Progressive web apps now being served

Progressive Web Apps

When Google says something is the next big thing, we tend to listen.

And Progressive Web Apps (or PWAs) are, in a word, it.

If you missed this news and were absent the day they had the PWA meeting at work, here’s what you should know.

The nutshell version.

PWAs can be summed up as a web page that can be hot-linked to the homescreen of the user’s phone, creating an app-like experience. Some recent technology enhancements and the increased power of newer smartphones and devices make it possible.

In slightly more technical terms, think of a PWA as a hybrid utility – a mix between a website and a native application on a mobile device.

Thirsty for an example? Here’s an example of a simple PWA that allows users to learn more about beer. Cheers.

Top 10 reasons they’re a good thing

Google (and us for that matter) like PWAs for these reasons.

  1. PWAs are fast to load
  2. They feel like an app
  3. They don’t require an app store to install
  4. They build search engine visibility
  5. They’re responsive
  6. They work with all browsers
  7. PWAs are linkable and not be hard to install
  8. They’re enhanced to work offline or on low-quality networks
  9. They stay fresh because of a background update function
  10. PWAs are safe and served via HTTPS

If you need a laundry list of PWA attributes, look at this detailed look at what Google says are the key elements of a good PWA.

How PWAs keep users engaged.

Studies have shown that in a consumer mobile app, you lose around 20% of the user base for every step a user has to perform before getting to valuable content or experiences.

It’s called the “funnel effect.” And it has huge implications. For example, what if the user has to do any of the following?

  1. Go to the app store
  2. Download the app
  3. Open App
  4. Sign up for the app
  5. Create something
  6. Post/Send to friends
  7. Overcome any other typical experiential roadblock

If each of these steps causes a 20% drop in users, the attrition rate is ridiculous. With PWAs, the first three steps are bypassed, allowing users to find value quicker and stay engaged longer.

Loading & Pushing.

People expect a site to load in 2.0 seconds or less, according to study. After 3.0 seconds, many are gone. Now think of a phone on 3G trying to load the heavy elements of a website. The words “clunky,” “glacial,” and “stultifying” come to mind. PWAs, by contrast, load quickly even in areas with poor connectivity.

Another great PWA feature is the ability to send Push Notifications to users who have added the PWA to their phone. Push notifications can increase CTR by up to 40%.

And now, for PWA drawbacks…

Since Google began leading the push for PWAs in 2015, development has been slow.

Cutting edge browser technologies are needed for a PWA to function correctly. Sure, the PWA most likely will still work on older devices and browsers, but the UX won’t be the same.

Apple is developing the required pieces for PWAs to function 100% correctly on iPhones and other iOS products. And because PWAs function similar to a normal website, a user on an iPhone can still reap the benefits of the PWA, even if they are unable to add it directly to their homepage.

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Ski resorts ride ups and downs

The “ski” and “snowboarding” slowdown

Google data shows that during the last 10 years, the terms “skiing” and “snowboarding” are being used less and less.

How much less? Try 65% fewer searches since January 2004. “Golf” has also had subpar performance as a search term: it’s down 33% during the same time frame.

skiboarding_graph_V2Source: Google search inquries for the terms presented over time based on data provided from Google Insights.

So what gives?

A number of factors are at work in this trend. Some are economic. Taking a family skiing for a weekend – including gas, lodging, lift tix, lessons, food and drink, etc – can run more than $1500 all in. Other reasons are demographic. Baby boomers – the backbone of the ski industry for a generation, are aging and less eager to hit the slopes.

 Now the good news: Looking for lessons.

When obvious indicators show a downturn, it’s time to look deeper for value. Bear markets almost always have opportunities.

So we took a deeper dive into search activity. We examined usage of the terms “ski lessons” and “snowboard lessons.” Results: Activity around these terms is RISING—but only in certain states.

Massachusetts, for example. The Bay State has seen an 80% rise in search queries based on “ski lessons” and “snowboard lessons” during the last 6 years. We looked further and found that many states are seeing the same trend – but not to the same extent at Massachusetts.


Source: Google search inquries for the terms presented over time based on data provided from Google Insights.

