How PWA is revolutionizing the News Industry?

By: Vidhya Panchal, Aug 1st, 2019 # PWA

Back in 1980, when Columbus Dispatch got announced as the first online newspaper, it only had 3600 subscribers.

However, the number was significant, considering there weren’t many internet users, not many had access to the devices, and the overall subscriber list was good for a start.

Since the domain was good enough to tolerate 3000 odd people at a time, the website never really had to go through the technical hiccups like page load time, speed of the web surfing, etc.

And even if the pages were slow to load, that is, more than 10 seconds to display the text, the users never really bothered about interaction with the machine.

Today, we all want computers to generate outcome so swift that the interface should feel as human as possible.

Anything slower than 1 second feels machinery, and the entire point of having a website feels senseless and useless.

The thirst for sprinkling human-ness to the machine gets even bigger today because of the number of subscribers and looking at their endless demands; we just can’t overlook their requirements.

With millions of online subscribers skimming through the channel at one go, the challenges for the news web industry has gotten bigger and real. 

And the only way to go about it is by accepting them and moving forward in the way industry wants.

Let’s quickly go through some of the problems with the existing news web.

  • There’s too much traffic which bounces off.
  • There’s little new traffic.
  • There’s a little dedicated readership.
  • Number of pages visit per session.
  • Lesser scroll depth.
  • Super expensive portals and applications with no guarantee over traffic generation.

The news and entertainment industry can’t afford to have such problems on the website because these problems also affect their “ad views,” and the only way to convince a conversion is by engaging the customers.

The above problems are based on the perspective of website owners; however, there are far greater problems that the readers face.

Here are some of the problems which detest readers while they go through non-interactive news websites.

  • The pages are not so expressive. 
  • The lengthy response time tests the patience.
  • Offline navigation is a distant dream.
  • High data consumption despite poor connectivity.
  • Difficulty in sharing the content.

With as many problems troubling readers, a content management website can’t really handle the subscribers and meet their expectations.

Handling two E’s in the media industry with PWA.

If you can take care of two Es of the customers, i.e., customer engagement and customer experience, you can pretty much conquer the news space and readers.

The seismic change from mobile websites to PWA will be as big a seismic change as when the newspapers got shifted to digital print.

Today, noting the need for the hour, Media and news industry have opted for Progressive Web Application (PWA) for engaging their customers and enhancing the customer experiences.

As PWA modernizes and streamlines the need for websites in the native application outfit, there’s a little too very low resistance to change in every organization (because there’s possibly no good reason to ignore the technology).

PWA is like masking mobile websites with a native application look, but that’s not the full story.

Along with the interactive attire and ambiance, your mobile website also performs better— something which isn’t expected from the usual sites.

So far now, PWAs for CMS sites have met their expectations, and we will cover a few motivating case studies in the later part of the blog.

Let’s find out how PWA solves multiple issues for both publishers and readers at the same time.

The Win-Win Deal With Faster Page Load

PWA promises faster page load— thanks to the service workers— thereby pushing the win-win deal for both the website holders and readers.

A speedy mobile web application brings conversion for web owners, and the same brings engaging experience for the customers.

Service workers are like gold miners— they mine the vital resource and sideline the unimportant ones before bringing the resource to people’s visibility.

In any Progressive Web Application, the first and the foremost step involves breaking down of resources into granular pieces so that the screen gets the required resources for the early visibility.

Later in the stage, Service workers cache all the additional pieces which get loaded during navigation to other pages and screens.

The added benefit of service worker: Since these workers cache relevant data like feed, current views, etc., repeat visits are mostly instantaneous— very similar to that of applications.

It brings a lot of positives for web applications because “we download zero application per month,” and with PWA, the users can have an “app-like” joy ride without worrying about installing or downloading native applications.

PWA supports the AIDA model

Again, PWAs are super-efficient when it comes to covering AIDA for captivating the audience.

If content did all the conversion jobs, most of the websites would have been minting limitless green bills; but we know that reality is very different.

It’s also about responsively placing the content so that it doesn’t repel the readers.

AIDA model or simply put “Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action” in your content, you can engage your reader.

It has been in the industry for years, and PWA bears the model with the same zeal for building a loyal readership.

Let’s have a fine look at how it takes care of the stated model with outright honesty.

  1. Attention: As PWA supports highly visual and flexible content over the top of faster loading, it quickly grabs attention, thereby giving a great start to the AIDA model. It’s one of the most excellent ways to build trust so that readers spend more time on comprehending the content instead of figuring out the complex content schema. It’s a pure science to understand that visuals produce more leads than any other form of content— credit to faster human interpretation. So, with PWA, you can nicely place and sort your visual content and start with getting visual attention.
  2. Interest: You want to make your users believe that you are here to benefit them, and they aren’t scrolling aimlessly. You want your content to add value to their lives, and by jolting their area of interest, you can achieve the said. As PWA are lighter to code and faster to load, you can think of adding serviceable ads for readers. In ordinary non-PWA websites, ad placements can further deteriorate the response time of the pages. However, PWA encourages you to have a beautiful blend of content and ad, which just entice the interest level of the readers so good enough for conversion.
  3. Desire: As a part of the media industry, you want the content to spread like wildfire, and that’s a tough nut to break if you aren’t igniting the passion in your readers. The desire to spread your words like fire can get true only if the readers feel the urge your piece. With PWA, you can organize your content and allow the readers to swipe through any content. As navigation between the content is much smoother, the readers anticipate more pages per entry than expected. And if your content matches their standard, they are twice as likely to share your content. By organizing your content, categorizing them correctly, permitting them to hedge content through user preference, and letting them save and share the content will do worlds of good to your business. 
  4. Action: When you are a part of the news industry, you can’t wait for your piece to conclude for readers to react to the CTAs. You have to think of converting them as early as possible. You are up against a challenging force if you want users to act to your content. It is said that “you aren’t a good media person if you look very inviting to your readers.” You have to keep your points without letting your users know your bias. So, it’s technically a tough ask for you to see them through CTAs. By dressing your website in PWA ambiance, you get the chance to convert your readers through push notifications. Moreover, repeat entry to the web application through the home button increases the likelihood of conversion.

