AdExchanger: With Android Instant Apps, Google Is Quietly Transforming The Entire App Ecosystem

The web gets surfed and apps get downloaded. That’s the way it generally works. But Android Instant Apps – the ability to stream apps without having to install them – changes the math on that equation. AdExchanger's Allison Schiff does a deep dive into Instant Apps and their impact on the industry, featuring insights from Mindshare's Jim Cridlin and others. See an excerpt from her piece below:

Instant Apps are also a shot in the arm for m-commerce. They’ll integrate with Android Pay, which means users can make purchases without having to enter their credit card info at checkout.

It’s a “natural evolution of mobile” that combines the macro trends around the growing desire for instant access to content and the continued advancements in cloud computing, said Jim Cridlin, managing director of strategy, innovation and partnership at Mindshare North America.

Android Instant Apps “leverage both of those trends to create more natural, seamless consumer experience,” Cridlin said.

But Google's move isn’t just about improving UX. Google has a lot invested in ensuring that the mobile web isn’t sidelined to apps. Mobile apps account for 54% of all time spent on digital media, according to comScore.

Unlike for Apple – which, it should be noted, originated the concept of the app download – the web is a core part of Google’s DNA. It has a vested interest in creating a more fluid, link-driven app experience for users.

Google’s “entire business is dependent upon the evolution of the web,” said Neil Sweeney, CEO of JUICE.

“People don’t want 150 different apps on their phone if they only use a dozen or so, and anytime you can reduce friction for the consumer, that’s never a bad thing – but that’s not why Google is doing this,” Sweeney said. “What they’re afraid of is that the whole world is becoming application-driven and that doesn’t feed into their existing core methodology.”

Of course that doesn’t mean that either apps or the mobile web is destined to “win.” There’s a role for both to play as a blended experience.

Cridlin’s sense is that Android Instant Apps will be “more app-like than web-like” in nature. It’s the distribution and search bits that’ll feel more like the web.

“Consumers have embraced apps,” Cridlin said. “The indications are that they prefer the focused, intuitive experience most apps provide.”

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Posted on May 20, 2016 .