AMP vs PWA Websites: How To Differentiate And Integrate

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PWA is an acronym for Progressive Web Apps. These modern websites are similar to mobile apps with the same interactions and navigations. They apply the latest features which are supported by modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Edge and use a collection of design concepts. PWAs are also sustained by technologies and Web APIs that work in tandem to offer the best of websites and mobile apps. These are an advanced form of Responsive web apps with additional features of an app. They allow users to make use of the latest features supported by modern browsers in their mobile responsive website, to give an app like experience on the mobile web. 

Features Of PWA 

• Compatibility- can match multiple kinds of device (desktop, mobile, tablet, including the ones yet to come). 

• Responsive- Work for all users irrespective of their browser choice. 

• Connectivity-Work Offline or on poor networks. 

• Updated- the service worker fills in process ensures current, with offline functionality, push notifications, content caching, background content updating and lot more. 

• Page Loading- Faster load time with App Shell, a design concept. 

• Secure- Accessed via https to ensure safe content and to prevent spying. 

• Native Features Assistance- appearing in apps list, hardware-accelerated 2D / 3D graphics via WebGL or HTML5 Canvas, smooth UIs with 60 fps animations, launch in Full screen, clipboard access, accessing the file system and reading user selected files in any browser 

• Accessible- Share easily with URLs, and doesn’t require installations. 

• Bookmark- Users can bookmark and pin their favorite apps to their home screen without the hassle of installing these from an app store. Studies show that each additional click required using an app results in a twenty percent user drop off, which is a major hindrance that prevents users from trying a native application. With PWA there are fewer clicks and more convenience for users. 

PWA ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES 

Advantages 

• Online / Offline usage 
• Permits working even on weak internet connections. 
• No need for a separate code base 
• Add to home screen icon 
• Loads pages faster 
• Responsive and progressive 
• Linkable, shareable and index friendly 
• Secure and less intrusive 
• Lesser cost than native apps 
• Easier access maximized reach and increased engagement 
• Less development effort 
• Best option if you don’t have enough resources to build native apps 
• Development lead time reduction 
• Unified customer experience 
• Enhances the conversion rate. 
• Users can scroll 60 frames in one second. 
• Opens on full screen without any URL bar. 
• Engages the users with push notifications. 
• Allows smooth animations and navigations. 
• Users access website via Home screen icon on device. 
• These web pages are stored in cache with Application Shell and, thus loads them instantly in less than 5 seconds on recurring visits. 

Disadvantages 

• Some devices cannot support its features for instance, in android PWA has few support issues and in an iOS device, the notifications and shortcut prompting on the home screen are not supported. 
• It has platform limitations that lead to re-engagement issues. 
• Unsupported native features – 
• Call features like SMS or calls, sending SMS/MMS, reading voicemail, getting the user’s phone number, making phone calls without the Dialer dialog 
• Access to calendar, alarms, browser, task management, camera, and contacts 
• Access to sensors and hardware features like atmospheric pressure sensor, flashlight, proximity sensor, magnetometer, Bluetooth via Web Bluetooth API, Ambient light sensor, NFC, GPS, accelerometer etc. 
• Cannot support cross app log in 

How Progressive Web App or PWA Works? 

PWAs are similar to the look and feel of native mobile apps for both iOS and Android. It leverages different features of a mobile device like camera and geolocation in the web apps. 

Step 1: Install and register for a service worker separately and relate it with your app to make it a Progressive Web App. 

Step 2: Take the support of Social Worker, which is a worker script written in JavaScript. It works independently behind the scenes to help PWA perform the activities. It caches pages and static elements and showcases those elements once a visitor opens the app. 

Step 3: Use web push notifications to increase user engagement with your web apps. 

Understanding AMP 

Accelerated Mobile Page or AMP is an HTML page that is lightweight and stripped down. The mobile user gets a more convenient experience because content is faster, more engaging, and more readable. It is an open source platform created on JavaScript and approved by Google that has a better speed of page loading than regular HTML. It is a method to build web pages for static content (web pages that don’t change according to user behavior) that makes it easy for publishers to create fast mobile-friendly content that loads quickly on mobile devices. Google integrated AMP into its mobile search results on Feb 24, 2016, and those pages making use of AMP coding appear in specific place in the search result with an “AMP” designation. 

AMP concentrates on improving page-loading presentation and browsing experience of a website on mobile devices. Thus, having plain page with only the crucial information without many fancy features compared to other HTML pages. It avoids data ten times from a usual website or app that isn’t so useful for a busy information seeker, to deliver the informative content in the fastest possible time. 

Google quotes “AMP aims to improve the performance of the mobile web dramatically. We want web pages with rich content like video, animations, and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously and wants this technology platform independent in any manner.” 

AMP was especially designed for publishers, and publishers still make up a big chunk of AMP content out there. As of today, many industries are transitioning specific content on their websites into AMP pages because they offer such an improved user experience to the traditional slow-loading mobile web. 

