Glossary
Mobile App Terminology

Instant Apps


What are instant apps?

Instant apps are a type of mobile app that provide users access without having to install it to their device. Available only on Android devices, instant apps provide users with a deep link to a specific section or function of an app, without taking up any extra space on their mobile device. Instant apps are similar, in some ways, to Apple’s app clips.

Also referred to as Google Play Instant and Android Instant apps, this way of releasing an app experience allows developers to provide users with a preview of the app’s functionality, either to complete a specific function or to demonstrate what the full app is capable of doing. 

The example that Google provided in its announcement of instant apps is a parking app … something that clearly, you’d need immediately.

If you’re in a new city, for example, the experience of having to download a parking app to pay your meter and then delete it right after is not very convenient. With instant apps, there’s no need to download or even log in to the app, and instead you can simply complete your parking payment just as you would with the native app. It’s essentially as fast as via the web, but with the better user experience of a mobile app.

As you can see from this example, the goal of instant apps is to bridge the gap between web and mobile apps.

Looking to gain more from instant apps?

Learn how Singular’s Ad Monetization solution can help

Uses of instant apps

As Google Play highlights, one of the core uses of instant apps is to increase engagement and gain more installs for your app:

Increase engagement with your Android app or gain more installs by surfacing your instant app across the Play Store and Google Play Games app.

Another common use case for instant apps is providing users with a slimmed down version of a mobile game to increase usage and installs. These instant games are not just trials of the game, they can provide users with a significant part of your game experience without requiring an initial install.

Google’s instant play program features eligible apps on the homepage of the Google Play Games app, making the game visible to hundreds of millions of active users. As the company highlights:

This program is a great opportunity for developers of small-file size games to grow their audience and business by packaging their full game using Google Play Instant (with support for in-app purchases and ads monetization).

Specifically, Google highlights several key benefits of the Instant play program for mobile developers, including:

  • Discoverability: As mentioned, instant play games are eligible to be featured on the Google Play Games homepage, which is a subcategory of the Play Store.
  • More users: Aside from just increased discoverability, given that the app doesn’t need to be installed there is much less friction and as a result, many more users are likely to try out the app.
  • Monetization: Instant apps can also be monetized with in-app purchases (IAP) and support ad revenue.
  • High quality user experience: Instant apps tend to offer the exact same functionality of a regular mobile app, providing users with a high-quality and seamless user experience. 

Although instant apps do offer these benefits, they do still have limited functionality as they can’t use background services or notifications the way that native mobile apps can.

Looking to gain more from instant apps?

Learn how Singular’s Ad Monetization solution can help

Singular and instant apps

Given that instant apps can be monetized with in-app purchases and ad revenue, Singular’s ad monetization attribution and analytics platform can be highly useful for app developers. In particular, Singular’s ad monetization platform helps marketers and app businesses reveal insights and opportunities to optimize monetize efforts. This is done by automating the process of collecting, normalizing, and aggregating ad revenue data across various monetization partners.

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