October 24, 2017 | Product Development | by Christopher Hendrickson

Should You Develop A Progressive Web App?

Many people with a stake in the world of digital believe that Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are the future of the web. And with good reason. Here are 8 reasons you should develop a Progressive Web App.

What Are Progressive Web Apps?
Progressive Web Apps offer native app experiences and features that were previously unavailable on the web, such as offline access and push notifications. PWAs offer these features without the inconvenience, large file sizes, and constant updates of native apps.

What’s more, Progressive Web Apps are easy to add to the homescreen, and also improve the quality and consistency of user experiences across devices by giving developers the opportunity to focus on one codeset.

But what other benefits are there for publishers?

Why Should I Develop A Progressive Web App?

Reason #1: Responsive = Engage with diverse audiences on any device
PWAs are designed to perform fluidly and quickly on all browsers and devices, helping publishers to reach audiences in new markets and on new devices, regardless of bandwidth. By 2019 there will be an estimated 5.07 billion mobile phone users, representing new potential audiences ready to engage with your content.

Reason #2: Small size = Higher downloads and lifetime engagement
Large app sizes can be a big turn-off for readers. Those large numbers also make those apps the perfect target when users run out of space on a device and need to delete dead weight. Take a look at the average size of apps and PWAs:

  • Android: 11.5MB
  • iOS: 37.9MB
  • PWA: 350KB

PWAs are very lightweight, and this should mean they are less likely to be deleted.

Reason #3: Easy to add to the screen & linkable = Higher readership levels
Today, the average adult within the U.S. downloads an average of 0 native apps per month. At each stage of the installation process, 20% of users abandon the download. At a time when the use of native applications is dropping, Progressive Web Apps are easy to add to the home screen with just a couple of clicks. They are easy to share too, making readers even more likely to find and download your application.

Reason #4: Service worker background updates = Smoother UX
Service Workers mean that your application can be updated in the background, without your readers having to download very large updates. This will keep your app looking fantastic with all the latest features and content, without the need for the headache surrounding app updates.

Reason #5: Push Notifications = Strong re-engagement
PWAs allow you to send push notifications to readers. This feature empowers publishers with the ability to harness the power of the web to fight against audience segmentation, and address their audience together. When you break the next big story or produce that immaculate piece, you can put an end to segmentation and extend your reach across the web, letting your loyal audience know in a way that grabs their attention. The benefits are clear:

Weekly notifications could increase 90-day app retention by 2x on iOS and 6x on Android.
High-value notifications can increase app retention by 2x on iOS and 6x on Android.

Reason #6: Offline capabilities = Constant engagement
Service workers make it possible for your PWA to work offline or in areas of low connectivity. Given the importance of “The Next Billion” and the devices and bandwidths they will be browsing on, this can connect you with new audiences both online and offline.

Reason #7: Discoverable = Attract new audiences
PWAs are easily identified as applications and can be indexed by search engines, meaning that your app can be found in search engine results by new and existing audiences alike.

Reason #8: HTTPS & Enhanced Security = Stronger reader trust
HTTPS is required to enable the emerging technology and APIs (such as service workers) that make PWAs possible. This means that PWAs are very safe and secure, and your readers can be safe in the knowledge that you run a quality publication that takes their security into account.


A Note on Apple’s Shifting Relationship with Service Workers
Service Workers are the script that browsers can run in the background – separate from a web page – to unlock the functionality of devices such as push notifications and background synchronization. Apple does not currently support Service Workers. But that might change soon. Check out our post on Apple’s relationship with Service Workers to find out more.


Where do you stand on Progressive Web Apps – do you currently have one? How is it working for you? This post from App Institute gives you guidance on “How to Pitch PWAs to Your Boss”, and is a great way to learn about articulating the benefits of PWAs internally.

Or would you like to create one but you are not sure where to get started? Feel free to contact us to discuss your existing PWA, or how Marfeel can help you to create one.

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