In this day and age, technology connects people more than ever. Almost everyone now has a smartphone or tablet, devices which deliver a wide variety of functions—among them, communication, productivity, and entertainment. With the rise of this sort of mobile connectivity, it’s not at all surprising that Facebook acquired WhatsApp, a free mobile messaging service that registers a higher user engagement rate than Facebook.
These days, successful apps get integrated or partner with bigger social media or tech companies. Even businesses, especially online-heavy businesses, are developing apps for both Android and the iPhone. Everyone wants in on the successful app business to get their name out to the public and gain income from the services their apps offer.
Not every app is successful, however. Trends come and go, and the average lifespan of certain apps can be as short as 30 days. (We’re all aware as to what happened to the phenomenal, yet shortlived, Flappy Bird.) Depending on the utility and the type of app you release, those apps can either last for a long time, or get discontinued after a while.
So what makes a successful app? How can a developer imitate the success of the likes of WhatsApp, Angry Birds and all other successful apps out there? There are many factors to consider on how to make your apps thrive. Here are just a few tips to help:
iOS vs. Android vs. Desktop
Think of the platform you want your app to be in first before you have it developed. Try seeing if your target audience uses Android devices more than Apple devices or their desktop computers, and then develop your app based on the results. Different platforms means different development processes, which could mean higher costs in the long run. You can always develop apps for the other platforms after the success of your first one. Make sure you study the platform environment as well. Not all apps are available on all three platforms because of code restrictions on each operating system, as well as on social media platforms. Always make sure you have the proper licenses, permissions, and rights to use your material before publishing it to avoid unnecessary trouble like lawsuits.
Keep it simple
Developers are often presented with overcomplicated ideas on how an app should be made. The idea of creating an app is to simplify a task. Overloading an app with one too many features will be a turn-off from possible users, and would kill the app despite its “wow” factor. The fact of the matter is, not all features can and should be placed in an app, especially if it is brand new. Remember: features can always be added on to the app after it has gained traction in the app marketplace.
Whether you’re developing a game or a utility tool, you must have a clear set of objectives for your app. Don’t just say your app is there to entertain, or to help make a task easy. Give your target audience something that would make them keep your app and not delete it straightaway. Don’t just bank on virality to make your app stick. Giving your users something unique and creative; that would help make their tasks easier and win you a loyal user base. Develop an app that would leave a mark, something that everyone around the world will remember.
Don’t forget to be social
Let’s face it—the best advertisement these days is on social media. It’s fast and easy and there’s a chance to go viral when you go social. There is a great number of people who use social media sites and platforms daily. Investing on a Facebook page or a Twitter account for your app can help you reach out and engage more users. Add a built-in social function to your app to help with advertising or marketing your app. Not just that, you’ll also be able to get feedback on your app almost immediately through the use of social media. Feedback is essential for you to know in what areas you need to update and upgrade your app, to better suit the needs and cater to your target audience.
Of course, another factor you should be considering is if your app would be available for free or not, in the marketplace of your choice. You can always add non-intrusive ads to your app to help increase revenue for free apps, or have in-app purchases for added features to your app. Just remember to keep your app innovative but simple, and with added value.