views, which increases the conversion rates by a significant amount! There’s more bang for your buck in PWAs than any other type of digital marketing – your ROI is not only instantaneous, but you also get a bigger slice of the pizza!

In the end, it all depends on the type of business and who the users are. The choice is more nuanced than simply googling “PWA vs native”. Each has its own characteristics, use cases, and advantages/disadvantages. Many companies choose to utilize both. It depends on what you want and need for your business. However, it is undeniable that as the users become more sophisticated in their needs, and as the digital competition keeps rising, the need for and the popularity of PWAs shall rise exponentially. PWA is the future, and investing in the future means good business practices! 

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