- For the first time, Google is running a limited test of Instant Apps with developers including BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki, the search giant said in a blog post.
- Originally previewed at the Google I/O conference last year, Android Instant Apps offer a new way to run apps on Android devices without requiring users to download them first. Instead, users can tap a link to instantly access a specific portion of an app.
- While the full SDK will be available in the coming months, marketers can prepare now by updating their existing app to take advantage of the Instant Apps functionality and then modularize the app so it can be downloaded and run on-the-fly.
Instant Apps are a noteworthy development because they are an attempt by Google to reduce the friction around discovering and downloading apps. Marketers pour significant resources into developing mobile apps because they offer a fuller set of features and functionality as well as better-looking experiences than is possible on a mobile website. However, Forrester research showed that consumers typically spend time with only five apps on a regular basis, meaning there might not be much return for marketers on their investment. By enabling mobile users to easily access parts of apps whenever they need them, marketers' apps offers the potential to reach more users and see more use overall.
Instant apps are also an example of how Google is looking to enhance the mobile user experience on its platform overall, with an eye toward ensuring consumers don’t leave. This is evident in the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, which speeds up the delivery of content, as well as in efforts to surface app content in search results.
While the overall use of apps continues to grow, there are those who think that apps are not a worthwhile investment for brands, especially in light of the growth in chatbots and digital assistants, which provide marketers a low-cost way to engage mobile users with relevant information they are searching for. By better integrating the mobile web and app experience, Google hopes to breathe new life into the app space, where it has a vested interest given that its Google Play Store is a big marketplace for apps.