BaBe’s cross-browser Progressive Web App rivals performance of native app.
Time spent on site comparable to native app: 3 minutes vs. 3 minutes per session
Articles read on site comparable to native app: 3 vs. 4 per session
Launched in 2013, BaBe is the largest news-aggregator app in Indonesia. It has been downloaded by more than a million people. This app-only business moved to the web for the first time in early 2016, building a cross-browser Progressive Web App with feature parity and a look and feel almost identical to their native app.
Getting users to download their app has always been a core challenge, and this problem only got more difficult as they expanded to target people outside the big cities. Several obstacles included poor internet connectivity and prevalent use of low-end devices. Together these hindered their inability to scale.
They built a Progressive Web App (https://app.babe.co.id) to combine the best of their app with the broad reach of the web. It leverages new, open web APIs to offer a mobile-web experience that loads quickly, uses less data, and re-engages users in multiple ways.
After implementing their Progressive Web App, they saw it perform slightly faster than their native app in testing. They also noticed that engagement was comparable, with users spending 3 minutes on site vs. 3 minutes on the native app per session. Articles read per session on the new Progressive Web App was also comparable to that on the native app—3 articles vs. 4 articles, respectively. “I've started to consume BaBe more through the mobile web than through the native app. It's just faster and better. Why would I bother downloading an app anymore?” Weihan Liew, BaBe CEO.