At last week’s I/O developer conference, Google revealed its “Now on Tap” feature, which makes everything from text messages to Instagram photos searchable.
For app developers and brands alike, new deep linking capabilities mean more potential for apps. Google’s Now on Tap could change search as we know it. Simply holding down the home screen and tapping relevant content on an Android mobile device will bring instantaneous information and suggestions based on context. For example, tapping a restaurant name might draw up reviews and menus from Yelp or OpenTable apps so that the user can quickly and easily find reviews and make reservations.
While the announcement comes as a boon to app developers, it also means that it’s now more important than ever for brands to think about App Search Optimization (ASO) along with SEO, since Google is taking both into consideration for Now on Tap, according to Danielle Levitas, senior vice president of research and analysis for App Annie, which provides app ranking data and mobile analytics for businesses.
“Part of the reason Google is providing deep linking is to give developers another way to be discovered outside of the app store,” says Levitas. “SEO is still critical, but you’ve also got to think about ASO, which has to do with keywords for discoverability, how an app is described, and even its reviews. But Now on Tap actually makes mobile and the app experiences easier for brands to execute because they can think about discoverability as a continuum as opposed to these two very disparate platforms.”
Now on Tap will also help apps get used. Studies have shown that most of the apps consumers download rarely get opened. However, Now on Tap, with its context-based search, could breathe new life into long forgotten apps by suggesting them to users based on search context.
“For things like shopping apps or delivery apps, where the user is fetching what they want, Now on Tap can proactively serve recommendations that are even more targeted because they’re not just based on my past behavior in the app,” says Levitas.
“Google’s boarder search tentacles will know my history, behavior across other apps, on the web, and even my emails. Now on Tap can dramatically improve the customer experience and therefore the stickiness of the app. So there’s this opportunity to make the experience within app more relevant because it’s not just based on developers’ experience with consumer engagement,” she adds.
While Now on Tap isn’t ad supported, Google says developers need only follow guidelines for app indexing and deep linking in order to turn up in Now on Tap results. And, according to Levitas, a free way to draw attention to apps is always a good thing for both developers and brands.
“Now on Tap may be a very new way to think about driving engagement and finding those eyeballs for apps because it’s a much more organic way to discover new functionalities,” Levitas says. “It’s convenience on steroids relative to where Google Now was.”