Saturday, August 29, 2020

Marketers, You Need to Switch to a PWA Platform

Someone needs to say it: the app store is the worst. I don’t think there’s one person out there (aside from an Apple employee) who will actually give the app store a positive review. Though we’ve never been fans of the app store, we’ve always taken a reserved approach with calling out its flaws. But that ends today. We’re done holding back the truth of the app store. No one should build another native mobile app – Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are the next big thing in mobile and web. Marketers, here’s why you need to switch to a PWA platform ASAP.

The Perils of the App Store

Think of the app store as a landlord. You can take up residency there, but you don’t own the place. And before you even more in, there are several hoops you have to jump through to get approved. Like leasing an apartment, you’re simply leasing space in the app store to host your app.

After spending months (or even a year) building your native mobile app, you can begin the process of submitting your app to the app store. Did you read the App Store Guidelines that are longer than some college textbooks? I hope so…otherwise you’ll get declined faster than the weather changes in the Midwest and this fun (read: awful) process starts over.

Let’s keep this scenario moving. You were a diligent app builder and followed all of the guidelines and have been approved by the app store. You’re not in the clear just yet – especially if your app enables in-app payments. Did you see what happened with Fortnite? The app store gave them the boot for implementing their own in-app payment system. If you want control over your app, might I suggest building a PWA instead?

A Brief PWA Tutorial

I like to think of a PWA as marketing’s secret sauce. PWAs delivered via the web, accessible from your home screen, and integrated with your device. Google’s PWA checklist technically has fourteen requirements that make a good PWA, but there’s really four you need to pay attention to.

  • Service Worker: The API that caches data as the user browses, and allows the PWA to run offline.
  • App Shell: The stationary elements of the PWA such as the navigation bar, drop-down menu, and other modular elements. It loads instantly on repeat visits, making for an incredibly fast experience.
  • Web App Manifest: The code that populates an app-like icon when the PWA is saved to the user’s home screen.
  • HTTPS: PWAs are all served over HTTPS via secure communication protocols.

The best part about PWAs is you don’t have to answer to the app store anymore. You control how your app gets published. You can dictate the process of in-app payments. And you don’t have to live in fear that your app will be banished from the app store at any given moment.

Why You Should Care

If you’re just hearing about PWAs for the first time, understanding the power of this technology may take some time. But the sooner you realize that ditching your native mobile app and building a PWA instead could earn you a big high-five from senior leaders (virtually, of course).

One of my favorite PWA examples to talk about is the Starbucks PWA. The coffee giant now has two apps taking up residence on my smartphone: its native mobile app and PWA. A fun trick I like to show my friends not working at a SaaS company comparing the speed Starbucks native mobile app to the Starbucks PWA. Spoiler alert: the PWA wins every time. My friends aren’t the only ones wowed by the PWA’s performance – the amount of daily active users doubled on the Starbucks PWA.

Are you convinced that the app store is the W.O.A.T (Worst of All Time)? Good, I’m glad you’re on our side. Ready to try building a PWA? Build your first PWA on the Lumavate platform! We’ve got plenty of PWA templates to choose from.