In 2016, Google announced that they were releasing Instant Apps on Android devices. The feature became available on select devices in January this year, but it’s expected that it will be available on all Android devices very soon. The rollout will allow users to access certain apps without downloading them to their mobile device. This new feature has caused a lot of controversies — especially for app owners, who earn revenue from users paying for downloads. However, Instant Apps could also create new opportunities for marketers to reach a larger audience.
Instant Apps will work much like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in that the pages will pre-download content for a faster experience for the user. Content will download as the user approaches it, rather than the whole page loading in advance. This means users are more likely to stay on the app because they’re not waiting to interact with the content: 47% of users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less.
This new feature will enable you to widen the top of your funnel and allow more users to interact with your app. An Instant App will act like a lite version of the pre-existing app, so new users who normally would not engage with your content get a taste of the full version and be encouraged to download it. Google also believes that the new feature will act as an “acquisition strategy” and boost downloads in the long run because the Instant Apps will be easily shareable. For example, by including a link to your app in an email campaign, users can engage with the app immediately without having to download it. There are fewer barriers between the user and your content.
Instant Apps could create both new opportunities and new complications for mobile marketers. Which way the scale leans will depend on how users interact with the new feature and how it will affect app downloads.