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App Development & Success: Expectations vs. Reality

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Building an app? We've got the details on what it will really be like (and why you can't overlook marketing!).

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App Development & Success: Expectations vs. Reality

  1. 1. App Development & Success Expectations vs. Reality
  2. 2. Have a great idea for an app? That’s awesome! Now comes the journey: building and refining a useful app. In order to do this, you’ll need insights into common do’s and don’ts. Here are eight expectations you might have about the development & marketing process - and what you’ll actually encounter.
  3. 3. Expectation I can take the mobile version of my website and repurpose it into an app.
  4. 4. Reality There’s a reason you’ re building an app - and it’s not to be trendy, it’s to meet a real need. Apps are distinctly different from websites, and not just in terms of structure. While even mobile websites lend themselves well to browsing, apps are built to help a user complete a specific task, and are much more oriented to solving a problem or getting the end user to a specific in-app event. Don’t approach your app with the mindset of simply embedding your mobile site - instead, consider the 3-4 user scenarios your app should meet, and use those as the foundation - not your website.
  5. 5. Expectation There are a lot of tools out there to help build an app, so it should be fairly easy to develop a first version.
  6. 6. Reality Even if you choose a pre- formatted app, you’re still in for hours of feature identification, additional coding, troubleshooting & tweaking. When designing and developing for Android and iOS, it used to be you had to learn Objective-C - a programming language universally viewed as difficult. Today, there are services that allow you to use app templates to create and launch your app quickly, or a community of freelance developers at your disposal. But even with these resources, building an app requires attention and commitment. To make your app great and valuable to the end user, you’re going to need dedicated development time, a budget, and a reasonable launch timeline.
  7. 7. Expectation Submitting to the app store is easy, and is done with the click of a button.
  8. 8. Reality Expect to be rejected by the App Store on your first go. Your app has to be near perfect to be accepted. Make sure it doesn’t crash, use private APIs, or use the camera or mic without the users’ knowledge. Plus, no matter how much documentation you’ve read on App Store submissions, there are additional undocumented reasons your app could be rejected. The review process also takes a lot of time. It typically takes several days for Apple to review your app, but it can take longer. If you aren’t granted submission, pay attention to the notes explaining why your app was rejected, and update accordingly. Bonus tip: make sure to plan time for the time it takes to accumulate all of the assets you need to create your listing, including screenshots, icons and metadata.
  9. 9. Expectation Once my app is in the App Store, it will be visible to potential users.
  10. 10. Reality You need to optimize your App Store listing for better visibility & rankings. Yes, your App Store listing is public - but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to discover. 63% of app users find apps via an App Store Search, and if your listing isn’t primed with relevant keywords, screenshots & descriptions, your app isn’t going to rank high enough to be discovered. In order to get more downloads early on, you need the visibility App Store optimization provides. Otherwise, it’s tough to improve your ranking at all. The ranking process is cyclical - the more downloads your app gets, the higher it ranks. And if you acquire new users at a fast enough rate, it could land you in a Top 100 list upon launch.
  11. 11. Expectation App Store optimization will bring in most of my new users.
  12. 12. Reality You need a go-to market strategy that includes targeted acquisition campaigns. Does your app have a web presence - a blog or social media account? Are you utilizing other marketing channels to drive attention to your app launch? What about PR? There are a number of potential channels for getting the word out on your app, even if you’re not a large org. Just as important is putting together a paid user acquisition strategy, which should include ad campaigns run through partners like Fiksu and Facebook. Mobile ad partners can help you target the exact audience you’re looking for, and hone in on your ideal users. You want to track these campaigns and see where you get the most engaged users - so you can double down on those programs and eliminate the ones that result in inactive users.
  13. 13. Expectation Once I launch my app, I’ll only have to make a few updates over time.
  14. 14. Reality Your app, like your user, is always evolving. Which means that you’ll encounter unexpected needs for updates, bug fixes, and other app improvements fairly regularly - if not, you’re not growing. Releasing regular updates shows your users you’ re engaged in creating a consistently better app, and that you’re listening to their feedback. Plus, it allows you to keep your app from losing steam or becoming too static. Bonus tip: always include well-written release notes when you launch new versions or updates.
  15. 15. Expectation I can use analytics to measure how my app is performing.
  16. 16. Reality You should use analytics to improve your app. Tracking how your app performs is key, particularly when it comes to identifying popular features, pinpointing drop offs or gathering user attributes. But what good is that data without putting it into action? Use your analytics to create a better app experience by improving screen flows, updating features and responding to what you see users doing in-app. If you’re seeing drop offs, revisit and revise that step; if you’re seeing low session lengths, try a relevant in-app message. Your app can’t be static - make it better with data.
  17. 17. Expectation Once a user downloads my app, they’ll see the value and come back regularly.
  18. 18. Reality Once a user opens your app, it’s up to you to create a continually valuable experience. In a perfect world, your app experience would be more than enough to keeps users coming back for more. But the truth is, many downloads don’ t turn into active users. You need to create a personalized experience using smart marketing to keep users engaged. This means sending the right content to the right users at the right time. Tools like push and in-app messaging, user segmentation, personalization and automation can help you optimize the user experience and keep engagement strong!
  19. 19. Mobile isn’t just a channel; it’s a behavior It’s your chance to communicate regularly with users on their terms, and in their daily lives. Which is why it’s time to build better apps and improve the user experience.
  20. 20. Want to learn more about creating a better user experience for 2015? Download our free data-driven report: The 2015 App Marketing Guide

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