First came the websites, text-heavy and full of header tags, paragraphs and links. Then table-based sites and online page builders emerged, allowing for the introduction of multiple columns and text-based design.
Today, it's all about apps and the mobile web.
Or is it?
As soon as marketing professionals accepted apps and the mobile web as the solution, another tool has emerged that melds the best of both to deliver a better user experience: Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs.
"Progressive Web Apps ... what?"
PWAs have been around for about two years, but they are just now rising to prominence among marketing professionals who are using them to create seamless mobile user experiences.
The apps work for every user, regardless of the browser because they are built with progressive enhancements. They're responsive, meaning they fit any form--from desktop to mobile to tablet to whatever new device is on the horizon. They work offline or with low-quality networks.
But most importantly, PWAs "feel" like apps because they largely function like apps.
However, unlike apps, the functionality of Progressive Web Apps is not limited by platform-locked design. And the benefits to users are impressive:
Fast, smooth animation, scrolling and navigation
Secure connections thanks to HTTPS
The ability to easily add a PWA to a home screen
Responsiveness allows PWAs to work with any screen (as mentioned above)
The ability to receive "push" notifications.
Great! But what does this mean for marketing pros?
Users aren't the only people benefiting from PWAs. Marketing professionals around the world have used this new tool successfully to:
Maximize reach. In a world where competition is fast and furious, PWAs allow you to quickly reach as many people as possible with relatively small development expenses.
Speed. Unlike traditional apps, PWAs don't require installation. This means they load faster and maintain users longer.
Experience. There is a direct correlation between an organization's web presence and its brand. The better the user experience, the better users are going to feel about your brand.
Twitter launched a PWA that saves 70 percent on data and loads 30 percent faster than its "native app." MakeMyTrip launched one and saw its overall conversion rate triple as well as a 160 percent increase in shopper sessions.
Faster, easier-to-use marketing tools also lead to sales, which is what happened when Alibaba.com launched a PWA. The world's largest online business-to-business trading platform experienced a 76 percent increase in conversions. Lancome, a leader in beauty supplies, saw a 53 percent increase in session length, which leads to sales.
Are you ready for what's next?
If history repeats itself (and it always does), more and more consumers will expect PWAs. It is the next big thing (for now). Are you ready to make the most of it?