Apple’s September announcements always bring out the excitement (or the ire) of technology experts, enthusiasts, journalists and startups. We crunch the numbers, report the statistics, and make predictions on what these changes mean for the mobile industry.
But what can get lost in this is just as important: the users. To them, it’s just their new phone, set up with cool features and begging out for a host of great apps.After Apple’s 2012 iPhone 5 announcement, app downloads the following month soared, as users rushed to fill their new, app-less phones.
Fisku, in their App Store Competitive Index, saw app downloads soar to 5.40 million daily downloads in October 2012, a 33% increase from that September. According to their data, “organic searches soared during the month, as users eagerly explored the App Store, enthusiastically searching for new apps to download on their new iPhones.”
And it didn’t stop there. There were over 100 billion App Store downloads in 2013, and native apps now dominate mobile usage.
So, how do you make sure your app stands out in the crowd? And how do you ensure that your app is ready to meet new user expectations? It’s all about differentiating yourself from the other apps they could be exploring. Move beyond the download; make sure your app is engaging enough to hold user attention long-term.
When you’re developing and launching an app, it’s easy to overlook App Store optimization. While it may be a go-to marketing tactic, it takes an investment, and most developers skip it: don’t be one of them. Top lists, organic search and positive reviews all play a role in the app users’ discovery process, and in order to make your app apparent and convey the benefit of downloading it.
App Store optimization primarily involves incorporating the right keywords into your store listing so that it ranks higher in search results and is easily discovered. The higher the traffic to your listing, the more users you can convert. ASO also includes identifying the right category for your app, including relevant app screenshots in your listing, and garnering ratings and reviews, which help in the decision of whether or not to download.
Really, it’s just a chance for you to showcase the value, spectacular features and differentiators of your app, and it doesn’t take a marketing team to do that. You know your app through and through, so highlight the key benefits, round up the relevant collateral, and ask current users to rate your App Store listing.
Required reading: The Definitive Guide to App Store Optimization (ASO)
When someone downloads a new app, they are most likely unaware of the best way to use that app, and can turn away from it before deeply interacting with any of the screens. In many cases, the app features you think are most valuable go undiscovered because new users spend little time initially exploring your app - if it’s not apparent up front, why go searching for it? While your app may be easy to navigate and self-explanatory to you, not all users will give it the time.
Try creating a series of screens or deploying an in-app message that identifies the key features and how to best use the app. That way, you introduce the user immediately to the best your app has to offer, negating useless browsing time and honing in on the answer to “Why should I use this app?”. A warm welcome can make the entire experience more enjoyable and less frustrating for the user.
Required reading: Top 6 Help Design Patterns for iPhone Apps
Fifty percent of people say the #1 reason they download apps are to receive discounts and special offers. Why not give them what they’re looking for early on in the relationship? This can be done by creating a rewards-based program, or even implementing a one-time, mobile-only offer and promoting it with a well-timed in-app message. Unlock a premium subscription article for their first session, or send them a discount for their next check-in. No matter your app type, there is an opportunity to capitalize on exclusivity and provide a deal. This will help your app stand out, keep the user in-app longer on their first open, and create loyalty (or at least intrigue).
Required reading: The Anatomy of a Successful In-App Messaging Campaign
Don’t get left in the dust. As more and more smartphone adopters look to download the apps that suit their lifestyle, more and more apps are developed and launched each day. Secure your spot as one of the best, and turn your one-time app users into every day visitors!
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