What’s behind a successful mobile app?

April 19, 2016 / by / 0 Comment
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The staggering number of mobile apps being submitted to Apple iOS Store and Google Play Store each day is a clear indication that the app development niche is highly attractive and lucrative. Add to this are the growing amount of downloads per day and the giant tech companies’ effort to understand its inevitable market expansion.

However, every developer knows that it’s hard to hit the jackpot, as each day a large fraction of new apps succumbs to oblivion. Also, it’s not easy to determine what kind of app would become a hit in the future. Who would have thought that a game as simple as Flappy Bird or as derivative as Dubsmash could be immensely popular?

Though there’s science behind it, there’s no one, singular formula for every app. What works with a game app would surely not work for a lifestyle app, needless to mention the long list of demographics and target audience to be considered during its marketing. Fluke could also play a role, but this one’s pretty unreliable.

For tech journalist Andrew Gazdecki of Small Business Trends, one of the most essential factors to consider when aiming for success in this enterprise is value. Customers will download an app that would or might matter to them. Questions like, “What will I get from this app?” and “How this could help me?” come into the picture when customers on app stores are faced by multitudes of mobile applications promising everything.

“If your mobile business app is not functional and provides zero value to your customers, you’ll get zero value in return. If you do not plan a strategy to let customers know about your app, no one will use it. If you do not think through a way to entice customers back into your app you may see users open your app once and never return,” he wrote.

Nonetheless, he explained that this doesn’t stop with offering them value. Gazdecki suggested that after this realization, science should come next, thus encouraging app developers to focus on app performance, marketing, and user engagement.

App developer Blue Cloud Solutions (BCS) said that there’s always something to be had in looking at analytics, numbers, and statistics behind a new app. In its article on app downloads, it said that it pays that a developer look at metrics to gauge an app’s performance on the market. One of the benefits is that it alerts the developer if the app needs a marketing boost, a tweaking on its app store optimization, a blatant rebranding, or if its price needs reduction.

“[D]ownloads are the biggest piece of the puzzle we’re all trying to figure out. How do I get on the Top Charts? What special keywords are they using? Study your competition, but don’t get frustrated. Chances are the apps you’re struggling to compete with, are also struggling with others,” BCS’s Mark Nagelmann wrote. He also added that a developer’s best data is his own and he has to use it, even if it requires going back to zero and totally rebranding and changing the apps metrics.

Born2Invest CEO Dom Einhorn, on the other hand, strongly believes that paying close attention to user behavior and needs is essential for every small app to compete with bigger brands.

“We started from scratch and we have an ambitious goal,” said Einhorn, pertaining to Born2Invest goal of becoming the first multilingual news app for business and finance on the market. “What we did, and constantly do, is to provide each market quality, well-written, curated stories from legit news source in their language, in their own tongue, a need that [is] missing on the app market”

The app, which is now available in more than 24 languages today, aims to become a global force in the business news niche by covering all 50 plus language iterations and being available in all 180 countries. From a small seed financing in Q3 2015, its revenue base has expanded to over $400,000 within the final quarter of last year, making to highly attractive to investors. “By looking at what news enthusiasts across the globe need, we manage to catapult our brand from small to recognizable in less than seven months since our soft launch in July,” Einhorn added.

Many apps also lose its way to malware and hackers, said IBM in its last Cost of Data Breach Study. It said that a data breach can cost up to $3.8 million per incident, a number that had grown 23 percent since 2013 and left many developers losing money and rankings on various app stores.

“The need for the ability to develop, administer and maintain secure mobile apps via customized processes that fit the needs of your users, customers or organization has become more prominent as mobile malware risks have increased,” Scott Matterson of TechRepublic explained. He said that it is highly important that developers support their app with a reliable security software, as all the success an app obtained could end up to nothing even with just a minor security glitch.

At the end of the day, app development is no child’s play. It contains massive amount of research, feasibility studies, trials, and surveys. It is no different from putting up a brick-and-mortar enterprise—it should be equipped and prepared from unexpected problems the moment it opens its doors to its customers. And, with the same analogy, what’s important is that app developers have love and passion for their apps like bakers have for their pastry shops, as giving up on something you love simply because it’s not performing well on the rankings is not that easy.





Arturo Garcia is a Peruvian-Filipino freelance journalist. He is a self-confessed football fan like most Latin Americans, although he never learned to enjoy basketball, his Filipina mother’s favorite sport. He started out as a political writer for a local daily in Peru, but now focuses on everything-tech and business. Arturo studied Economics at Unibersidad de Lima and currently lives at an apartment in Salinas Valley, Northern California, exactly 725 meters from John Steinbeck’s hometown.