November 18th, 2015
As I discussed in my recent Medium post, app developers are suffering through one of the harshest power laws of any platform in existence. It’s incredibly hard to convince someone to adopt your app, mainly because the process to try it out is so painful compared to the status quo. In the web world, trying a new website was a click and a fraction of a second away. In the app world, users are a click, a password entry, a bunch of taps and 4-5 minutes away from trying out the app. At Branch, we’re very confident that within a few years, the app adoption process will start to look a lot more like the website one, with the barriers significantly reduced.
Today, in a move to address this, Google launched their app content steaming service to a limited partner group. It’s a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. According to them, it only really works on “good Wifi”, the latest Android devices, and with a very limited set of test partners. For those of us that have been in mobile for a long time, a user with a really good connection and the latest Android device is about as rare as getting featured in one of the app stores. The one thing that you as a developer cannot rely on is the internet connection itself.
Let’s assume that they can actually work out the kinks over the next few years and this becomes ubiquitous. Then, the immediate question one would ask is how to get started!
Since every Branch link comes packed with the appropriate tags for Google App Indexing, when Google scrapes the Branch link, it will automatically read the Branch-generated deep link in the metatags of the site. When this link is ranked high enough to be relevant to a user query, then Google will display the search result as an app link that can trigger the stream.
The best part is that since it’s literally streaming your native app in the browser, all of the work that you’ve done to set up Branch deep link routing will work out of the box in the browser stream. When the user clicks the search result powered by Branch, Google will launch the stream and trigger the Branch deep link to the streamed app, automatically routing the user to the appropriate page.
You don’t need to do any additional work. It’s beautiful.
Until they figure out how to deliver the streaming service at scale, you’re out of luck. However, if you’re looking to solve the same type of problem, where you provide a softer landing to a user who doesn’t have the app currently installed, I’d recommend you check out our Deepviews product.
A Branch Deepview is an automatically generated and hosted, customized mobile site for your pure app content. It works for iOS and Android on all internet connections and devices, plus delivers the full analytics stack to give you insight into the dropoff at each stage. Best of all, it works across every channel: Facebook, Email, SMS, Google search… you name it!