Instant App - the Google Android success story

2017/ 01/09

In May 2016 Google announced Instant Apps, which - since their launch in May 2017 - provide solution to a number of issues, and not just on the user-side. But why are these applications so successful?

In the second half of 2016, 23% of mobile applications were used only once after being installed. Accordingly, statistics also point out that 95% of installed applications are deleted within one month. Many reasons could be listed for these high customer-churning numbers, but one of the most important reason is resulted by life itself. In most cases, we only rarely need to use a feature. Take, for example, the flashlight application. Just because we suddenly needed light at a power outage, it does not necessarily mean that the application should be stored nonstop on our mobile device. Especially when we're in need for extra storage space, or we're just having trouble tracking the mass of applications generated by unnecessary downloads. Android Instant Apps provide a great solution for exactly these use cases.

What you have to know about instant apps

Despite the current technical constraint (instant applications are only available on certain devices with at least Android 6.0 operating systems), Google has created a major market since more than 500 million devices can now be used for non-installing apps. Ever since their launch the popularity of instant apps is unbroken. Thanks to this solution, users may access features they actually need and access them instantly, without having to download or install them. On the other hand by using instant apps developers are given the opportunity to highlight the most important feature of their application and thus overcome the target market for the full version of the app.

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On the official Google site, you'll find that in order to use instant apps, first you need to make certain settings on your device. By turning on the option of instant apps, a simple Google Chrome search can provide you a list of available instant applications. An already-tried instant app can be found later in the Google Play store for quicker access. When opened, only temporary information is stored on our device, which can be removed from our smartphone at any time. For the instant use an internet connection is required, so if you want to use an instant app in offline mode, you will need to stick with the classic download and installation procedure. As you can see the instant apps name is not the perfect when it comes to no downloading and instant access at any time, but even this way the concept of instant apps is forward-looking and niche enough to get major players in the mobile market talk about it as a success story.

Android Instant Apps

Success has many sides

Android Instant Apps can help address several pain points associated with apps and the mobile experience both for users and developers.

More app engagement

Many applications can be used for a single well-defined purpose and function. This means that searching, downloading, installing, opening, and if required, executing the registration process can take much more time than using the application itself. This disproportion can lead to a complete lack of user engagement, since users may lose their enthusiasm for using the app before they can even reach its useful content. Google's Android Instant Apps, on the other hand, provide the opportunity to try several smaller features instantly, without any additional time that’s resulted by downloading, and decide whether they want to use the application in the long run or even download a full-featured application. Thus the resulting group of users will be significantly more engaged to our application.

More app visibility

Developers have been facing the challenge of getting their applications listed at the top of the app stores for a long time now. How to increase the number of downloads and thus trigger more interest - that’s the question. The great advantage of Android Instant Apps is that the access is not limited to the Google Play Store. The link to open the instant app can be placed and published on many other platforms resulting various ways to promote our app. Smartphone owners spend most of their mobile usage time in apps, but ComScore's 2017 mobile app report shows that 90% of this time is spent in people’s top five apps, primarily social media and messaging apps. So if our application is not included in this short list, it can be quite difficult to attract the attention of our target group with traditional promoting methods. With instant app URLs, however, we can easily reach our audience through these "listed" applications, that is, exactly where users spend most of their time.

More storage space

One of the most common reasons for removing applications is that the user simply needs more space on their smartphone. The Alligator Test reveals that 43% of users have removed apps from their smartphone to free up storage space. There are many reasons why the available storage of the phone suddenly may seems too small - new photos are taken, new applications are being tested and so on. In any case, once an app is removed it is rarely reinstalled. With instant apps you almost don’t have to store anything on your smartphone thus you get enough space for all the other stuff.

More valuable users and applications

With instant apps, users can gain access to a single application without downloading, try its core features, have a look at its user interface, in other words, create an instant opinion about it. The ability to give and gain instant feedbacks has a strong impact on both the users and the developers. Users can quickly decide whether they have found an application that is truly useful for them, whether they want to use the app at all. This way only the valuable users will stick with your app, and for a long-term this time. Instant feedback has a positive impact on the developers, as well, because the market forces the developers and the enterprises to come up with better, more creative, more useful and easier-to-use apps serving with better user experience.

Popular instant apps

For the time being, there are relatively few instant apps available but their popularity is growing. The instant applications of Wish, Periscore, Viki, and BuzzFeed were the first to launch and since then many new apps have been released that have made significant successes:

  • Vimeo increased session duration by 130% with the help of their instant app
  • With its instant app, Onefootball’s users who read news and shared content increased by 55%
  • The instant application of NYTimes Crosswords doubled the number of sessions per user
  • Dotloop increased the number of users logged in by 62% with the new solution, thus increasing user engagement

Source: GoogleBusiness Insider, Android Developers BlogDzone, appboy,  Android Authority

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