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Video: How to Acquire and Engage Users on the Mobile Web

Learn more about mobile engagement at Streaming Media West.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Husain Bengali: The mobile web has always been good at content discovery, but on the engagement metric, it tends to lag native apps, and if you have any doubts about that assertion, take a look at this data. We see that across the top 1,000 mobile apps compared to the top 1,000 mobile websites, mobile web does relatively well when it comes to just a number of users coming through. It’s almost 3X what you have across the top 1,000 mobile apps. However, when you look at engagement, apps really dominate. You have almost 20x the engagement as measured in minutes on native apps. That is the more organic side of discovery.

What if you are looking to advertise and pay for user acquisition? Even in that context, mobile web tends to be a way more cost effective way to get users. A company called housing.com in India studied this, and they found that their mobile web user acquisition rate was 1/50th of what they were paying for, a user, for the android app.

We're trying to add capabilities to the mobile web to bring up the ability for users to engage with it and have meaningful experiences over longer durations of time while retaining all the inherent advantages that exist with the mobile web in terms of discoverability and lower user-acquisition costs.

Here are the elements that have been missing on the web that prevent an app-like experience or used to prevent an app-like experience. With an app, users are able to launch into it from their home screen. They're able to use it regardless of whether they’re online or offline or whether they have spotty connectivity, and they get push notifications to tell them when there's new and interesting content.

With something called progressive web apps, we’ve addressed all of these. Rather than me try and formulate a way to explain this to you, I think this article did a good job of eloquently stating it's taken the best off the web and best of mobile apps and it's bringing that experience using web technologies. To a user, it acts and feels like an app.

What does this look like to an end user? Let’s walk through an experience. Say a user has visited your media site, and you have given them the option to add to home screen, which you can now do. If they to choose to take you up on that option, what they will see is an icon on their home screen. In this case, Biograph is the sample media PWA that we built out, and they’re going to tap on that app, and when they do so, it will open up in a full screen experience. There’s no evidence of any browser UI. It feels like an app already.

Furthermore, if they try to use the task switcher, notice that it will show up as a task or an app on its own as opposed to as Chrome browser, even though under the hood, this is all just a mobile website. It's Chrome that’s powering it. When they update their version of Chrome, they will get the latest and greatest features that we’re building in there.

By the way, the reason this is called progressive web apps is because we understand the notion that not all web APIs get adopted by all platforms at the same time, so these are built in a way such that they degrade gracefully, so if you are using a browser, which doesn't have part of the capabilities that a progressive web experience entails, the user will still be able to interact with it and get most of the advantages. Just that one web API will not be available. The benefits associated with that one web API will not be available to the user.

This experience is completely transparent to the user. As a developer, there is a mechanism for you to build it such that it degrades gracefully.

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