4 ways to read the tea leaves

The upsurge of interest in lessons can mean a few things:

  1. Gen X families are maturing. Their kids are tugging on mom’s coat to learn a cool new sport.
  2. Bargain hunters smell value. Climate change has shortened the winter season and consumers know it.
  3. Resort marketing is working. Many resorts have marketing programs that reach into digital spaces to attract new followers. Resorts have also shaped their terrain and parks to attract everyone from boomers to Millennials. Recruitment messages may be working.
  4. Snow sports are durable. Skiing and riding have die-hard followers. They have great equipment technology that makes it easier to learn. The X Games continues to draw interest. So skiing and riding may be down, but they’re definitely not out.

Trends: Proceed with caution

It’s important to follow data trends in the resort industry. They tell us a lot about where interest levels are and what opportunities may exist. While we don’t believe in basing strategies on trends, we do believe that reading trends is a good way to take the temperature on an industry.

If you are interested in learning more about how consumers are searching for resort related activities in your target markets, let’s chat.

Weekly Blend – 10/23/13


The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Infiniti Deja View

It doesn’t get much more interactive than having a commercial give you a call, does it?  Infiniti decided to take a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style of advertising to the next level with their responsive video “Deja-View”.  Upon visiting, the user sees a short intro and is prompted to call the toll-free number and enter the code they hear.  From there, the video begins playing and about 3 minutes in, the phone rings.  The male driver asks a few simple questions: Do you know me? Where should we go?  The play continues with a few more phone calls and the viewer soon realizes they are in a loop.  The process takes upwards of 20 minutes and doesn’t appear to have as much interaction as a user might hope for.  Overall, the experience seems to require too much user time & effort for minimal return.

California Creates an Eraser Button Law

Expediting the process faster than the federal government has been able to, California has made their stance regarding online privacy policies.  The new bill allows minors the right to erase information they have posted online and prohibits sites from targeting adult products (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) to those under age.  A second law requires transparency from publishers in regard to collecting tracking information.

Although the bills may have some holes, such as proof of age for minors, California is taking steps to move these laws into the forefront of debates & encourage other states to do the same.

What’s Next for Google Ads

Google was caught testing out new banner advertisements recently.  The sponsored cover photos in search results will add a new layer of interest and also ad potential for companies currently using Google AdWords.  Although they are still in limited testing, we can expect to see some advanced advertisement options roll-out soon.

Weekly Blend – 9/26/13

DC Weekly Blend

The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

iOS 7, 5s, and 5c

The big news last week was the iOS 7 update and the release of the iPhone 5s and 5c. Popular topics included a smarter Siri, automatic app updates, and the  revamped control center. However, a big opportunity for marketers was released as well, iTunes Radio. Like market leader (Pandora) and younger player (Spotify), iTunes Radio will allow brands to reach consumers through ad space. Apple explains that iAd “allows advertisers to pinpoint audience segments by leveraging iAd’s proprietary targeting tools.” With nearly 600 million iTunes accounts already in use, iRadio already has a massive potential customer base.

Why it matters:

Bargaining Power of Customers!! The real winners here should be companies that purchase voice and display ads on these streaming platforms. iRadio is only going to bring more competition to an industry were substitutes are readily available. This should force the streamers to offer better pricing and value to their consumers.

Google Stole the Cookies!

Well not really “stole.” Google is looking at a way to replace the web’s third-party cookies — First-party cookies come directly from the sites you visit, but third-party cookies are placed by other companies that collect information on you — with a system of its own that could solve some big challenges facing advertisers and drastically expand its grasp on the industry.

Why it matters:

Google would likely try to develop a better system, one that would, for example, work across desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. That cross-screen capability would enable advertisers to more accurately target smartphone users with ads based on laptop web browsing. Google would also probably give consumers more control over their information, attempting to defuse the privacy concerns driving do-not-track.

Paying for Reviews Isn’t Just a Bad Idea, It’s Illegal.

Earlier this week, the New York Attorney General handed down $350,000 in fines to companies participating in the buying & selling of product reviews on sites like Amazon & Yelp.  The reason for the hefty penalty?  Besides being ethically wrong, posting an illegitimate review is considered false advertising- especially because 90% of consumers use them when making a purchasing decision.

You can find more information about this topic from Venable LLP.