Matthew Johnson

Android Instant Apps


Introduced in Android 5.0 Instant Apps allow users to experience an app without waiting for it to fully download.

This allows for key features to be highlighted to users, which will hopefully encourage them to download the full app afterwards. For example, an important piece of functionality for many lottery apps is a ticket scanner. This could be delivered independently from the rest of the app with a prompt for a full download after a successful ticket scan.


Phone scanning a lottery ticket


It is important to ensure that the features chosen to highlight in this way are kept below 15MB in size. The smaller the better, as quick access is an important part of Instant Apps.

Instant Apps can be advertised to users via the Play Store, once uploaded a user will be presented with a Try Now button alongside the usual Install option. Given that it will be the first experience some users have with the app, it’s really important that the best features of the product are shown.



Android download screen of Clash Royale


Additionally, App Links can be created for Instant Apps. These function similarly to Deep Links except they download the Instant App for users who do not have the full app installed. Using this functionality, it is possible to provide multiple entry points to the app. This means that different parts of the app can be provided as Instant Apps depending on the link users click. Providing multiple ways for users to access the app will help them to find it and hopefully encourage users to convert to a full download. This can be further encouraged by adding an option to the app to allow users to share the Instant App link.

Instant App links can be shared in many ways, including via messaging or even on social media. For example, lotteries can share the link on their Twitter or Facebook page.

To take advantage of this, Android App Bundles must be used to split the app up. Later this year, all Instant Apps will have to use App Bundles, so it’s a good idea to plan them in from the beginning. Each part of the app that is intended to be made available through Instant Apps must have a unique URL associated with it.

Users can disable this functionality on their device, and not all devices will have it enabled by default. If the link cannot open the Instant App then it will fall back to opening in the browser, however this behaviour can be changed to instead open the Play Store page for the app.

In conclusion, Instant Apps are a great way for lottery and gaming operators to highlight the best features of the full app, and encourage new users to try a specific functionality, which in turn would move them closer to downloading the full app.