So it is no secret that mobile usage has increased drastically in the last few years and this has immensely contributed to the transformation of digital platforms. Its become the game of survival. The ones delivering great results stay in the competition. The digital market is quite volatile and to excel in the game, new technologies are invented every now and then.
In this blog, we will be discussing two of such technologies, which are designed to deliver richer & faster mobile experiences to the visitors: Progressive Mobile Apps & Accelerated Mobile Pages. If you have closely analyzed the digital market in the past one year, then there was a paradigm shift that occurred lately, like from browser-to-native-apps and then from native-apps-to-browser. The arrival of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) has changed the game for marketers, and soon after Accelerated Mobile Pages (AWP) was introduced.
How these technologies came into the fore?
With web users shifting rapidly towards mobile, the focus was to deliver them remarkable mobile-experience. However, mobile poses its certain challenges in the form of crumbling networks, high latency & low-attention window, thus constantly urging digital marketers to search for new helpful solutions.
Earlier, users looking for content on mobile were posed with two options to browse over mobile devices: either to browse that certain website through mobile-web, or else download their mobile app. With web came gigantic reach, however, it couldn’t offer needed support to create an engaging user experience, whereas native apps offer higher consumption, but couldn’t manage distribution.
With the world of today being fast-paced, all users were looking for fast-experiences, however, with a website taking a long time to load, it left mobile users annoyed. This led to high bounce rates. 57% of users abandon a webpage mid-way if the website loads slowly. Another study states that even one second of delay in page response might lead to a 7% reduction in conversions. Even the trend of mobile apps seemed to be phased out slowly.
Do you know a mobile app loses out on 77% of its users in just 72 hours after they download it? After all, these apps do consume a lot of space on our mobile devices and this causes major dismay In fact, it may come around as a shock for some, but half of the smartphone users in the US download zero apps per month So, as a number of app installations were on an all-time-low, the brands desperately looked for ways to retarget and engage their users.
Even with the mobile web, its performance failed to enamor the users And then this whole idea of merging the app and web clicked, like how it would get the best of both the world. Here the page-load speed and user-engagement were the priority
Progressive Web Apps & Accelerated Mobile Pages came as a boon
When most of the web and mobile failed to leave a mark, the emergence of PWAs and AMPs did come around as a savior for the brands who failed to provide a wonderful user-experience to their mobile users with apps as well as websites. Understanding AMP&PWA First, let’s begin with Accelerated Mobile Pages.
It’s actually a feature created on open-source platforms and Google-approved enabling websites to load the content pretty fast on mobiles. It delivered a remarkably fast browsing experience on mobile devices. Presently, they are being used by the News websites (to present the news) & by e-Commerce websites (offering their products in the mobile SERP).
However, there are certain restrictions like they strip all the inappropriate scripts & Java Scripts (JS), in order to save bandwidth, and they display just the content. Hence, here pages are sized statistically while heavy elements such as images (off-screen) are not downloaded till the time user can view them. Now, this does result in reduced page-load time, however, the removal of irrelevant scripts also affects the user experience.
This will lead to low user engagement on the website, thus causing low-conversion rates ultimately. In the case of Progressive Web Apps, which are also Website pages & web apps, they actually provide the look similar to the usual mobile app while also helping your users re-visit the website via features such as push notifications, periodic background syncs, and rich offline-experiences. what was do is that they reduce the loading time of webpages, so basically they fill the void spaces created by AMPs. As of now, only big enterprise-level websites & firms are using them. When studied closely, it was found that PWAs have three features that differ it from AMPs. They are:
- PWAs provide a high-engagement rate, while AMPs sharply lacks that.
- Progressive Web Apps work quicker as compared to AMPs.
- PWAs are considered reliable to provide all information to users, where AMPs lack because they remove numerous script, which you added on the website, in order to enhance conversion rate.
Even in the case of web sign-in API, Progressive Web Apps makes easy for mobile users to sign-in as it authenticates them speedily. For Payment Requests, it eliminated the checkout forms, fills entire credit card information, thus users simply need to enter CVV. This way it changed the whole of UX for payments. Thus, it makes it secure while the transaction is seamless.
However, this doesn’t mean that we are declaring that PWA is better than AMP, as there were just three advantages of Progressive web apps over accelerated mobile pages. To clear the confusion, if any, we have further explained the benefits of both PWAs & AMPs.
What are the benefits of AMP & PWA?
Well, with the use of AMP & PWA you can get rid of the problem of high page load-time as well as long-wait duration. So, as we begin, lets first understand the benefits of AMP:
Benefits of AMP: Well, AMP is quite simple, consisting of ten-time lesser data when compared to a usual site or an app. This way, it is helpful to the users to get informative content in lesser time. Like, you put a demand forward, and an instant solution is offered.
- Initially, it was prominent for news articles, though now it has extended to other verticals of the content as well
- Website publishers are offered full control over the business as well as visual design.
- Page load-time reduces to even less than one second, thus it makes website four-times faster.
- AMP enhances & depends on the engagement factor.
- It supports all the existing ad formats.
- Its pages load instantly and are easily cached.
Benefits of PWA: This latest feature offered by Google is created for the home screen of smartphones and other mobile devices using modern web tools & technologies, like the App Shell model, which offers features like fast load timing, offline web pages, & push notification. These web pages are quite simple and come with modern browsing features that make the web pages appear the same as a regular mobile app. It was found that the conversion rate was more than 70% when users arrive from the home screen icon of a Progressive Web App. It not just loads pages way faster, but also has three-times lower data usage. The users who visited the website twice or more within a two-week time span receive the suggestion to add to the home-screen which is done with just a single tap. Its various benefits include:
- Users can work even during poor internet connectivity
- Enhanced conversion rate.
- Pages load faster.
- Smooth navigations & animations.
- Push notifications to engage users
- Can open full-screen sans a URL bar.
- Enable users to access the website via its Home-screen icon on the mobile device
- Enable users to scroll 60-frame in just one second.
- Stores webpages in the cache with Application Shell, and thus loads the pages instantly in the time span of fewer than five seconds on re-visit/repeat visit.
Understanding how PWA works: Progressive Web Apps are basically web apps, which offer the look of feel of native mobile apps for Android or iOS. PWAs leverage several features of a smart device say camera & geolocation in the web apps.
Steps 1: Install & register for a service work individually, so to relate it with your app in order to make that a Progressive Web App.
Step 3: Here web push-notifications are used to enhance user’s app engagement.
Assessing the Pros & Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages & Progressive Web Apps
Let’s begin with AMP.
Pros of AMP:
- Suitable for the publisher-based websites
- Supports ad facility
- Reduces the server load & enhances its performance
- Impact Mobile SEO, while also enhancing keyword ranking in the mobile devices
- Boosts speed & lowers website load-time
Cons of AMP:
- Solely works on cache-basis
- Unable to improve search engine ranking
- Not apt for e-commerce website
- Unable to track the activity of users on AMP pages
Pros of PWA:
- Physical pp installation is not needed
- No requirement to visit the app-store
- Gets automatically update
- Apt for e-commerce websites
Cons of PWA:
- PWAs face platform limitations and this causes re-engagement issues.
Which one to choose: AMP or PWA?
Though it is vital to know how AMP & PWA are different, you must understand that both these platforms perform best in combination. In case you are an HTTPS website owner, its important for you to have the support for both of these technologies, as that way you will be able to serve your website visitors a lot better. Hence, get a good understanding of both Google AMP & PWA. In the case of AMP, users can access the content quickly, whereas, with PWA, user-experience and user-engagement can be enhanced. Hence, both these new facilities should be added to your website development plan.