The explosive popularity of app usage has given us two quite amazing bits of information (one good & one disheartening): A. Platforms like the iOS app marketplace has pushed through more than a million apps B. Over 60% of the offers in the app store have never been downloaded (according to New Relic) Imagine the amount of work that goes into app development. Sure there are apps that seem to have been created in less than a day due in part to templates and other helpful software but when an individual or company pours a great deal of time into its development to essentially never have it reach its marketplace it can be truly disheartening. Couple these issues along with:
- Rampant copying of apps
- Many use an app just once (25% is about the number of frequency)
- Roughly 41 apps are downloaded by an individual but just 8 are used regularly
We already know that:
- It’s very hard to get someone to download your app
- It’s very difficult to turn that user into a regular user
- It’s very difficult to keep users within the app for extended periods of time
What this does is create a challenge for app developers & marketers to close the gap between their downloads and mobile app ads; so then how does one create engagement comparable to apps like Facebook, Instragram, or Twitter? There are a few options which are effective at this time:
- In-App Deals – These equate to special offers that can only be found from within the app which could change daily to encourage users to check in frequently. Elements of gamification can be effective at having a user interact with the app for longer periods of time which allows more mobile app ads to be delivered.
- Smarter Systems – Sometimes you won’t need to do a thing and this is the case with the advancement of the ad platforms you’d find on iOS and Android. For example, Google is extending the amount of data you may use to refine target app audiences to deliver better ads to match their behavior and experience.
- Quality Engagement – A new Flappy Bird clone may pull in thousands of new downloads but its life will be quick lived and forgotten. Closing the gap between the downloads and app clicks really returns to the quality time, resources, and direction that was invested in the app. There are clear winners in the marketplace if you look through the categories. Apps which are naturally prone to have users interacting over longer periods of time (like news or communication apps) may be a smart starting point; one which is content-rich (following the style of a magazine) can equally have great viability for your app goals.
In the end the reality is that not everyone is going to strike it big with the app marketplace despite all the hype and excitement you find reading stories of indie developers suddenly hitting #1 in a few short days after going viral. To build appropriate, scalable ROI work needs to start from the ground floor through thorough understanding of the marketplace, rolling out strong, targeted advertising campaigns, and then continually delivering a great experience through entertainment, content, or value. The app ad clicks will come when an app delivers an engaging experience.