What are instant apps?

Glossary What are instant apps?

The definition of instant apps

Instant apps allow users to access content from an app without installing. They are designed to save users space on their device and conveniently deep link users to an app’s specific function. They are only available for Android.

When Android instant apps were first announced, Google used a parking meter app as an example of what they have to offer. The number of users who would keep a parking meter app on their device is presumably lower than, for example, a mobile game, but its functions can be useful on certain occasions. If the user is able to access this as an instant app, they can immediately use the parking meter app’s capabilities on their device without signup or install. As long as the necessary payment details have been entered into Android pay, the user can make a purchase with just a few clicks.

Google Play Instant also gives users the opportunity to try an instant app before they purchase and install the app in full.

How do instant apps work?

When a user clicks on an instant app’s URL – whether through a link, banner or otherwise – that user will be sent directly into a specific section of the app. This is possible because the app has been split up into modules, meaning only the code needed to display that module is downloaded. This means that an instant app is still technically downloaded onto the device, but this works much like a mobile browser because the app is cached once it’s closed.

For example, let’s say you’re looking for a new television. It’s unlikely that you shop for televisions on a regular basis, so you probably don’t have an e-commerce app purely for that purpose. However, if you browse Google for the model of your choice, you can be deep linked into an app’s product page for that item. Only the code for that product page was downloaded, so you can seamlessly enter the app, complete the purchase at your leisure and leave the app without needing to uninstall.

Instant apps will only work for apps published on the Play Store, and can be used on devices with Jellybean OS (2013) and above.

Are instant apps optional for Android users?

All Android users can toggle instant apps on or off in their settings. Android instant apps also require Android Lollipop (API 21) or higher to function.

Adjust and instant apps

From user behavior to the nature of apps, Instant Apps have the potential to profoundly change the mobile industry as we know it. Currently, Adjust are the only mobile measurement provider able to track Instant Apps. This means we can provide our clients with tracking for a larger piece of the market than ever before. So, if you’re currently testing Instant Apps and want to be able to track them, please get in contact with us to start a trial. Our sales and support teams would also be pleased to discuss Instant Apps, and how to track them, in greater depth.

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