Last week, Google started including an app discovery widget as part of its mobile search results. Similar to the unit Facebook users will have become accustomed to seeing in their news feeds – this will allow users to discover popular and relevant apps that should act as a boon for developers of quality apps and also serve to counteract over-reliance on the two major app stores:
The improved user experience and relative simplicity of apps means they continue to dominate browsers in terms of Australian’s time spent on their devices. Some of the very best content can only be accessed through apps, which has led to a disconnect between many users favorite way to access content and one of the best ways to discover it (search). In late 2013 Google started offering the ability for developers to index their apps, addressing this issue by enabling search results to deep link directly into specific sections of Android apps to replicate the ease in which relevant web based articles are found. Last week, Google announced an update of the search algorithm to increase the visibility of mobile friendly sites and with this new feature, they continue to adapt to promote a healthy/viable app ecosystem and really follow through with their mobile first philosophy.
How this works in practice:
- Searching the term ‘latest golf news’
- Google’s algorithm determines there the most relevant apps that are available to download with Golfing news related content
- Scrolling past the top few search results – the app discovering carousel comes into view
- Tapping on the install button takes you to the Google Play store. Once the app is installed, you can tap ‘continue’ and the app will open with content highlighted in the search result.
Suggested Apps when searching the term ‘Golf News’:
For brands that own apps – this can only be a good thing. Listing apps in search results will increase their visibility exponentially, lowering this barrier to entry will most likely lead to increased downloads and continued shift away from spending time in-browser. However the full extent of the impact will really be determined by how Google actually ranks recommended apps or maps their relevance against keywords.
The feature in its current form is being positioned as an organic way to find new relevant apps, but brands looking to increase downloads would certainly pay or bid a premium for this piece of prime real estate. Whether Google will look to capitalize on this appetite remains to be seen, but it would defiantly worth keeping your eye on this if any of your client brands have an app.