Classic Mobile Apps & WordPress Progressive Web Apps

Just as mobile traffic began to dominate the media space, mobile applications have become an important, seemingly immovable pillar of the digital strategy, a platform for businesses that want to interact with their customers on mobile devices. And in vain. So far, mobile websites have not been able to compete with the user experience, performance, and flexibility that native apps offer on mobile platforms, most notably Android.

Global mobile app revenue reached $188,000,000,000 in 2020 through app and ad stores, reassuring us that mobile apps will continue to dominate when it comes to the mobile experience.

However, WordPress has been preparing a new revolution in this direction over the past year. Simply put, PWAs are web applications that combine the best elements of websites and native programs in one package. Like websites, PWAs can be found through browsers and search engines using a URL, and they will work on any device, without downloading a bulky application, without wasting operating resources and phone memory.

Like mobile apps, they offer a dynamic user experience on mobile devices, offer almost the same functionality, and are easy to customize. And, most importantly, they allow companies to consolidate their digital presence, providing users with a unified experience across desktops and mobile devices.

Publisher’s Toolbox CEO Rich Cheary is a passionate supporter of PWA technology. “Since most media is now consumed through mobile devices, publishers and content creators around the world are looking for ways in which they can provide a better user experience.”

“PWAs have many advantages – they don’t require downloading from Google Play or the App Store; accessibility is better with more advanced search engines such as Google; they do not need to be updated because the code is from the Internet; and finally, they do not take up precious space on your device! “.

But is this enough to make us fall out of love with classic mobile apps?

For emerging economies, including Ukraine, the main pro argument may well come down to issues of cost and return on investment. The fact is that compared to PWA, developing your own applications is an expensive, time-consuming process – while maintenance costs per year can reach up to 50% of the development cost. Then factor in the volume of apps available in the market (over 3.9 million on Google Play and the App Store as of Q1 2019) and the fact that Google and Apple require a share of any paid downloads, subscription fees, or in-app purchases. (up to 30%), and you begin to understand the complexity of your application’s success.

Cost issues also go beyond development and maintenance, as the data required to download a mobile app is a potential stumbling block. For example, data costs in South Africa are among the highest on the continent, making South African mobile users particularly sensitive to data.

What will happen to mobile applications now? Are they getting redundant, as some developers would like us to believe? The answer is probably no. Mobile apps will continue to play a prominent role in the development strategy of many enterprises for some time to come, especially in areas where data protection and advanced features such as 3D are needed.

With a diverse set of major international publishers such as Forbes, the Washington Post, the UK Financial Times and the Guardian enjoying the clear benefits that PWA technology brings, Cheri believes PWAs will continue to grow in popularity.

“In the end, any technology that can increase user engagement through page views, time spent on pages, or more content will result in greater commercial returns through increased ad impressions,” he says. “And since monetization is a top issue in the digital space, more businesses will see PWAs as a cost-effective way to maximize returns.”

Cheri offers the following tips for businesses considering the potential of PWA technology:

  • Choose a PWA that can be deployed without any processes, technical risks or expensive development cycles
  • Make sure your PWA has the ability to scale your site and complement your web technology and brand identity
  • Find a platform partner that is flexible and open to customizing certain unique differentiators for your group and digital strategy
  • Your mobile web audience is part of your intellectual property and your partner must respect your audience privacy and any of your analytics and advertising models.

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