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Publisher Insights: Increase Website User Engagement with Progressive Web App (PWA)

1. Current Situation and Obstacles in the Webpage

In developing a site for publishers, there are several aspects that publishers have not usually paid attention to, but they are very important in improving the user experience in maintaining loyal users. In this case, some of the obstacles from the user’s side can be explained in the following points:

PWA challenges

Overview of the current situation and obstacles in the webpage

1.1. Increasing Level of Mobile User

Comparison of the number of users who use mobile and desktop devices shows the high volume of penetration and its impact on website development. The development of the devices used by users is one of the biggest challenges for online media. Statistics show mobile users have outperformed desktop users. Based on data from the last 7 years, the amount of traffic on mobile has increased significantly at 222% (SAAS Scout Research Group, 2020). In Indonesia, the number of internet users has reached 175.4 million with the number of mobile users twice, which can be concluded that most internet users in Indonesia have more than one mobile device.

From the large number of users, most of them are online media that create mobile applications to facilitate the user experience in accessing content. To provide a solution to this problem, the publisher/website owner needs to provide a site browsing experience that can compete with the User Experience of the native application.

1.2. Varieties of User Channels

Nowadays, users have diverse sources in finding information. For example, they can access information from Google Search Engine, direct sites portal, Social Network Sites (SNS) such as forums, and other channels. In this case, publishers are competing to create a pleasant experience in such a way that users can always come back to visit their channel to maintain the retention rate, especially for loyal users. The large number of channel choices is also an obstacle for site developers to meet the expectations of users so they can always access content from their channel. As one solution, publishers must always innovate to increase the number of user engagement in maintaining their loyal users.

1.3. The Great Variety of Social Media

The large variety of social media today makes it tempting for publishers to expand their source of income. In this case, many publishers also create Youtube accounts, Facebook Official Page, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. Social media really helps publishers in increasing the number of traffic sources by sharing content from their websites. In addition, social media can also be monetized, for example with Youtube AdSense, Facebook ads, endorsements, and others. With the increasing number of social media channels, many publishers are more focused on ways to increase profits for their social media than on ways to increase user loyalty on their sites.

2. Progressive Web App (PWA)

Based on a study, it shows that the use of mobile applications accounts for 89% of the total time spent on mobile platforms. Based on the above issues, PWA is one of the solutions that can benefit from the publisher’s side to create a similar experience on the mobile web user. In this case, a technology called Progressive Web App (PWA) emerged. PWA itself aims to provide a mobile application experience to users only through web browsers, without having them download or install the application directly. In addition, PWA can also be added to the mobile device home screen with an icon. PWA is a low-cost solution to improve mobile user experience and user engagement.

2.1. Below are some of the advantages of PWA:

a. Discoverability
Users will be notified if their web page has a PWA.

b. Installability
PWA can appear on the user’s device homescreen like a native mobile application. This makes it easier for users to reopen the web application without having to access the URL again through the browser. Publishers need to provide a web app manifest that contains settings for the shortcut icon logo, publisher name, and display settings so that when users click on the application icon, they will immediately open the web in full-screen without an address bar.

c. Linkability
Connect with web pages without the need to install a website.

d. Network Independence
PWA works very well when the connection is poor or even in a bad connection with service worker technology. Service workers can load pages much faster. Service worker technology provides the ability to control the assets to be cached and provide custom network requests that users can still access offline. To be able to use this advantage, the user still has to visit the website the first time, after all assets have been cached by the service worker.

e. Re-engageability
Users can re-engage when there is a new article update, even though they rarely open their browser.

f. Responsive
PWA user interface can adjust to user devices, such as desktops, mobile and tablets.

g. Safety
Hackers can steal users data when they are interacting with web publishers. Hackers can exploit unprotected communications by tricking users into providing sensitive information or installing malware. For example, a hacker could enter a dummy user prompt that tricked the user into filling out their bio. PWA can provide safety, because to be able to use their own service workers, the web must already use HTTPS as the minimum criteria. HTTPS can assist in encrypting session data using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, so the data will be more secure.

h. Progressive Enhancement Support
PWA is now supported by various browsers. These browsers include, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera Mini, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.

2.2 Companies that have used PWA

Companies that use PWA

Some of the success stories of companies that have used PWA, such as Forbes, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. After implementing PWA, Forbes drastically increased sessions per user by 43%, 20% impressions per page, 100% user engagement, and 6 times the total users who completed articles. In addition, after developing PWA, Pinterest noted that there was a 44% increase in ad revenue generated from users, as well as an increase in user engagement of up to 60% (PWA Stats, 2020).

2.3 Why Push Notification is needed?

why should you use PWA

Push Notification feature

Notification is a short message that appears on the user’s device as a reminder that there is the latest content uploaded by the publisher. Push notifications can remind users of upcoming sales articles or events. Push messaging provides an easy way to re-engage with users. Users only need 1 click to subscribe, this function will make it easy for publishers to present the most up-to-date content that users like directly through their mobile devices. Increasing user engagement can indirectly improve performance in monetization as well. This push notification method can attract significantly more engagement than traditional methods, such as email reminders.

AnyManager Dashboard with PWA Integration

AnyManager Dashboard with PWA integration
AnyManager with Gelocation

Dashboard AnyManager with Geolocation feature

In collaboration with AnyMind Group, all push notification and Google Analytics functions will be integrated in one Business Intelligence (BI) dashboard tool, which is called AnyManager. The AnyManager dashboard will make it easier for publishers to set the push notification feature. Publishers can easily generate the data to analyze from various metrics, including number of subscribers, Clicks, CTR, Notification Sent, and Revoked Users. The numbers on these metrics can also be compared directly with real-time data from Google Analytics, so that they can provide insights and the right analysis to do in the future. In addition, AnyManager dashboard also has a user targeting segments function, based on geolocation, device, and even user behavior. This feature will make it easy for publishers to target news or content to the right audience.

Example of a case study of a publisher that has implemented a PWA

Metrics for PWA

The increment of total subscribers and user engagement

A year after the implementation of the Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) in the first phase of the Google News Initiative (GNI) project, the AnyMind team again collaborated with several Indonesian local media to implement Progressive Web App (PWA) technology. PWA can help publishers to increase user engagement with caching and push notification functions to provide subscribers with relevant information directly to their devices.

The benchmarks in the project include an increase in the number of subscribers, user engagement (traffic, average time on page, etc.), page speed and digital ad revenue. Based on the results of the PWA implementation by one publisher, there was an 11% increase in unique users who converted to subscribers, this figure was also supported by an increase in user engagement by 25%. From these results, the data that has been mentioned, it can be concluded that PWA can help publishers to increase user engagement by keeping publisher content visible to loyal users.

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