Instant Apps

Instant Apps: What Are They & Will They Benefit Developers?

Have you ever wanted to try an app before downloading it? Developers are constantly looking at new strategies and tools that will help them improve conversion and retention, but many suffer from users that download their app and either open it once and uninstall, or never even open it.

In order to improve conversion rates, Google released Instant Apps, also known as Google Play Instant. This feature, first introduced at Google I/O 2016, allows users to try an app or game before installing it. At the Developer’s Keynote at Google I/O 2018, the tech company announced their latest plans for Instant Apps, and that the feature is now available on 1.2 billion devices worldwide running Android 5.0 or higher.

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The number of apps annually downloaded is steadily increasing, and in 2017 alone, 82 billion apps were downloaded on the Google Play Store. Similarly, the number of developers that reached 1 million installs grew by 35% since 2017. Developers that immediately jumped at the opportunity to utilize Instant Apps are surely a contributing factor to the numbers above, but is there any real promise that they’ll benefit developers in the long-run?

Are They Available to Everyone?

When Google first announced the concept to developers, some questioned whether they could be made for all apps or only a select few. They released the Instant Apps SDK to all developers in May 2017, and gave game developers a gift of a closed beta right before GDC 2018. Six games sported a new “Try Now” button right next to their “Install” button. The placement of “Try Now” is a strategic maneuver to encourage users to demo the game before deciding to download. As of now, Instant Apps are available for all mobile games.

Instant Apps Candy Crush

On May 10th, 2018, Google later stated that they would be integrating ARCore into Instant Apps. The example Google provided was for shopping apps and detailed how users can operate their device’s camera to look at products. Looking at the shoppable item then displays a link to an Instant App that would allow them to purchase items without installing the app.

The possibilities are endless with Instant Apps, especially now that AR will be integrated into the experience. Even though AR will most likely be used through search more often than not, it still shows that Instant Apps are beneficial in other areas other than the Google Play Store to improve app discovery. While Instant Apps seem favorable for users, can they help developers engage a larger audience?

How Will Instant Apps Help Developers?

The concept of Instant Apps is a promising one, and Google has enticed developers with success stories of apps that have already begun utilizing it. Apps like Hollar and Wego have increased their purchase conversion by 20% and 27% respectively thanks to Google Play Instant. Additionally, game developers like King and Hothead Games have also improved their player acquisition by using the Instant App APK.

Google has also been testing Google Play Instant with AdWords. They revealed at their annual conference that their ads have driven 10 billion app installs, and that more users are engaging with playable ads. These examples demonstrate that Instant Apps can help developers increase user engagement and revenue. Given the level of competition on the Google Play Store, it only makes sense for developers to create an Instant App for themselves to boost their bottom line and expand their audience.

Should Developers Make Instant Apps?

Being able to use and play an app or game without installing it sounds beneficial to users because they won’t need to worry about using up precious space on their devices. The concept of Instant Apps is still also increasingly tempting to developers as it can ultimately help to increase user engagement, session duration, conversion rates and more.

Instant Apps are incredibly beneficial to developers and users alike, making it key to success on the ever-growing Google Play Store. If you’re an Android developer, you should consider using Google Play Instant to aid your ASO efforts.

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