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The web is developing so fast, making the line between what is web and what is app more blurry than ever. This gives us the opportunity to create complex digital experiences.

According to Google, Progressive Web Apps are experiences that combine the best of both worlds – the web and mobile apps.

Progressive Web Apps describe a collection of technologies, design concepts, and Web APIs that work in tandem to provide an app-like experience on the mobile web.

Why Progressive Web App?

Progressive Web Apps include a lot of interactive and time-dependent components with a rapidly changing content, offering more than just a regular website.

A study published by Appboy revealed that retaining new app users isn’t easy, with more than 75% of users failing to return the day after first use, on average. One of the most important advantages of using PWA is that it has the potential to improve the retention up to three times by using push notifications.

Another benefit of PWAs is that they are easy to share on social media, email, text message, online ad, or can be linked to a QR code, providing the users' instant access to the app.

Progressive Web Apps are great for platforms with real-time data, such as online content, stock, prices and inventory. Live chats with real-time updates and push notifications can be implemented for new prices, sales and items appearing while the buyer is on site. It is a perfect solution for users that prefer to pull the data and browse through it later, while offline and also for those who prefer using web-browsers.

Main Features of PWAs

In an article from Medium.com, PWA is described in 3 words: reliable (it loads instantly, even in uncertain network conditions), fast (it has smooth animations, jank-free scrolling, and seamless navigation even on flaky networks) and engaging (it is launched from home screen and can receive push notification).

In regular websites, the first load requires users to wait on a white screen for a few seconds and then all components would load at the same time. One of the most important features of this type of app is resilience. Progressive Web Apps loads quickly, if not instantly. This thing is achieved by using the app shell model- minimal HTML, CSS & Javascript that powers a user interface. The app shell starts loading first and then loads the dynamic component. This gives the PAWs the potential to lower bounce rates and to lift conversion rates. Another feature to mention is that PAWs are loading in a full-screen resolution, without the search bar showing.

A Progressive Web App performs smoothly and works offline. With the help of Service Workers- a script that the browser runs in the background, separate from web page-  this web app works offline and in areas of low connectivity. Using pre-caching, it stays up-to-date, serving the user with the newest content upon launch. The user is able to save the PWA to their home screen and can access it at any time, making it installable- without downloading it from the app stores.

PWAs use web technology- working cross-platform, on most browsers. This means that we can take the operating system out of the equation and adapting the app to iOS or Android will not necessary. The Progressive Web App will look and perform the same across all devices., giving the users a cohesive experience on any device they choose to launch the app on.

By using push notifications, the app extends beyond the browser, giving a powerful tool for engaging with the user. They can do simple things, such as alert the user to an important event, display an icon and a small piece of text that the user can then click to open up the site, or even action buttons. Push messaging provides a simple and effective way to re-engage with its users.

Finally, PWAs are highly discoverable, making them easier to identify by search engines. This allows them to come up in the search results just like any other web content. Progressive Web Apps are treated with traditional SEO, so it gets indexed for more than just the app name, but also the content within the app.

In order to download Progressive Web Apps, it is important to mention that the users need to use Chrome.

Analytics solutions

PWAs are not distributed through a central point like Native iOS or Android apps so there are no comprehensive statistics to track the usage of the application. But since it is just a web application that opens in a slightly different way, PWAs can be tracked using standard Web Analytics tools like Google Analytics.

Mobify introduced this week the first Analytics Manager for Progressive Web Apps that connect to industry-standard marketing analytics platforms. This technology listens to changes in state within the app to track user interactions without the need for a page refresh and provides critical debugging information. It tracks events within the Engagement Engine and sends events to existing analytics tools.

Progressive Web Apps are an opportunity to build amazing experiences on the web in a revolutionary format.

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