What is a Progressive Web App? And more importantly, why should I care?
Note: The term "Progressive Web App" isn't a formal or official name. It's just a shorthand used initially by Google for the concept of creating a flexible, adaptable app using only web technologies.
Simply put, PWAs are web apps developed using a number of technologies to allow them to take advantage of both web and native app features.
Why You Should Care about Web Apps?
- They are more discoverable than native apps
- They are a lot easier and MUCH faster than a website
- They can be easily shared just by sending a link
- They can be installed just like any other app
- They are "In Your Face" - simply an Icon on the home screen
- They can be automatically updated
- They are SMOKING fast!
- Internet not required
- They can significantly improve Search Engine Rankings (particularly for those searching on mobile devices)
PWA`s are not a brand new concept—such ideas have been revisited many times on the web platform with various approaches in the past. Progressive Enhancement and responsive design already allow us to build mobile friendly websites.
PWAs, however, provide all this and a great deal more without losing any of the existing features that make the web great.
And most importantly they work offline! No Internet Required!
That's right folks, when properly designed, your users can interact with your web app without an Internet connection!
It's quite simple really, imagine that your users can download your entire website to their device at the click of a button. It's no longer "online" in the traditional sense, it now resides locally on your user's device.
As a result they are available 24/7/365 any time, anywhere even when wifi is not available. Oh and did I mention they are SMOKING fast? As in right this second. No worries about page load speed, slow internet etc.
CAVEAT: The preceding is true only if your web app does not require a real-time connection to your server, but even then there are often simple workarounds. For example, have you ever tried to play a multi-player game on an airplane? This is an example of an application that requires real-time communication.
If all you want to do is present information however, web apps are far and away the most effective way to do that. And who doesn't know how to install an app these days? It's literally push button simple.
Once your user is back online and accesses your app, it can even automatically update the app and send out contact form submissions. Pretty cool huh?
What About Analytics?
Not a problem. With the new implementation of Google Analytics 4.0 (GA4) you`re good to go. (Assuming you're using GA4 of course).
Here in 2022, we are aware of course that a users journey may occur - likely WILL occur - at different times, in a multitude of sessions, across different devices, and in this case even from different applications.
With the new implementation of GA4 we are introduced to the concept of data "streams". What this means for us as marketers is that now we can track the entire user journey no matter where it originates from and at various points throughout the research or buying cycle.
You could say that it is a like satellite view of your customers interaction with your company now Metter when where, or how. Now that's freaking genius!