Today’s society is completely immersed in the mobile realm with its main feature : the app. We have managed to build up a world perfectly digital where we do not feel the need for anything else than our phones. But only a couple of apps really make it to the top charts, so how exactly do they succeed in keeping the users attracted ? In this article, we have compiled the most important ingredients that you will need to make the perfect app recipe.
Success app equals lots and lots of users. And to achieve that, you need to find a way to invite them onto your app. But how can you build traffic? How are you supposed to start all of that ? An easy solution is to offer rewards with beginners promotional codes or other coupons like Uber does for the first riders. But there are also other options, like creating scarcity by building some unique features that can only be found on your app, or making them ephemeral. Pokémon Go did a wonderful job on that by introducing some rare Pokémons to catch that almost nobody ever saw, but it pushed the users to play more often on the pursuit of these rare creatures. Indeed, with scarcity, the product becomes more attractive and its value increases bringing out a fear of missing out which often creates an obsession and a desire in the users.Another detail that you can consider is to give social reassurance. Everybody can feel doubtful at the beginning of using a new app, but knowing that your friends and many others are all using it helps build reassurance.And, of course, you shouldn’t forget to give the possibility for your users to share anything and everything with their friends on their social medias, which will increase your popularity and your number of downloads.
Just like meeting a new person, you want to make the best first impression you can in order to create a lasting impact. This is the same for apps. If you fail to make a good first impression, you can be sure that your users will stop using your app pretty quickly. So how can you make sure to nail these first few seconds ?Make sure that your basic registration flow is very easy, you don’t want to be asking too much of your users right from the bat. The usual process goes from downloading the app, to signing up to giving authorizations and nothing more.Then, once this is done, comes the moment where you should give your big first experience. It is your moment to shine! This will introduce the users to what your app is all about. HouseParty really understood the concept of first impression, they would ask to have access to your contacts and then while the app is loading, it would send notifications to all of your friends that you’ve joined the community. So while you wait and read their little random funny facts, your friends are getting online one by one, and once you finally land inside the app, bam, all of your friends are there to welcome you. Quite a joyful way to get to know the app if you asked us.
When you create an app, you might already have ideas of all the features you want it to have, and you might even want to add in as many as you can. But this is the wrong way to start your growth strategy. Below are some advices that you need to keep in mind before building your app.
When you launch your app, make sure that you focus on ONE feature, and ONE feature only.Only after you’ve launched this one feature that you can start growing your app and add-in more, based on your users feedbacks and new resources which will help you and your app evolve and grow better. You don’t need your app to be perfect to launch it, you need to make sure that your idea and your one feature is ready to go. The graphics and other details don’t have to be top notch for you to have a casual launch. This way you will be able to have important feedbacks and analytics. Then, based on those, you will start to rework and release a new upgraded version of your app with the same feature being optimized.Once your app starts having more and more users, you can add new fancy features and bring in marketing pushes such as ads and others. But not before, or it would just be a waste of money and time for you.
No apps are perfect, all apps have flaws and weaknesses. But this shouldn’t stop you. Use your weaknesses and make them shine.
We know that when you build an app you always have a specific user path in mind for your users to follow. But sometimes fate makes them use it in a different way and you shouldn’t try to push them back on your track. But instead you should improvise and build in the path they chose for themselves in the best way possible. Snapchat encountered this phenomenon in the early days. Their idea was simple: to take ephemeral photos. But they did not think of the screenshot option that became their biggest weakness. And instead of trying to find a solution to fight against it, they made it a strength and a new feature where you would be able to see whenever someone took a screenshot of your picture, bringing in a playful note to the app.Of course, they are ways for you to avoid this from happening to your app by understanding your users better through testing sessions, user feedbacks or other analytics tools. But the most important lesson from this is just to be creative and stay open-minded to all possibilities.
Find your visual signature. In order to make your app recognizable you need to find your visual signature, so that whenever users are sharing pictures or screenshots taken from your app, everybody could recognize it. And this is free marketing right here. It doesn’t have to be your app name, it could just be a simple detail from your graphics such as Snapchat’s grey text block or their dog filter.
New simple features don’t need any explanation.When you decide to add new features, don’t try to explain what it is for or how to use it, the users will figure it out by themselves. If you feel the need to explain anything, then it is a sign that it is not user-friendly enough or just too complicated, and still needs to be polished. Plus, by building mystery around your new feature, people’s curiosity and their love for discovery gets tickled even more. When Snapchat decided to bring in the emojis for snap streaks, they didn’t try to explain what it represented, but the users went crazy for it.
Everybody knows that the best way to make a user come back to your app is to get them addicted to it. And what are the most addictive apps in our world ? Games.This is the main reason that most of the apps that you will find today in your Apple Store or your Google Play will tend to be gamified. But how do they do that ? There are several simple details that can help you achieve that.
The human nature has always felt more motivated to do something once they know they are working towards a specific rewarding objective. It is based on this human instinct that gamified apps have managed to raise their user retention. Rewards can be physical rewards such as Starbucks’ loyalty program that allows you to obtain coupons or free products. But it doesn’t always have to be monetized gifts, there are different options that can just be based on virtual or psychological rewards, just like LinkedIn’s progress bar, that initiates and motivates the users towards completion by using clear goals and encouraging words.
By making your app a social one, you are able to open up a new door where your users will be able to share and compare themselves with their friends. And a good example of this is Freeletics which allows your friends to see your physical activity, leaving you encouraging messages but also enables you to see others’ performances and compare your achievements.
Having the ability to constantly surprise your users has often been a good solution to contain their attention. Human behaviors show us that we love unpredictability, being surprised, discovering and that we start getting bored pretty quickly as soon as we are able to anticipate everything, we love not knowing the outcomes. One of the most used app today is Tinder, and we often describe using Tinder as addictive because every single time we swipe, we get to discover someone new and random, and every potential right swipe could be a match.Randomness also triggers our curiosity and discovery, and Snapchat understood this by unlocking random trophies without us really knowing when and how. People loved it and started sharing screenshots of them on their social medias.Games have always been in our lives to bring out a bit of fun and distract ourselves from our daily routines. By making your app entertaining, you will be able to engage your users better and this can be done through all of the above small details.
Once you get your user to start using your app, you need to make sure that anything sharable on social medias can create some viral content. Make sure to leave your watermark so that others can learn about your app and download it themselves. A good example of an app that got viral is Dubmash or TikTok. It helped create really simple content, but every time someone shared those TikTok videos online, we could clearly see the signature name at the top left corner which built immense traffic. What most apps do to give themselves a starting boost is to use influencers to start using your app first, which can cost a bit of money but will surely propels your app to the top charts in no time.
Overall, building an app is a difficult and attractive process. You need to make sure you know what you are doing, that you understand your market and have done the necessary research. But at the end of the day, when you look back at all the successful apps, you can clearly make out a couple of common threads that link them all back together. And by learning from them and applying it to yourself, you increase your chances of success. And who wouldn’t want to have some luck on their side?