Very few businesses have achieved breakout success with their apps, and the reasons why it doesn’t happen for most are critical to understand if you have any chance of succeeding.
While there may be more needed to achieve the kind of nirvana that businesses and developers dream of, my experience from building two people and event discovery apps has highlighted the main pitfalls brands encounter when launching an app.
1. Bad execution / Poor User Experience
Compuware’s recent study reported that only 16% of people will try a failing app more than once. Anything from your app being difficult to use, being poorly designed to lots of bugs and crashes, bad execution leads to low ratings and no-one wants to download an app with low ratings…
2. No one wants it
A basic reason for an app failing is that there is no demand for it in the first place. Rahul Varshneya points out in his “4 Essentials for Sucessful Mobile Apps” article in Entrepreneur:
“You can solve either the intrinsic problems or the ones that are enhancements. Each of these approaches works equally well as long as it satisfies a need for consumers.”
3. No one knows it exists
There are loads of amazing apps that no one knows about. With Apple reporting over 900,000 apps available in the app store and only 2% of iPhone top publishers in the US newcomers now, it’s unsurprising it’s difficult to cut through the noise.
App Review sites can be a good way to generate exposure as well as, as BBC Technology reporter Fiona Graham suggests, getting it in front of influential eyeballs – bloggers and journalists. But most of the advice out there is to start marketing your app way before it launches.
Of course building virality into your app to get people inviting their friends is the golden egg and something that worked in part for us with uberlife. Now with citysocializer where we’ve offered the top 200 “inviters” in each un-locked city free lifetime premium membership it’s helping to drive good traction internationally.
4. Missing or no engagement
It’s a common mistake to use ‘number of downloads’ as your main success metric, our friends at Flurry Analytics help us to keep track of a lot more, including engagement. Adam Singer outlines why loyalty is a killer metric for your app – session frequency, duration and retention can all tell you if your app has become a habit for your users.
Over 65% of app developers will never recover their costs – a pretty significant figure. That means most app developers fail to make it. There are a variety of ways to monetise an app, and not all of them work for every app – so getting it right for your service is critical.
For citysocializer, which operates like a private members club, we charge a subscription fee for access to all our offline events and have adapted our package and price point for the app with weekly subscription memberships instead of the 1, 3 and 6 month options we offer to our web customers.
Before deciding the best way to monetise your app I’d suggest taking a look at what the competition is doing.