Instant apps
Instant apps
Instant apps allow users to access and use apps without installing them on their devices. They are limited to Android device users and Google Play Store branded apps only.

What are instant apps? 

Instant apps, also known as Android Instant Apps, are operated by Google Play Instant and were first launched by Android in 2017. With instant apps, users can launch and use certain parts of an app without having to install it, and it only takes them seconds to run the app. Instant apps are optional, but all Android app developers are open to register an instant version on the Google Play Store, and any Android user can access it. 

Android Instant Apps have been known to benefit both users and marketers by lessening the burden on both parties. Instant apps increase exposure to users which minimizes the need for heavy advertising, while users can experience the app without having to go through the full installation cycle. 

How do instant apps work? 

With the launch of instant apps, Android introduced a new program called Google Play Instant which runs and manages all instant app-related operations. Any Android app developer who wishes to register an instant app on the Google Play Store can install the Google Play Instant Software Development Kit (SDK) to build the instant module. Essentially, app developers are creating a demo version to give users a sneak peek at their service. 

Inside the Google Play Store, there is a separate “Apps to Try Now” tab in which users can discover different instant app options to try out, or they can also search for a specific app and check if it is instant-enabled. Apps that are instant-enabled have a “Try Now” button on the installation page, and when clicked on, the instant app is immediately launched on the user’s device.

Instant apps can be linked and made accessible from other platforms as well, including paid searches, mobile texts, social media platforms, and QR codes. For example, instant apps can be linked to a paid search result, and users who access the link are automatically redirected to the app from the webpage. Also, if a user receives a text with a link to an instant app, they can immediately access the app by simply clicking on the link. 

Benefits of instant apps 

The general consensus of instant apps is that there are no additional steps required to run an app, which eases the user journey process. Apart from this, there are multiple benefits instant apps provide to both users and marketers. 

Benefits for users 

  • Accessibility & convenience: Instant apps have no barrier to entry, and instant app links can be easily shared across users and accessed from multiple entry points. Also, these links immediately take users to the app and are ready for use without the need for a traditional installation process. In turn, users can reduce the time and data required for app installation, and they can easily discover and access apps without doing busy work.   
  • Improved user journey: Due to the increased accessibility and convenience, the entire process from start (initial awareness) to finish (installation) becomes hassle-free and streamlines the user journey. With the “try before you buy” scheme, users are not pressured to fully commit to using an app when they are still unsure about it. Instead, they are free to explore the app until they find it useful and decide afterward whether to install the complete version. Hence, obstacles are pushed out of the way and users’ freedom is valued, which enhances the overall user experience. 

Benefits for marketers 

  • Increased app discoverability: Having various entry points to engage with instant apps and the ease of use helps apps gain more exposure in the competitive market. With a wider range of visibility, instant apps can reach more users, and they will be more open to trying out the app because it only requires minimal effort and there are no strings attached. Naturally, this type of user behavior increases app discoverability across a large pool of users which is crucial for marketing growth. 
  • Higher engagement & user retention: As instant apps reach a larger number of users, engagement levels will also increase and contribute to improving user retention. Instant apps can be a powerful marketing tool to interact with potential users and push them further down the funnel. They can be used to build a strong first impression and boost brand credibility, which is beneficial for gaining the trust of users over time and ultimately swaying their decision to fully install the app.
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