Three Tips For Mobile App Success

by , Dec 9, 2013, 4:00 PM
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It’s the holidays. That time of year when people are traveling and watching TV and movies on their devices, and heading to the theatre with family and friends for a leisurely vacation-day-at-the-movies. And it’s also that time when tens of millions of smart devices are about to be unwrapped, tapped — and your mobile app taken for spin. For entertainment marketers, this is a big time of year.

Today, the mobile app is an extraordinarily important aspect of the modern marketing mix. And the reason is obvious. You’re right there, through your mobile application, on the screen of a beautiful device the average user checks 150 times a day (yes, really) and keeps within arm’s length every waking — and even sleeping — moment. You’ve got every chance of earning the business of that customer, whether that’s via the app itself, or simply because the app deepens your offline relationship with people who like your brand.

That’s the good news. Here’s the bad: over 25% of installed apps are used a grand total of once. And of those that survive, within a month the majority will never be used again. So getting your app installed is only part of the job. I repeat — initial acquisition is only half the battle! You need to stick around and become a part of your user’s life.

Here are three ways to help you do just that: 

1. Test Everything 

If there’s one thing guaranteed to have your users hitting the delete button on your app, it’s lousy user experience. You simply cannot afford to create and release something that is either confusing, over-complicated or simply fails to communicate the value you are offering. On the crowded smartphone screen, you do not have that luxury.

At the core of creating an experience that is both enjoyable for the user, and also effective in ensuring that user gets the most use from your app is the process of A/B testing. Don’t leave effectiveness to chance. Establish — with real user data — what actually ensures your users will stick around and use those aspects of the app you want them to.

We’ve seen customers see increases of 500% in the number of social shares their app delivers — all through testing alternative ways to phrase a request. That’s how powerful this approach can be.

2. Treat Your Users As Individuals

Mobile app developers are in a privileged position. They have a huge amount of data relating to their users. On that basis, it’s a shame that the ‘one app first all’ model is still so prevalent out there. Smart developers know that long-term, profitable relationships start with a commitment to listen to what each individual tells them, and act on that knowledge.

In practice that means closing the loop between your analytic, data gathering capabilities and your outbound ‘marketing’ campaigns, whether they take the form of in-app messages or push notifications. By sending these messages to tightly targeted groups of users, you can deliver maximum relevancy, talk to users in the language that suits them - and thus deliver successful campaigns that drive the user behaviors you want to see. 

3. Keep Evolving

Mobile apps are not built once and then forgotten. In fact, this approach is a sure way to get left behind, or find that over time your own app falls behind the competition and is ultimately replaced. Even in the world of games, successful developers know that treating the app as a service, rather than a product, is the key to building long-term loyalty.

That means constantly observing what works and does not, identifying areas for improvement, and making changes that move the needle on the KPIs you care about. Don’t forget to take the same approach to marketing campaigns directed to your app users. A calendar of targeted, relevant campaigns means more engagement, retention, and ultimately success for your mobile app.

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