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TJ Tee - Anatomy of an iPhone App
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TJ Tee - Anatomy of an iPhone App


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TJ Tee's talk at The New Media Asia 2011 conference

TJ Tee's talk at The New Media Asia 2011 conference

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  • 1. Anatomy of an iPhone app TJ Tee Partner, Alphapod
  • 2. Hello there :)How many of you•  Own/have used an iPhone/smartphone•  Are developing a mobile strategy for your clients•  Build apps
  • 3. What is an app?•  A small software that carries out a specific set of functions.•  A user experience•  An opportunity to engage with a highly targeted audience
  • 4. Characteristics of an app•  Dependent on the native device operating system (OS)•  Leverages on the native OS’ user experience•  Often has a simplified/distilled featureset (e.g. a subset of the full website)•  Doesn’t necessarily require an Internet connection to work
  • 5. Avg iPhone user has 48 apps
  • 6. iPhone apps most sticky
  • 7. Are apps the next Website?No. Why?•  Not everyone needs an app•  Barrier of entry is generally quite high (consumers, brands, developers)•  A reasonably good app requires a specific set of expertise to develop
  • 8. Native vs Web-basedWeb-based apps•  Works across all/most platforms•  Requires a mobile browser•  Build once, run everywhere approach
  • 9. Native vs Web-basedNative apps•  High definition graphics•  Slick, cool effects•  Take advantage of allocated computing power•  Leverage device’s internal features e.g. camera, accelerometer, gyroscope•  Immediate response
  • 10. It’s the UX, baby!The mobile user experience is unique•  Limited screen real-estate•  Users are mobile (duh!), in unusual places•  Personal – entertainment, news, time- wasters, utility, social, etc.•  Pure opt-in. User chooses what app she wants on her phone
  • 12. Top 5 killer features#1 Push alerts•  Any interaction with your app can trigger an alert•  App doesn’t have to be on for alerts to work!•  Makes apps super sticky (repeat interactions, multiple engagement opportunities)
  • 13. Top 5 killer features#2 In-app purchasing•  Highly engaged users can be persuaded to pay for virtual goods/currency•  “1-click” payment is now a reality•  High perceived value + emotional investment (e.g. $0.99 for 1000 gold) justifies spending•  Revenue share (Dev:Apple, 70:30)
  • 14. Image source:
  • 15. The Sunk Cost FallacyGo read• behind-people-wasting-money-on-farmville• sunk-cost-fallacy
  • 16. Top 5 killer features#3 Geolocation•  App can know a user’s location at all times•  Location + social provides very useful context for personalization•  Geo metadata (in images, etc.) can further verify user’s location•  Region monitoring/geofencing – a viable alternative to checking in
  • 17. Top 5 killer features#4 3rd party APIs•  The “unglamorous” side of apps, little gnomes that make the magic happen•  Examples of APIs: Facebook Graph API, Google Maps, Foursquare, SimpleGeo, Instagram, etc.•  APIs return highly valuable context and enable “crossing-over” of communities
  • 18. Top 5 killer features#5 Facebook Connect•  Every Web page becomes social instantly•  Portable social graph opens up new opportunities – increased trust, higher conversion rates, personalization, etc.•  “1-click” sign-up is now a reality•  Death of the high-friction, proprietary Sign- up?
  • 20. Marketing your appStart marketing as early as possible•  The product (app) is often the best form of marketing –  Create something unique or a spin to an existing category•  Develop a strategy to be visible and sticky –  Be highly shareable (FB News Feed, Twitter, etc.)•  Start with people you know
  • 21. Free marketing (pre-launch)•  Tease –  Create a viral “launching soon” page, use LaunchRock•  Website –  Screenshots, video, newsletter•  Time your launch –  Coincide with live event or trend to boost popularity
  • 22. Free marketing (post-launch)•  Apple – Top charts, New & Noteworthy, User reviews•  Telcos – need cool apps to sell devices•  SEO•  Social media•  Blogs and review sites – get featured, give freebies or guest post on authoritative sites•  Events – Webcamp, Digital Wed, TNMA
  • 23. Paid marketingMultiple entry points, track effectiveness•  Advertising –  Facebook Ads, SEM, in-app, display (selective)•  Sponsorship –  Events, contests•  Free/cheap for a limited time only –  EA are pros, find a reason to drive hype
  • 24. Pre-launch: Things to know•  Keyword optimization –  Observe what keywords competitors are/aren’t using, don’t try to game the system•  Ranking/search criteria –  Old: High weightage on download count –  New: Apple is testing out a new algorithm which places high weightage on app usage
  • 26. Why is it important?Provides a clear indication of •  Usage patterns•  Feature efficacy•  App navigation•  Emerging behaviors (useful for future iterations)
  • 27. App metricsMust-have basics•  App downloads•  Sign-ups (create account, FB Connect, etc.)•  Active users•  App launch•  Custom actions (vote, submit, share, etc.)
  • 28. App metricsAdvanced•  Frequency of use•  Average time + depth of engagement•  Behavioral patterns (map navigation paths)•  Funnel analysis (for conversion tracking)•  Correlating all the above with usage context, e.g. location, time
  • 29. Tools for measurementAnalytics•  Mixpanel•  App Annie•  iTunes Connect•  GoSquared•  Google Analytics•
  • 30. Optimization: Why?Continuous improvement•  User experience (UI, code, features, etc.) for improved engagement•  User conversion – shortening the distance between initial download and set goals•  Monetization – increasing average yield per user•  Cost management – (+) efficiency, (-) $
  • 31. What to expect•  Mostly gradual improvements –  Be patient•  Be ready to –  Discard certain features, discover new onesIf things are going south•  Going back to the drawing board –  Airbnb failed twice before getting it right
  • 33. Free•  User pays $0 for an app that works 100%•  Monetary value is derived from indirect monetization –  User base –  Downloads –  Content –  User activity –  Overall brand/company valuation
  • 34. Paid•  User pays upfront for the app – a fee that justifies/exceeds the perceived lifetime value to the user•  Dec 2010 stats (source: Apple) –  67% of all apps on App Store are Paid –  50% of all apps are $0.99-$2.99 –  Average price of a Paid app is $2.43
  • 35. Freemium•  Basic app is free (e.g. Angry Birds Lite)•  Users pay for “pro” or full version of the app (e.g. Angry Birds)•  Basic versions either –  Have entire basic or limited featureset•  While –  “Pro” versions have extra useful features –  Full versions unlock entire featureset
  • 36. Ad-supported•  App is often free, user sees ads (e.g. AdMob, iAds, etc.)•  App owner earns from ad-generated revenue
  • 37. Acquisition/action basis•  Lead generation –  Sign-up –  Download –  Enquiry•  User-driven action rewards e.g. TapJoy
  • 38. In-app purchase•  Direct integration with iTunes account for “1- click” purchase. All that’s required is user’s iTunes password•  Game developers are making a killing with this
  • 39. Subscription•  Subscription workarounds –  User pays on the website, activates account –  Users account to login on app –  Apple gets $0•  Apple will soon introduce in-app subscriptions at $0 revenue sharing
  • 40. THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!
  • 41. Get in touch TJ Tee |