When Apple launched the App Store back in 2008, the game was forever changed. More doors opened for brands to reach an audience on a new level seemingly overnight. These mobile applications could also offer many offline features that a desktop clearly couldn’t. However, over the past decade the idea of apps has become somewhat lackluster and brands are recognizing the struggle to market their native mobile platforms. Absolunet’s 2019 study showed the average mobile user downloads only 0-1 apps per month.
The attention started to drift when improvements on mobile web browsers such as Chrome and Safari became priority. Smartphones have since increased their speed time and eliminated the jerkiness of page scroll-downs. The question then lies in, why would users hassle with downloading an app if they can sufficiently find what they need through searching the mobile web browsers?
The Hybrid of Web and App
Progressive web applications (PWAs) are presumably becoming the best of both worlds. PWAs ultimately make websites appear as an app experience for the audience. There are major benefits of having both a website and an application, and this marketing strategy relieves a lot of extra effort of maintaining two unique platforms by morphing them into one.
Transitioning into a PWA will also eliminate any confusion the mobile user would have identifying the brand’s app to site. It waves goodbye to the effort of searching for the app, downloading it, and for some paying for the app experience. The efficiency of simply searching for the brand’s site on a mobile device and still being able to utilize key benefits of apps streamlines audience retention and promotes higher conversion rates. This includes the ability of sending push notifications, faster loading time, and shopping when away from a desktop. The user experience is dramatically improved and is already being tested by some major brands.
The beauty powerhouse, Lancome, has gone down this route with a PWA transformation. Within the first few months mobile sessions have increased 51% and mobile sales are up 17% from their prior user experiences. As they waved goodbye to their native app and site they created a one-stop platform where users feel comfortable shopping and spending more time browsing.
What Does PWA Mean For Digital Marketers?
Much like the initial creation of apps for smartphones, the opportunities to increase the user experience and have greater reach is endless, especially with PWAs. With more brands moving in the PWA direction, it proves that not one platform is more relevant than another. This means omni-channel advertising and striving for creative monetizing solutions need to be considered.
Jonas De Cooman is Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Spott.ai, a content marketing SaaS platform that allows users to make any content (pictures and videos) interactive, enriched and shoppable. By processing it once, it becomes interactive across all platforms: your own websites, social media channels, third party websites, interactive video player platforms and even physical assets, such as paper magazines and boarding. The Spott.ai dashboard benchmarks performance of every unit of content on all platforms based on views, clicks and baskets. User profiling is available on request.