The latest update to Google’s mobile operating system, Android 4.4 KitKat, brought in some big changes to how the mobile ecosystem worked. However, there were a few changes that went almost unnoticed.

One of the biggest changes to Android on 4.4 KitKat, and possibly the biggest thing that has ever happened on Android from an app marketers perspective, is the introduction of app indexing. This new tool could potentially open up masses of new downloads, and bump up revenue significantly for situated businesses trying to enter the app market.

What is App Indexing?

android app indexingApp indexing on Android 4.4 KitKat is a tool that allows app marketers to index their own application into Google searches. Once set up, a business’ application can appear alongside a search result related to that app. As an example, if you were to search for a local plumbing service and your website appears in the search results, your application will also be able to appear alongside or beneath it.

This opens up new potential for downloads, and it serves as a very strong method to keep your old customers returning to your app.

App Indexing to Bring in New Downloads

For years, the dream of every app marketer (at least us) was to utilise the potential of Google’s organic search better for driving downloads. Today’s App Store optimisation is a good way to boost search rankings in the app stores search results and drive new users who are already in the app store. However this cannot match the potential for in-market searches and corresponding specific downloads from Google organic search, mobile or desktop.

However, if you have an online following, or appear high in a Google search result, with Android 4.4 KitKat you will be able to use app indexing, and it’s potential could come pretty close to the potential of organic search.

New users looking for a service you can provide will be able to find your search listing on a Google search, and will be able to click to download your app straight from the search listing. This could prove to be a strong way to bring in new downloads and monetise the app in a better way the same time.

At this point in time, it’s unclear how powerful app indexing could be at bringing in new downloads, but as 4.4 KitKat is introduced to more devices, we’ll be able to understand the true potential of app indexing, and learn how to use it effectively.

App Indexing to Keep Users Returning Regularly

One other great thing about app indexing is that it could potentially stop a large chunk of uninstalls from happening, and also remind your customers that you do in fact have a functioning app.

When a user makes a search for your service, the app index that links to your application will be available for them to click on, and they will be able use your app again quickly, reminding users of your app and hopefully preventing them from uninstalling it.

I think this will be a great method for app user retention, and along with the other benefits of app indexing, we truly believe that this could be something to compete with the potential of organic search from the Google Play store.

App Indexing is Small, but it Will Grow

As app indexing is only available on Android 4.4 KitKat, it will be a while before the service truly takes flight. Very few devices have a 4.4 KitKat version for download, and it can usually take 1-2 years for older device to receive the latest update.

It’s likely that all major devices such as the Galaxy S5 or new Sony flagship handset this year will include 4.4 KitKat, and we expect that app indexing will grow exponentially as soon as the first major flagship handset for this year is released.