The mobile app market is becoming increasingly crowded, with hundreds of apps being released on a daily basis. In light of the fact that basically anyone with a mobile device, coding experience and access to the internet can develop an app and (attempt to) sell it to millions of people worldwide, the concept of a USP is also slowly fading away.
This might not affect brands that have the unique advantage of being recognised by their company name. However, being an established brand doesn’t necessarily equal success – a mobile app needs to be accepted by your consumers. It might generate downloads initially, but ensuring that the consumer continues to use the app is something that can only be achieved if both the performance and user experience are of a high quality.
The biggest challenge comes in front of brands or developers who are launching their first app into the market. These can be startups or indie mobile app developers, working day and night to bring their dream of a mobile app-based product into the hands of millions of users who would benefit from it. The challenge that these apps face is getting downloads; once a user downloads the app and is happy with the service/product, retention is not a difficult task.
Here are four surefire ways in which brands and mobile app developers can ensure their mobile app launch is successful, based on our own experience:
The first, crucial starting point is always to have a good idea. It doesn’t have to be a unique one - it just has to be a good one. It could be something that solves a problem being faced by users, or perhaps it will provide some sort of information or entertainment to users. If your app doesn’t have a target audience, or cater to the needs/interests of at least a fraction of app consumers, then irrespective of following the next three steps, your app will not enjoy considerable success.
Once the concept for a good mobile app has been identified, the next step is to ensure that the user interface and user experience are of the best quality. Lots of apps have amazing features, but unfortunately lack the polish of a good quality app. This disables them from reaching the full potential of their app amongst their target audience.
Consumers are now very much aware of the best designed UI and UX’s in the market, having used hundreds of apps during the course of their smartphone ownership. Hence they expect to have the best possible experience while using every new app. This makes it essential for brands and mobile app developers to carefully think about the design of the app, before they start developing it.
Once the design of the app has been finalised, the developer team will get to work on making the mobile app. During the initial smartphone and mobile app revolution, one vital step often forgotten was testing. Brands and developers were so confident about their capabilities, and so eager to launch their app, that they would release it into the market without performing any tests to ensure the final product was free from bugs and performance issues. These apps would then end up in the hands of users, who would identify the bugs and discard the app in an instant.
Of course, you could argue that apps can be updated later to get rid of bugs and improve their performance. But this is a dangerous approach; most users will not return to an app after a bad first experience. Hence it is essential that the app is absolutely bug-free when it launches.
Brands and developers end up spending a lot of time on the development process, and in doing so forget about marketing the app. Download numbers for apps usually shoot up when they appear on one of the app store lists. To feature on these lists, the individuals who are selecting apps for this section need to hear about your app - even before it launches.
This means creating a lot of buzz around your upcoming app launch. This could be through beta releases, social media chatter, or even behind the scene videos and previews. These will all contribute towards getting peers, as well as enthusiasts, to talk about the app online and on social media. App stores are then far more likely to identify the app and make it visible to users.
Effective marketing will also ensure that you have at least some users who are waiting for the app to be released, and will download the app immediately when it launches.
Thinking of developing a mobile app, or in the process of building one? Follow these four essential steps to ensure a successful launch into the mobile app market. What are your thoughts on launching a good mobile app? Tweet us at @hedgehoglab and join the conversation!