How to maximise mobile speed
When considering a mobile offer, it used to be that there was a clear choice between two technological possibilities for implementation. Either you opted for a web application or you had an app programmed. Ideally, it was a mobile-optimised web application supported by the creation of a dedicated mobile website or, more likely, by building a mobile-first responsive web application.
When it comes to mobile now, there are a lot of buzz words being thrown around: responsive, AMP, native apps, PWA, and more. Here we explain the various concepts of the mobile world in simple terms and bring some clarity to this conceptual jungle.
Installation and updates are extremely easy, allowing you to continually improve functionality. All users need to access the website is a browser and an internet connection. The HTML5 standard allows you to do almost everything online without the need for additional software like browser plugins. It ranges from animation and apps, to music and movies.
It can also be used to create complicated applications that run in your browser – like games. You can benefit from the openness of the web by making the application searchable and sharing links. As of July 2018, the speed of mobile pages will be a ranking factor for mobile searches via Google. Learn more here. That brings us to the next standard for mobile web:
Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
The AMP project aims to encourage the creation of web pages that load faster than their conventional non-AMP counterparts. Developers need to create a version of each page template using a limited HTML version, which will then be provided directly via Google's own servers. These two steps ensure that the pages are rendered easily and quickly for users.
This also improves SEO results, as Google will promote AMP-enabled websites in its search results. Google wants to improve the mobile web experience – also called micro-moments – with faster loading of mobile pages. You can learn how companies benefit from mobile-optimised websites, in particular AMPs, here. The development of AMP does not end there. "Stories" are already known from Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Now, Google has announced AMP Stories. You can learn what this is from our article, here.
With native applications, we lose some of the advantages of the web but gain in terms of functionality in other areas. "Native" means that the programming code is executed directly on the device. This usually results in a better performance, compared to a website running in a browser.
This is more or less obvious depending on the type of application. In comparison to web applications, native apps increase expenditure primarily due to the need for separate development for iPhone and Android, demanding different software and development environments. We discuss this topic and the necessary steps to success in our updated whitepaper on app management. You can download it here.
Google Progressive Web App (PWA)
Another possibility is to provide web-based applications with more "native" or app-like functions. PWAs are a collection of technologies that allow simple "default websites" to connect with features like "Add to Home Screen", offline usage, and push notifications. The keyword here is "progressive".
In order to add these app-like features, they must be supported by the browser. After a few uses, the visitor is prompted to install the application on their home screen. From here, it can be accessed just like a native app and displayed in a way that resembles an app rather than a website in a browser. Although there are some limitations, most of the technologies under the PWA umbrella are available in modern browsers. This makes PWA-optimised websites a viable alternative when creating native applications.
Our take at IQ mobile
These are no longer simple "either-or" decisions. The right choice has to be made depending on your target group, their needs, and the mobile offering of your company. This pyramid graphic demonstrates shows how different elements best serve the interests of quantity (at the bottom, for as many as possible) versus quality (at the top, for the most loyal customers).
One thing is for sure: Without a real mobile experience, companies will have significant disadvantages compared to the competition. The massive revenue contribution of mobile is already clear. For instance, the most recent Black Friday saw a sales jump of 24%, with 60% of this increase coming from online traffic and 42% of revenue via mobile devices (according to Salesforce).
This proves that a mobile-optimised website is a deciding factor in attracting attention and boosting conversion rates. Together with the German Mobile Marketing Association, Google has published the Mobile Speed Leader board. The results indicate that businesses need to achieve a three-second load time to meet users' expectations. Many companies have already done this, as you can read here.
Mobile First and Mobile User Experience are key USPs in 2018, and will give you an edge over the competition. The current wait-and-see attitude of many companies gives you a chance to get ahead.