What is Instant Apps?
As our smartphones become more advanced and wireless data improves in speed and connection stability, developers can change how our applications work. Android Instant Apps, which was released last year, allows applications to be run instantly without installation. Similar to streaming music and videos, Instant Apps allows users to use applications on the fly, without having to download and install them.
The platform makes running these applications efficient and not intensive on the user's data. It accomplishes this because apps built for the platform are developed and deployed modularly. There's a base application launched from the Google Play Store, which is essentially a lite version of the native application that can load instantly, usually a home or landing page.
Individual features of the application are developed to launch separately. For example, if you want to search for rooms on a hotel application, the Play Store only needs to launch the home page and the search feature. As soon as the user is finished using the app, it's removed from the system, saving on the user's device storage. Instant Apps can also be opened with any URL link, allowing users to launch them while browsing the web.
Why Instant Apps is so great
Instant Apps is changing how we browse the web and use our applications. It's advised that companies with a web presence develop a mobile app of some kind with a unique and satisfying user experience. Up to now, when consumers browse online, they come across a company's mobile website, which usually advises that the user download the company's mobile application for a better experience since a native application can do much more than a mobile site running on the web browser.
However, this usually slows down the user experience since many users only needed the application for one feature and either don't want to wait to download and install the app, prefer not to download a whole application over their mobile data or simply don't have enough storage space on their device to download the app. Businesses may lose out on sales, downloads or views due to this dropoff.
Instant Apps alleviates these issues by making the app easier to launch and use for the user. If consumers need to use your application for one feature, they can either launch it instantly from the Play Store or from your mobile site without any interruptions to their browsing experience. The applications are modular, so a single feature is downloaded and launched immediately in the Play Store's designated cache storage.
They're also meant to be developed lean and efficient so using an Instant App isn't a burden on the user's mobile data. This makes browsing the web on mobile a much more seamless and, overall, positive experience for users.
The most recent addition to the Android Instant Apps platform is the Try It Now feature in the Play Store, which lets users demo a game or other application instantly.
The only downside is that using an Instant App that's immediately deleted from the user's phone doesn't create a channel for retention that installed apps do since they're visible on the user's home screen and can push out notifications. However, focusing on a better user experience means that consumers are more likely to download the full application if they find it useful and want it readily available at any time.
Small businesses that are dependent on the income they make from online sales or advertising should very much be focused on always improving the user experience, and Instant Apps is a great tool to do that for their Android customers.
If your business currently has an Android mobile app, consider upgrading it to be compatible with Instant Apps. According to a blog post by freelancing service Upwork, Instant Apps uses the same Android APIs and can easily be upgraded within just a few days.
The line between web and app is thinning thanks to Instant Apps. While Apple hasn't announced a comparable platform for iOS, depending on Instant Apps success it may not be far behind.