In recent years, several companies have moved to an app-only strategy by discarding mobile web assuming that with smart phone penetration the only way forward will be native apps. While this may sound good theoritically, in reality, users still discover products via google search or ads and their first interaction is with mobile web where they explore the product and may download the app if the product is of repeated use.
Although apps look more logical as they can be more personalized, at the same time they need to be discovered for download and have longer adoption cycle. According to a Morgan Stanley report, mobile browser audiences are two times larger than app audiences across the top 50 mobile properties and have grown at a slightly faster rate over the past three years.
But mobile web doesn’t load on slow networks. According to a study by Google, the average page load time on 3G networks is 19 secs which is enough for a person to go up 60 floors using elevator. On a 4G network the average time isn’t much better: 14 seconds.
Mobile sites are generally responsive version of desktop sites which even after mobile specific optimisations are about 2.54 MB in size and take ages to load on flaky internet connections.
Akhil Gupta, CTO & Co-founder at NoBroker.com, an online real estate firm, also faced the same issue. In the words of Gupta, its mobile web app couldn’t load fast enough on slow networks. “With more than 65% of the traffic on mobile web, we were still struggling with user drop-offs (high bounce rates) and needed to load our pages in sub 3 secs to attract the ever decreasing attention span of the users,” he said.
While looking for the best solution, he found that news sites were publishing their static content on newly launched AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and those pages open in almost no time. AMP ensured data is available to the nearest Google server to the user, resulting in super fast user experience.
“We decided to partner with Google to become their first C2C marketplace partner across the globe to try AMP with dynamic content which was yet to be implemented anywhere except news website. After much deliberation, we finally cracked it with lots of brainstorming and ideation sessions,” said Gupta.
He informed, “After AMP was implemented at NoBroker, we brought down our first page load time to sub 3 seconds which impacted in 25% more user registering for our services with 77% jump in the connections made between owners & tenants contributing significantly to our subscription plan revenues.”
According to him, all this jump in revenue and connections came from a majority of 55% new users who were earlier bouncing from our mobile website due to slow network.
Anuvrat Rao (Head, APAC Partnership for Google) who headed the project, explained, “We depend on our mobile phones for just about everything — finding information when we need it, booking flights and even enjoying video content online. We just don’t expect to have all the world’s information at our fingertips — we expect to get it the instant we’re looking for it.”
“Mobile web is still relevant as most of the discovery happens on web on the go and apps plays critical role only when product fits the user requirements and has repeat use. For all other uses mobile web will continue to be at the forefront and techniques like AMP makes it even more stronger as it makes the page load faster and let users quickly decide if product will be useful for them or not,” said Rao.
Since AMP was launched Google has done many partnerships with different kind of companies starting with Washington Post for news and recently chose NoBroker to be first company to update AMP in C2C, he summed up.