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Here’s How Instant App Downloads Are Transforming Android Development

March 16, 2018

Last year, Google announced that all Android app development teams could begin creating and releasing what are known as Instant Apps. Essentially, these are modified versions of apps designed to load as fast as a mobile site without requiring users to download them.

Here’s how it works: Android Instant Apps separate various components into discrete parts that run more efficiently than they would in the current app format. On average, the process takes about four to five weeks.

There are several reasons why developers may want to consider offering an existing app this way. The primary reason, though, is that this format serves to reduce the friction involved in purchasing an app.

Half of American smartphone users don’t even download a single app per month. That’s often because doing so involves multiple steps. With Android Instant Apps, using a product is as simple as visiting a site. Developers can then include features that prompt users to download the full version if they enjoy this more convenient, accessible version.

The following examples demonstrate what types of features Android app development teams can offer with this new option.

BuzzFeed stays relevant to with their News Instant App

BuzzFeed’s Android Instant App delivers news updates to users without forcing them to download anything. Modifying the existing app to offer these features is relatively easy, as the content is fairly limited. The Android app development team didn’t need to make substantial adjustments to ensure the product would run quickly on a mobile device.

This type of product keeps BuzzFeed’s brand in users’ minds, potentially resulting in future app downloads. It’s essentially a means of advertising the entire brand via one easily-accessible product.

Android Instant Apps

New York Times Crossword encourages subscriptions

The New York Times Crossword Android Instant App leverages the convenience these products offer to attract more subscribers. Via this app, users can access the daily New York Times crossword for seven days in a row. After the seven-day period has elapsed, users are prompted to subscribe for future access.

This examples illustrates how Android app development teams are currently using Instant Apps to promote the full versions of their products. A crossword puzzle is an easy feature to isolate in a small, efficient form, but it offers enough interactivity to serve as an engaging promotional tool.

The impact ahead:

Android Instant Apps allow brands to modify their products so users can experience them conveniently. Additionally, the end goal tends to involve attracting more users to the native app. Fortunately for Android app developers, this strategy seems to be effective: When Jet released an Instant App, it yielded a 27 percent conversion rate boost.

When Jet was developing their Android Instant App, it required identifying elements within the existing app that could be jettisoned or altered so the product was small enough to run as fast as a mobile site without being downloaded. Thus, it’s highly likely that Android app development teams working on future products will probably start considering how they’ll be able to modify their products from the beginning, planning both a full version and an instant version simultaneously.

Soon, it may be the norm to find two iterations of an app; a robust one packed with features, and a scaled-down version. Users will benefit from convenience, and developers will benefit by reaching more customers in the long run.

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