In the Wall Street Journal article “Google Searches for Role in App Age,” Rolfe Winkler breaks down Google’s strategy to ensure its advertising business stays relevant in the mobile age. Google was built around searching the web. The company deployed “spiders” to find links and created algorithms to rank the value of pages. Now, with the increase in mobile phone use, siloed apps have left Google out of the loop, causing the need for a new approach. On smartphones, traditional web browsing currently only represents 20% of use, according to mobile-analytics firm Flurry. The rest of the time is spent in apps.
Apps can now sign up to allow Google to index them. These indexes are made up of “deep links.” For indexed apps, Google can link directly within the app, prompting people to open the app when searching Google on their phones. This is a plus for mobile users because apps often provide increased functionality. Right now, Google is only providing links to apps on mobile devices using its Android OS.
While Google has made no official comment on whether or not it will sell ads to appear next to these deep links, a founder of a mobile ad firm believes developers will be very interested in buying these ads. According to Localytics, a mobile research firm, “more than 60% of apps are opened 10 times or fewer after being downloaded” and deep link advertising could help increase the number of times users return to an app after downloading it. Facebook started “app install” ads in October of 2012 and in one year, these ads led to the installation of over 145 million apps.
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Written by Emily Treptow