Driving User Engagement with Firebase App Indexing

By Nick Starr on 12 Aug 2018

At their core, mobile apps must cultivate a user base and hold their attention. This proves particularly challenging given the average smartphone user has only 36 apps installed on their device. Of those, only 9 are used daily, and another lie dormant and never used. These numbers can appear intimidating; as developers, we are focused on collecting as many users as possible to gain the most value from our apps. Mobile apps with corresponding web content benefit from Firebase App Indexing, a tool that addresses both of these issues.

How does Firebase App Indexing help?

Firebase App Indexing pushes your app higher up in Google Search results. Typically, the results of a user’s search would include links to your website. With Firebase App indexing, Google will automatically display links to your app instead. Users who have already installed your app are automatically directed to your app and the corresponding screen. Others are presented with an install card to directly download your app.

What exactly can Firebase App Indexing do for me?

While many features of Firebase App Indexing are specific to Android, the core feature, indexing of public content, is available cross-platform for iOS applications. On iOS, adding support for universal links allows Google Search to direct users to your app content. On Android, add Firebase and the App Indexing library to the project, then add Android App Links to the app. You are able to retrieve information from the URL, allowing you to load and display the relevant content. Once these steps have been followed, any search results corresponding to the app directly open the application to the relevant page, and on Android, the app’s icon and name are displayed.

Firebase App Indexing on Android includes a few additional features that further drive user engagement. Personal content indexing allows information specific to a particular user, perhaps a bookmarked recipe or a personal reminder, to show up in search results. All of the personal content remains in an on-device index, and none of the data is shared with Google by default. Android developers can further increase the likelihood of app content appearing in search results by logging user actions, sharing information with Google Search on a user to provide more relevant results.


Check the Firebase website for more details on getting started with App Indexing. Need a developer partner to assist with the implementation? Atomic Robot can help.