Progressive web apps — 12 examples of PWAs done right
Progressive web apps, or PWAs, have been generating a lot of buzz over the last few years. That attention is well-deserved, as PWAs can help brands make a splash with consumers, connect with a wider audience, and provide users with mobile-friendly content.
You’ve probably heard of PWAs. But if you’re not sure exactly what they are, you might feel like you’re missing out on the benefits. And there are definitely benefits. PWAs can:
- Boost overall engagement by 137%.
- Increase the number of mobile sessions on a site by 80%.
- Decrease bounce rate by up to 42.86%.
- Increase page views by approximately 134%.
Perhaps most importantly, PWAs provide an excellent user experience no matter what device the user is browsing on. If you’re ready to put this powerful technology to work for your brand, you’ll want to know what good PWAs look like. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 12 real-life PWA examples as inspiration, so you can build the best one for your business.
This post will cover:
- A definition of progressive web apps
- Examples of progressive web apps
- How to get started with PWAs
A definition of progressive web apps
A PWA is a web app developed using specific technologies and standard patterns that allows it to take advantage of both website and native app features, providing greater flexibility to businesses and better experiences to users. As mobile device usage has grown, delivering a seamless user experience across all devices has become more important than ever.
Like a website, a PWA is mobile-friendly and indexed for SEO. But like apps, PWAs are also installable, available offline, connected to push notifications, and tied to location via GPS. In other words, they’re the best of both worlds.
Examples of progressive web apps
Let’s take a look at 12 PWA examples, including web apps from many well-known platforms.
Starbucks used a PWA for its ordering system, which afforded the coffee giant additional functionality that a regular website doesn’t. When accessing the Starbucks PWA, consumers can place their orders, browse the menu, and much more without the hassle of downloading a new mobile app.
One of the big benefits is that this PWA is available offline, meaning customers can browse the menu and add things to their carts even if they don’t have service. When service is restored, they can immediately come back and complete their orders.
PWAs offer a lot of speed. Starbucks customers can place their orders quickly, something that’s important if they’re in a hurry and trying to grab a quick item on the go. PWAs load efficiently and offer a frictionless purchasing experience.
Another perk of PWAs is that they’re smaller than regular apps, so they take up less space on a phone. This makes it more likely that a customer will have room on their device — and keep it there even if they’re low on space.
The ride-sharing company also uses a progressive web app. Uber completely rebuilt its original website to replace it with a PWA as part of its efforts to break into new markets. Company leaders realized that the web app needed to mimic the booking experience available through the native mobile app if it wanted to expand its market share.
The primary benefit of the Uber PWA is that it works on slower networks and doesn’t take up much space. This allows more users to interact with the app, even those with limited network and storage resources.
The Uber PWA is so versatile and accessible that it can be accessed via 3G or even 2G networks. Its PWA can accommodate the needs of consumers with low-end devices, as well as those who only use the service periodically and have no interest in installing the native mobile app permanently.
The Uber progressive web app can be downloaded in seconds thanks to its compact file size. By expediting the download process, Uber can reduce bounce rates and prevent potential customers from turning to one of its competitors.
3. Twitter Lite
Twitter is known for being a fast-paced social media platform. Users enjoy being able to quickly post a thought or share a concise message with followers, retweet content from their favorite influencers, and join digital conversations about trending topics.
However, Twitter wasn’t always the lightweight, versatile application it is today. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Twitter users access the platform from mobile devices, previous iterations of the app lacked agility and flexibility.
To remedy this shortcoming, Twitter developers replaced the application with a PWA dubbed “Twitter Lite” in 2017. The results were impressive.
Most notably, the platform experienced a 75% increase in tweet volume and a 65% rise in pages per session. Its bounce rate also dropped by 20%. The PWA provided users access to an ideal mix of web and native mobile app features, resulting in an exceptional experience.
Not only was Twitter Lite faster and more feature-laden, but it also used a fraction of the device storage space of its predecessor. According to estimates, Twitter Lite requires less than 5% of the storage space of the standard Twitter for Android app.