Features Of AMP 

• Lowers page load time and speeds up the website 
Enhances mobile SEO and keyword rankings in mobile devices  
• Website publishers have full control over the visual and business design 

AMP ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES 

Advantages 

• Web pages get easily cached and loaded 
• Supports all available ad formats 
• Enhances and deepens engagement of users 
• Page load time decreases to less than 1 second, giving 4 times faster page load 
• Is especially useful for content-based websites, like news publishers, and other verticals of content 
• Publishers of the website have full control over both the business and visual design. 
• The pages that use valid AMP version will be shown as a preview of the ‘Top Stories”, above the other results in the mobile search results for the topic. This is a huge opportunity for publishers who have the AMP version of their content to be readily visible on the front page, and outrank those who haven’t adopted the technology. 

Disadvantages 

• It is not suitable for Ecommerce website. 
• Images are done with lazy load functionality meaning they will load only when you scroll down to them 
• A streamlined version of your Cascading Style Sheets will be necessary 
• Cannot enhance search engine ranking 
• It works only on the basis of cache. 

How Google Accelerated Mobile Page Or AMP Works? 

AMP mobile-first web pages enhance the page loading speed by excluding the unnecessary JavaScript, sizes the page elements statically and uses asynchronous loading. There is no need to rework on an entire site, you can target specific pages to improve their performances by focusing on web design AMP development. 

Step 1: Create an AMP template for certain content type. 

Step 2: Use a rel=’’amphtml” tag on the non-AMP version of the content (Make sure AMP version is accessible to search engines). 

Step 3: AMP version directs to the non-AMP version with a canonical tag. 

Difference Between PWA And AMP 

• While AMP reduces the page load time, PWA pages update as soon as possible to let users surf and experience a mobile-app-like-website, without any interruption. 
 AMP gets content in front of users fast, while PWA enables rich user experience and engagement through features like push notifications, add to home screen button etc. 
 AMP contains streamlined CSS and standardized JavaScript and components whereas, PWA contains Service Worker, Web App Manifest, App Shell etc. 
 AMP is particularly suitable for static content heavy websites like blog, articles, news publishing or publisher-based website. PWA is best suited for e-commerce websites, as PWA enabled sites to look and feel like mobile apps. They are recommended for “https” sites that are secure connections between site and users. 

THINKING About AMP And PWA 

It is very significant to know the difference between AMP and PWA, but you need to understand each of their features, similarities and dissimilarities. If you’re an “HTTPS” website owner, then you need the support of both the technologies to serve your visitors better, thus you need to study Google AMP vs PWA. 

Thus, if you are an ‘https’ website owner, both PWA and AMP are substantial to offer a smooth experience to users and you should never do away with both. If your website is mainly content based, then AMP will be suitable for you to let the users instantly access the content that they needed. AMP seems to be a good choice for sites that are not too media hefty, and it does not require lots of custom JavaScript and is mainly having stagnant content of pages. 

With AMP, users get access to content quickly while PWA improves user experience and keeps them engaged. To explain in simpler terms, AMP is the waiter responsible for serving the food quickly while PWA is the cook preparing dishes that look appealing and taste delicious. Both the new facilities PWA and AMP are added for website development

If you have an eCommerce website, you can never disregard PWA that gives your website the feel of a mobile app in mobile devices, letting users have a smooth mobile-friendly experience even without installing the mobile app. AMP can also be used for e-commerce sites, however, there are limitations which might be time and cost consuming to work around. Websites that are highly active and interactive benefits from PWA more, as they focus on improving engagement and experience and not merely on loading content fast. If you want your customers to come back often and interact with your site, PWA will be a wise choice. Also, with PWA increasing its features and offline capabilities to integrate NFC, Bluetooth, mobile phone sensors and other hardware functions, there is no reason why you should consider these. 

Though, it is noticeable that Google is giving extra preference to AMP. currently, Google has come up with a new visual content “Snapchat-like Media Content”. This content format is based on AMP and is very much similar to stories feature of Snapchat. This new Google AMP initiative, named as “Stamp”, where ‘St’ stands for stories, is based on AMP for faster loading of pages. 

AMP to PWA flow is a gradual process, websites first accept the AMP technology and then shift to PWA. Similarly, a Washington Post article first came up in AMP carousel before registering in Service Worker. They started incorporating more navigation facilities in PWA for better UX with an aim to increasing users who accept this flow. So, they simplified the process by providing instant loading of pages on the Washington Post domain. Once a user becomes a frequent visitor, they promptly show ‘add to home screen’ option. Once a user accepts it, it becomes a one tap experience. 

Today, Google is paying attention towards turning the readers into paid traffic. Here the news publishers will not have to pay to advertisers for their news articles. From now on, Google will search for potential subscribers through AMP webpages, who are willing to pay for recent updates. No such initiatives have benefited Google while utilizing the PWA technology. Therefore, AMP is still the best option for Google. 

INCORPORATING PWA And AMP 

AMP and PWA also work together pretty well when combined. You can install a Progressive Web App shell from your origin with the help of the amp-install-service worker. This enables users clicking on the designated button at the end of an AMP page to navigate easily to a total package PWA browser. Similarly, PWA can even accommodate AMP documents within it due to AMP’s portability feature. 

Understanding both AMP and PWA websites is the key to proper implementation and make a major difference in your overall web design, digital marketing, and SEO strategies

Author Sarah Grace Del Rosario is a blogger from Mayple. We match businesses with vetted marketing experts and help measure and manage their performance, to ensure marketing success. When not working, Sarah loves to travel and paint. She also does event styling for events like wedding and birthday celebrations.

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