PWA Media Industry— Case Study

We are getting close to the importance of PWA in the news and media industry with these use cases.

Let’s check how some of the top giants of industry have implemented PWA in filling up all the problem holes of the customers.

The Financial Times

The Financial Times is a British international daily newspaper which also operates online and is owned by the Japanese company Nikkei Inc. 

Headquartered in London, the company aims to cover economic strata of the globe, thereby disseminating everything encircling the finances of the world.

It’s best known to reflect the content on salmon-colored pages— both on newspaper and webpage, and they vow to carry the same legacy on their progressive web applications.

Challenges

Nikkei Inc. observed massive users influx through all their media publication houses, including Financial Times via mobile phones.

It means that the users were looking to get into the website; however, the slow page load, i.e., response time more than 20 seconds, repelled most of them. Moreover, knowing that more than half the readers bounce off the page if the page load takes more than 3 seconds, Nikkei couldn’t resist PWA change. 

It’s needless to say that the slow page load and reduced speed index did affect their search rankings, and their business did take a massive toll.

PWA and Financial Times.

The idea of progressive web applications did lure Nikkei when the Lighthouse testing made them aware of the fact that where they stand.

Like any new PWA-user, Nikkei ran a few Lighthouse tests to find out how optimized they stand among their competitors.

To cater offline content to the readers, the daily platform converted the mobile web into the web application.

Soon they got PWAs in places, their Lighthouse score leaped from 23 to 82, and their organic search, traffic, and conversion touch great heights. [1]

Noteworthy Results.

  1. 75% faster loading with prefetch
  2. 14 seconds speedier time-to-interact
  3. 2X better Speed Index
  4. 58% more conversions (subscriptions)
  5. 49% more daily active users
  6. 2.3X organic traffic
  7. 2X page views per session

Forbes

Forbes is a giant American Bi-weekly magazine, better known for its unique and impressive content.

The company covers various niches, including communication, technology, politics, law, and science.

It’s best known for coming up with the lists and rankings of the wealthiest Americans, The world billionaires, etc. 

Sweetly covering the stories of the wealthiest people across the globe, the company is headquartered in New Jersey and is owned by the Hong-Kong investment group.

Akin to other digital and print media, Forbes realized the significance of progressive web apps, thereby redefining the way web applications get designed.

Challenges

Forbes knew that it’s the users who understand what’s right for them, and it’s them who dictate how the content should look.

With mobiles as a monumental touchpoint for news and entertainment, it’s evident that the link between the publication houses and readers remains consistently established.

With thousands of readers diving on a page-pool at one go, the company faced a severe problem in catering ads which eventually barred them from monetizing their opportunities.

Furthermore, Forbes comprehends the credo that “there’s an audience which needs to be understood rather than them understanding us.”

It implies that Forbes needed to be more personalized than the most customized application, more engaging than the most appealing app.

Thus, it adopted PWA long back for addressing all the issues.

PWA and Forbes.

Google Lighthouse encouraged Forbes to check their PWA score, and without any surprise, they were lagging concerning the industry’s requirement. 

Having tested the PWA-optimality, it gave Forbes a tunnel vision where they needed to move on from that point in time.

With Forbes-PWA, they had put the simple idea into implementation, and the view was “sometimes, it’s good to make readers feel that they control us. It, in turn, generates trust, and we will get hundreds of opportunities for reversing the control over our readers.”  

PWAs— sticking to what they are known for— did the best of the work for the readers and more importantly, Forbes.

The overall conversion, the traffic, the returning traffic, and re-engaging customers were way higher than it anticipated. [2]

Noteworthy Results.

  1. The brisk page load— the new site takes an average of 0.8 seconds to load.
  2. The web application shot up user engagement by 100%.
  3. The session per user increased by 43%.
  4. The users scrolled the web pages three times.
  5. Increase in ad views (by 20%) due to formatted image and faster visual load.
  6. Push notifications specifically designed for Android devices.
  7. The users could traverse through any content using the story format, also known as cards.
  8. The serious page size cutting from 2MB to 30KB.

A lot of other news and digital content companies such as Medium, Smashing Magazines, Twitter, The Weather Channel, etc. have taken PWA seriously exactly when they should, and knowing how Google places PWAs on the search engine, almost all the mobile pages will acknowledge that “PWAs are no more an option, but compulsion.”

Conclusion.

Maybe you have been working hard to place your info channel into the giant media landscape, and perhaps you have been doing everything right only to find yourself on the receiving end.

Who knows— if nothing has worked for you, PWA might be the thing you need?

Google has already hinted that it ranks PWA pages, and it will give you time to adapt the changes; however, if you aren’t ready to make this change, reach out to the experts who can solve your problems at one go.

Here’s how Aureate Lab has been delivering the PWA solutions.

  • It controls the bounce rate by designing interactive web apps.
  • It attracts and maneuvers new traffic.
  • The responsiveness invites dedicated readership.
  • It increases the number of page visits per session.
  • It compels the users to scroll beyond the upper fold.
  • It helps with Affordable web applications and business model freedom.
  • It helps in designing expressive applications. 
  • It shrinks down the page load time.