Pinterest is a unique social media platform designed to help people share creative ideas, find recipes, plan projects, and more through its user-friendly pinboard format. The original Pinterest app was somewhat lackluster, providing a clunky user experience and failing to adequately translate the pinboard system to a mobile format.
The company completely overhauled its app by rebuilding it with PWA technology. The new app offers a seamless user experience that encourages users to spend more time on the site and strengthens the Pinterest revenue stream.
Progressive web app technology was the perfect fit for Pinterest and its information delivery model. Pinterest users want quick, convenient access to visual content in an easy-to-digest format. The PWA provides all that and more.
Today, Pinterest is thriving, largely thanks to its PWA. The success of its progressive web app reinforces the importance of providing users with a frictionless, fast, and efficient mobile browsing experience.
With more than 75 million global users, Tinder is one of the top-ranked dating apps in the world. The app is the most popular in the United States, with more than 7.8 million active users.
At one time, Tinder was only accessible via mobile devices. However, its progressive web application offers a more seamless user experience, regardless of what device or browser consumers use to access the platform.
As with virtually every other PWA, Tinder’s progressive web app consumes far less data than the native app. This lightweight application not only consumes less space on user devices, but also helps Tinder boost engagement.
Specifically, the company noticed an uptick in overall usage and an increase in average session times. Additionally, Tinder users started sending more messages and editing their profiles more often.
There’s no question that adopting PWA technology has helped Tinder establish itself as the leading dating app.
Trivago is one of the world’s largest hotel search engines. While the company already had a strong foothold within its market, much of its traffic originated from mobile devices. This should come as no surprise, as 59% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
In 2017, Trivago decided to implement a progressive web app to make its services more accessible. Due to its ability to function offline, the PWA could help users avoid frustrating service disruptions when hopping on an elevator or driving through areas with poor service.
Another perk is that it gives users a chance to try out the platform before downloading. The PWA was made available in 33 languages and can be accessed from 55 different countries.
The response to Trivago’s progressive web app was overwhelming. Since launching its PWA, Trivago experienced a 150% increase in engagement. Conversions skyrocketed by 97%. On top of that, the company found that users returned to the app at least twice in the 14 days after they installed the PWA on their devices.
While all of the progressive web apps examples on our list highlight progressive web app success stories, one of the most notable is Spotify. The music-streaming company has thrived since it transitioned to PWA technology. The Spotify PWA is everything users expect from a progressive web application — it’s simple, fast, reliable, and unobtrusive.
Spotify launched its progressive web application in 2019, the same year the streaming platform’s popularity exploded. After deploying its PWA, Spotify experienced a free-to-paid conversion rate of 46%. Just four years prior, its conversion rate was only 26.6%.
Over the next several years, the PWA continued to help Spotify gain traction with its target audience. In 2021, Spotify reported a conversion rate of 58.4%, shattering the old industry record that it set in 2019. The platform also enjoyed a sharp increase in average monthly listening hours and a rise in desktop users.
The question is, what makes Spotify’s progressive web application so appealing to users?
Spotify’s PWA checks all the boxes. It is lightweight, can function offline, provides an immersive user experience, and serves up customized playlists, which it builds based on a consumer’s listening habits.
In 2021, the alternative communication app Telegram had approximately 500 millionregistered users. This cloud-based platform enables users to send secure messages, join chats, and create threads. Like Twitter, Telegram is all about providing users with an agile, efficient experience.
However, Telegram’s flagship native mobile app was anything but agile. It was built on antiquated architecture and provided a friction-filled experience. To remedy these shortcomings, Telegram developers sunsetted the aging app and replaced it with a progressive web application.
The new PWA provided users a secure platform for sending and receiving messages. It offered some offline functionality and provided a fast, easy-to-use experience.
Globally, Telegram has hundreds of millions of users. Much of its success can undoubtedly be attributed to its decision to switch to a PWA solution.
In 2018, auto manufacturer BMW decided its mobile website was due for an overhaul and wisely made the move to progressive web application technology.
