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I don’t need to tell you that people are glued to their mobile devices. Whether it’s the oblivious millennial almost becoming roadkill while checking Instagram or the modern family hunched over devices at the dinner table, this is crack for the twenty-first century. The average person spends three hours per day on a smartphone or tablet. If you want to get to your customers, you have to tailor your application to their mobile experience.

Traditionally, that has meant building a Native or Hybrid Mobile App. While they are still the defacto standard for mobile, Progressive Web Apps (PWA) have quickly carved out a significant presence and should be strongly considered for any new mobile project.

What are Progressive Web Apps? Think of them like a website on steroids. A Progressive Web App delivers many of the same features as a Native Mobile App while being served up within the web browser. Here are six compelling reasons why you should opt for a Progressive Web App over Native Mobile.

Lower development cost

Unless you are keen on cutting your user base in half, you’ll need to develop a Native app for both iOS and Android to support both sets of users. Building two apps stretch out the development timeline and require having two teams of developers to accommodate the different skill sets needed. This translates into a more expensive project where you effectively get one app for the price of two. Progressive Web Apps are similar to Hybrid Mobile Apps where you build it once, and it runs everywhere.

Plug into device features

One of the biggest reasons to build a Native or Hybrid Mobile App is to take advantage of all the hardware features built into the phone or tablet. A website can’t keep operating after it loses its Internet connection, and it can’t deliver push notifications. Progressive Web Apps can. Here are a few of the Native app functions PWA supports:

  • Can operate offline with IndexedDB
  • Deliver push notifications
  • Take advantage of Geolocation
  • Has access to the camera

While PWA supports an impressive array of features, certain key functions are not presently supported which can be a deal breaker. If your app needs access to Bluetooth, fingerprint scanning, NFC or inter-app communication, Native is going to be the best bet.

Leverage existing SEO

After ten or twenty years on the web, companies have naturally accrued links from industry partners, countless press releases, oodles of social goodness and maybe that coveted feature in Forbes. This translates into an SEO footprint that has been painstakingly built and not easily replicated.

Ready to start over in the App Store? There are over two million apps in the Google Play and Apple’s App Store. It can be exceedingly difficult to stand out from the crowd as a new app. By opting for a Progressive Web App, companies can use their existing SEO footprint to harness traffic around critical keywords that drive their business.

Talents of current development team

If you have a website or support web applications then you no doubt have web developers. It does not matter if your front-end developers subscribe to the religion of Angular, React or Vue. Progressive Web Apps can leverage the same technologies that your website does, allowing developers to plug right in. Often, existing APIs and frontend templates can be reused to accelerate development, and your team is in their happy place working with web standards instead of the unknown jungles of iOS and Android developer kits.

No downloads, no App Store

There are few things more painful than submitting an app to the App Store or Google Play. There are so many hoops to jump through to get an app queued up for review. Then, Apple or Google could reject it for any number of reasons or pull it from their store altogether for not continuing to meet their “quality guidelines.”

Once you get it in the App Store, you are introduced to a few ominous realities. One in four users will open your app once and never open it again. The majority of people download zero new apps per month. These are soul sucking realizations to say the least.

With PWA, you can wrap your app up for distribution through the App Store or Google Play, but the most common access point is the web. That means your app is always on, always updated and can be easily saved out to the mobile desktop, affording the same access enjoyed by any mobile app.

Trust the numbers ·

  • The Washington Post increased their load times by 88 percent (400 milliseconds) and saw a 23 percent boost in mobile web users returning within seven days.
  • Trivago abandoned their Native app for PWA and witnessed 150 percent boost in engagement.
  • Twitter Lite went PWA which translated into 75 percent more Tweets sent, a 65 percent increase in pages per session and 20 percent lower bounce rates.
  • AliExpress saw conversion rates rise by 104 percent. Users visited twice as many pages per session increasing time per session by 74 percent.

For those who have embraced PWA, the numbers around engagement and responsiveness are stunning. These aren’t isolated incidents. PWA success stories continue to flow into Google each month. It’s hard to argue with success.

Outside of losing out on a few Native app features, Progressive Web Apps make a compelling case for being the go-to solution for new mobile apps. PWA takes everything that is great about mobile apps and leaves out the hefty drawbacks. It is time to expand our thinking around mobile apps and see Progressive Web Apps for the solution business has been waiting for.