As mobile traffic continues to escalate and app-based experiences continue to overtake desktop website experiences, companies are scrambling to maximize visibility and brand exposure in the mobile market. Google, one of the biggest trendsetters in the tech industry, has recently made moves to make apps even more available to mobile users. Now, that move is expanding to the world of advertising, and you need to learn what it means for your business.
In-app content has grown to be more and more popular, but there’s been a significant barrier to user adoption (and user experience overall). Apps are convenient because they forgo the search process altogether; when you want to read a news article, you can pull up a news app, and when you want to access specific functionality, you can bring up the app for it. Users who are looking for general information can find it through traditional web searches and websites.
But what happens if you’re searching for something that exists as content in an app that you don’t currently have installed?
Something like this:
(Image Source: MarketingLand)
Though this kind of layout might earn a handful of new app downloads, it’s a significant barrier to user adoption.
Google’s solution to this has been the introduction of “app streaming,” which allows users to access certain portions of content from certain apps without ever having to download or install the app on their device.
(Image Source: MarketingLand)
This feature isn’t available for all apps, but is currently expanding. Though you could make the argument that such a feature may lead to few app installations, there’s no question that more users would feasibly have access to your app content. Plus, this begins to bridge the gap between app-based SEO and regular, website-based SEO. This will eventually spare search marketers a lot of headaches, but for now is a nifty new feature that favors mobile user experiences.
What’s particularly interesting is how Google is developing this further.
Google has now released a feature called “Search Trial Ads,” which allow users to try out an app for 10 minutes before purchasing it. Currently offered to only a select group of advertisers through AdWords (and only displaying on Android devices), this feature gives users the ability to stream app content, much like in organic results, for a short period of time before requiring a purchase or download of the app itself. Currently, this feature is targeted toward mobile game developers, but could feasibly roll out to other types of apps. Google is offering other new features to game developers, including the ability for users to record themselves playing games (and share the video), and advanced targeting features to reach dedicated gamers.
Unless you’re a mobile game developer, this news may not seem that relevant to you, but it suggests a bold new direction for Google’s development, and you have the opportunity to take advantage of it. Consider these main takeaways from the latest development here:
Right now, this feature is somewhat limited in scope and capacity, but as more mobile users grow accustomed to features like “app streaming” in general, you can bet that Google will start doing more to improve mobile app experiences. If you don’t already have an app for your business, there’s no need to scramble to develop one—but think about the potential it would have for the future, and keep it on your back burner as new announcements like these make apps even more valuable.