Apple is forever releasing technology later than its competitors, but the difference tends to be that when apple adopt technology, it becomes much more widely utilised. Google released Android Instant Apps back in 2017, did you know this was a feature? I didn’t think so. Apple has the ability to market these features better, and with this tends to comes mass adoption.
What are App Clips
App Clips are a small (less than 10mb) snippet of functionality from an app that can be accessed without downloading the full app from the App Store. App Clips are triggered by a QR code or NFC tap, along with the ability to open them within iOS from things like map locations, safari and iMessage. This wide distribution of access methods means that we will begin to see these pop up on websites, restaurants, public transport, in with packaging for purchases, the options are endless for the marketing of your app.
Apps will now become valid for one hit usages!
Previously, the real benefit of having an app was recurring engagement potential. This was especially useful for apps that achieved frequent usage from the customer and provided extended usage past the first interaction. App Clips now allow for users to get what they need from an app without having to search it out and download it. This opens the flood gates for one hit apps that a user may use once or twice a year to have a real opportunity to grow a business. Now App Clips can be used to actually shorten the customers’ journey, letting them get to the important function without the need to seek out and download an app before using.
Imagine being at a sporting event, tapping an NFC tag on your seat that triggers the venue’s app for purchasing drinks, ordering your food and drinks whilst at your seat and your order is ready once you reach the counter. All without downloading a single app. It is usages like this that can really add value not only to the user, but also the venue.
Using NFC chips and App Clips
App Clips can be triggered by an NFC tag that is programmed using apples Core NFC framework along with the other methods of triggering an App Clip. Most standard NFC chips will be able to be programmed to trigger an App Clip, this will be a great tool for businesses who already use NFC in their products to extend their usage.
Getting your app ready for App Clips
App Clips deliver a small relevant snippet of your app’s functionality. It is important to understand how your user may be looking to interact with your app at the time of triggering an App Clip. Are you a coffee shop? Chances are the person is looking to have a quick path to purchase a drink. By separating this function we have the basis of an App Clip.
App clips should be contextual, meaning that if your app clip is triggering a menu in a restaurant, it should be relevant to that branch of the restaurant you are. Or if you are looking to leave a review of a restaurant on yelp, yelp should open up on the restaurant you are looking to review. It is small improvements like this that will separate the useful App Clips from the generic marketing fodder.
App Clips are developed using the native swift language, but this does not mean that your app has to be written in swift for this to work. An extension to your app can be written in swift to allow for App Clips to be triggered even when within a hybrid framework.