Android Instant Apps: How And Why To Build One?

What do you think if we told you that Google thought to combine the benefits of a fast loading web page with native functionalities of an Android app? The new product is called Android Instant App and it was announced during the Google I/O 2016. For the moment, BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki are the only one who started the initial tests.

https://liliputing.com/2016/05/android-instant-apps-load-like-web-pages-run-like-apps.html

What Are Android Instant Apps

The main purpose of Android Instant Apps is to help users to complete their tasks in an easy mode. Actually the idea is that customers will use the app by taping on an URL without going through Google Play Store. This strategy is focused more on part of apps designed for quick use.

Image Source: http://www.androidauthority.com/use-android-instant-apps-749544/

Working Algorithm

When a user looks for something related to your app, an URL of the app appears in Search results. After he taps on the link the app is “instantly” running on users’ device without installation. The entire algorithm is based on modularizing the app into pieces smaller than 4 MB which are displayed independently. Google’s advice is to split the code of the app according to users’ flow. This way only the necessary modules will be shown. Consequently Instant Apps will provide an easy and quick experience overall. The links for Instant Apps can be shared also via social media or messaging channels.

Image Source: http://www.amfastech.com/2016/05/understanding-how-android-instant-apps.html

How To Make Your App “Instant”?

For now you can’t do anything to make your app an Android Instant, but Google provides a tutorial for Preparing Your App, for when the service will be available for all developers and you will use the full SDK. Some of the following steps are also recommended for general Android apps.

  1. Remove any unused code from your app.
  2. Support Android App Links for the URL — based navigation.
  3. Refactor the app if it is larger than 4 MB.
  4. Target Android 6.0+ and add runtime permissions.
  5. Implement Smart Lock for Passwords if your users need to login.
  6. Move unsupported features into a library module. In the snippet below you can see what features aren’t supported by Instant Apps.
Image Source: https://developer.android.com/topic/instant-apps/prepare.html

Benefits Of Developing Instant Apps

We already mentioned about the increasing performances of Android modules provided by Instant Apps, but how these elements will influence marketing sector?

Easier User Acquisition

Being built on Google Play Services, with Instant Apps your customers will be able to use a lot of features available through a simple link. As we highlighted earlier, it is enough to structure your existing code and you have access to millions of users who will be just one tap away from your app if they use Google Search. The app will also be available after scanning the QR code or via NFC.

Better UX

The first idea of creating this service came from the web experience. With web pages, after a click on an URL address users are receiving the desired content. This will happen also with Instant Apps for devices powered by Android 4.1 and higher. They tap on the link and a few seconds later they have the app opened to the desired feature in mobile mode. The terms that define these benefits are responsiveness and easy to use.

Improves Retention

With the help of Instant Apps customers can use the app over and over again anytime they need, without installing it. It is a handy way to increase engagement since the aspect of the app is the same as its full version. Impressive design will make users remember your app whenever they will need to complete the tasks for which you created it in the first place.

Enhance Accessibility

A simple URL will be the key to open your app. Customers don’t have to think twice if they have enough space on their device for using the app. This will solve a big problem for many users. Furthermore, they will receive only the part of the app they are interested in, avoiding searching through the entire app for the wanted activities.

Which Apps Will Benefit Most

Many important features like location, payments and services provided by Firebase will be available in Instant Apps. This makes them suitable for specific categories of apps like:

Situational Apps

There are many apps that are built for occasional use.

Parking Apps

When people travel to other cities and they need to pay for parking, they will do that in a simple and rapid way. Look how easy it can be. Customers save their time and space on their device by skipping the downloading stage.

Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di8SLFxPz0g

Event Based Apps

Apps built only for specific events have their name written on Instant Apps. Users will observe the advantages offered by Instant Apps for Christmas, Black Friday or any other episode that happens once per year. If we think further, how many times people get married or buy new houses in a lifetime? But there are apps for those occurrences as well. Soon there will be Instant Apps for them.

Shopping Apps

This is a good opportunity to modularize retail apps for searching, checking items and buying products in different sections. All the purchases will be completed faster and without any problems.

Split Choice Apps

It is a sure fact that users who enjoy entertainment and media moments will embrace this solution. It will put an end to the situation to choose between two options because they can have them both, one after the other without downloading anything.

Image Source: https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2016/05/android-instant-apps-evolving-apps.html

Mobile Marketing Predictions

This service will create new channel to prove your apps’ value. Instant Apps can be considered a shortcut for users to access your app. If they discover your app through links and they enjoy the experience, then the next move is to download the full version.

New monetization strategies may arise for app developers. Since your app is now hidden behind hundreds of apps in Google Play Store, your chances to grow revenue are minimal. But after the final release of Instant Apps you can make your app available all over the web. More users implicitly mean more money.

Instant Apps will most likely have best practices like ASO. Just like you, millions of developers want to see their app in search results. So, the competition continues to be fierce. In order to combat it you need to optimize your app in every possible way.

Final Thoughts

Android Instant Apps is a revolutionary idea to make apps available for users anytime they need them without installing them. We presented you the insights of the moment for this product and if you are interested to be part of the early testers you can use the Sign In form and Google will send you the updated documentation and it will announce you if you are selected for early access to Android Instant Apps. Good luck with your plans to show your app to the world!

Originally published on App Samurai.