Conversions: Next Generation Web

by Luke Wroblewski March 24, 2017

In his Next Generation Web presentation at Google Conversions 2017 in Dublin, Ireland, Ani Mohan outlined the Chrome team's efforts to bring native mobile app-like capabilites to the mobile Web. Here's my notes from his talk:

  • The Web has been around for about 25 years. In 1996, we had 360M people using it on desktop computers. Today it is at 3.6B, mostly on smartphones. This is the largest platform that’s ever been built.
  • People spend most of their time in apps vs. Web sites on mobile. 188.6 minutes vs. 9.3 minutes. But people are getting tired of downloading new apps, rate is approaching 0 new apps downloaded per month.
  • You can think of this difference as a tradeoff between reach and richness. But Chrome and other browsers are working on closing that gap by providing rich experiences in mobile Web browsers.
  • Discovery on the Web starts with a link, so loading speed matters for creating a great first impression. 53% of users will abandon a mobile page if it takes more then 3 seconds to load. 7% reduction in conversions for every 1-second delay in loading times.
  • AMP is an open-source simplified version of landing pages that optimizes for fast initial load times. AMP pages are 4x faster, have <1 sec median load times, and use 10x less data than typical Web landing pages.
  • There’s more than quick landing pages needed for the Web. To increase engagement: Add to home screen (easy way to launch a site), push notifications (to tell people when to come back & why), reliable performance (pages need to work regardless of connectivity).
  • Web sites can prompt users to add them to a home screen, with no need to wait for an app download. This opens the site in a full-screen view.
  • Push notifications are now available in the browser, ask for permissions and send notifications.
  • Poor connectivity on mobile can cause Web pages to fail. Service Workers can cache content and when people are offline, you can use local content instead of going to server for content.
  • This suite of new capabilities is referred to as Progressive Web Apps (act and feel like native web apps but live on the Web). PWAs take advantage of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile apps. Think of it as a website built using web technologies but that acts and feels like an app.
  • 66% of purchases on mobile happen on the web.
  • Mobile Web conversions are 66% lower than the desktop. Many reasons for this, but one is typing is hard. One-tap checkout helps solve this. The browser stores payment info and sites can ask for it at the moment of checkout. This is the PaymentRequest API.
  • 54% of people will quit if they have to fill in another sign-up form on mobile. Credential Manager is an analogous API that stores identity for people and sites can access them. Friction-free way to get people into an authenticated state.
  • More browsers are adopting these APIs and technologies. Public announcements from major browsers suggest they are willing to support these improvements.
  • Housing.com saw a 38% conversion increase when Web pages were boosted 30% in page speed. It costs Housing.com $0.07 to acqure a Web user vs. $3.75 to aquire an Android user.
  • Make My Trip first time PWA users book 3X more than app users.
  • 76% increase in conversions on Alibaba mobile site, +14% and +30% Android monthly active users.
  • How do you get started? 1. Move your site to https. 2. add features vis progressive enhancement.