Progressive Web Apps: what mobile marketers should know
Forward-looking marketers no longer debate whether to target mobile users, but rather which approach their development team should take: 1. responsive website 2. native mobile app or 3. progressive web app (PWA).
Naturally, each platform has pluses and minuses. Responsive sites are easy to use and navigate. But, compared to a desktop user experience, it has limited functionality and an awkward search experience. Native apps can look great and work well on a mobile device, but may stifle user adoption through the thrill-killing combo of a required download, user-initiated updates, and device-type limitations (think Apple vs. Android). The newest mobile solution, PWAs, “use modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience,” says PWA originator and advocate, Google. Marketers love that PWAs are more efficient and economical than native apps, and use up less smartphone memory and data. Another draw is that they only offer one version for all device types. Such benefits may be why today’s biggest brand sites–including Starbucks, Uber, Spotify and the photo-sharing site Pinterest (which recently reported increases of 60% and 40% in core engagements and time-on-site, respectively)–have gone all-in on PWA. Should you? Not necessarily. But it’s good to be aware of all available options.