Its PWA was geared toward new car enthusiasts. Every detail of the new platform was crisp, clean, and captivating. The progressive web app offered lightning-fast load times, offline functionality, and minimal storage requirements.
After launching its progressive web application, BMW experienced near-immediate results.
Most notably, there was a fourfold increase in consumers transitioning from BMW’s main page to a sales site. The new PWA loaded four times as fast too. Additionally, BMW experienced a 49% increase in site visits and grew its mobile user base by 50%.
After hearing how fast the BMW progressive web app is, one might think it includes mostly static content. But that’s not the case.
BMW is extremely in tune with its target audience and knows what sort of content drives engagement among potential customers. As such, its PWA features an abundance of high-res videos and images, which can capture viewers’ attention, draw them deep into the sales funnel, and encourage them to explore BMW’s vehicle lineup.
According to estimates, 81.8% of Facebook users only use a mobile device to access the popular social media platform.
Always one to push the technological envelope, Facebook was among the earliest adopters of progressive web application technology. The social media behemoth relaunched its PWA in 2019 to provide users with an alternative to its native mobile app.
While the latter remains incredibly popular, the PWA was well-received. Much like Twitter Lite, Facebook offers an agile experience and takes up a minimal amount of space on users’ devices. These attributes make it appealing to casual users and avid Facebookers with limited storage capacity.
Moreover, the PWA offers better performance to users accessing the platform via a desktop. It loads quickly and has an intuitive interface that makes it easy for users to catch up on the latest posts in their feeds.
The well-known international magazine and global media company Forbes was also once infamous for its frustratingly slow and clunky website. However, in 2016 the platform began working on a progressive web application, which went live the following year.
During the initial launch, the PWA was only available to a limited segment of its global audience. After working out a few bugs and perfecting the platform, Forbes replaced its standard site with the PWA. If you’ve visited the Forbes website since the 2017 overhaul, you know it’s anything but slow.
The PWA home page can load in just 0.8 seconds when accessed on a desktop device. On a mobile device, it loads in about 2.5 seconds. Prior to the progressive web application upgrade, loading the page took 6.5 seconds, which can feel like an eternity to most modern consumers.
Today, Forbes has a huge online presence and is flourishing in the digital ecosystem.
It’s a prime advertising destination for brands in a wide range of verticals. Additionally, Forbes Council Members regularly submit high-quality blogs, which helps the platform provide its readership with engaging, informative articles and access to an expansive library of content.
12. Google Maps
Google designed a PWA version of its Maps app to function on phones with less bandwidth and computing power.
The PWA, a slimmed-down version of the standard app, offers much of the functionality of its larger counterpart without consuming so much space on a user’s mobile device. As a result, more consumers are able to access the Google Maps platform.
Users can connect with the Google Maps PWA in several ways. Like other progressive web applications, it can be reached by launching a smartphone’s mobile browser. Alternatively, Android users can download the PWA through the Google Play Store.
The primary benefit of developing a Google Maps PWA is that Google was able to reach a much broader audience. Although the PWA doesn’t offer all of the same features as the native mobile app, it does provide precise directions, along with information about businesses like operating hours.
Get started with PWAs
There are many benefits to PWAs. Combining the best features of websites and apps, a PWA will usually take up less space on users’ devices, run faster than a full app, and increase your user base.
When you’re ready to take advantage of this useful technology, consider which part of your current product would be best suited for a PWA.
Is there one element of your current website or app you’d like to prioritize, as Starbucks did with its ordering platform, or would you like to convert your entire web or app experience into a PWA? While answering these questions, it’s a good idea to identify your top three goals for implementing a PWA.
After you use these questions to understand your “why,” it’s time to start developing your PWA. And Adobe’s PWA Studio is the ideal platform for doing so.
Adobe Commerce provides an excellent customer experience whether your business is B2B or B2C. Commerce connects with Adobe’s PWA Studio where your team can build a PWA that will increase followers and conversion, all for less cost than a traditional app.