Mobile apps are a very important part of our daily lives. We use them to keep ourselves informed, connect with friends and family and have fun. According to Statista, there are more than 2.7 billion smartphone users worldwide. We spend most of our day using our phones, and 90% of that mobile time is spent using various apps.
Competition for mobile users’ attention is fierce, with more than 2.7 million apps in the Google Play store and 2.2 million in the App Store. But most of us use only 9 apps per day and 30 per month.
That means there are countless apps that aren’t being used by anyone – because they have no business need or are bad products.
That’s one of the problems with off-the-shelf technology. We have an oversupply of software and a limited attention span of users. Often, it takes longer to deliver your message than it does to develop a product.
In order to stand out from the crowd, you need thorough market research and a lot of experience in mobile app development. You need to make sure your product is well built and well suited to the needs of the market.
How do you make a successful app?
Key characteristics of a successful app
A successful app combines three aspects in an intelligent way: the market, the users and the product itself. All these factors must work together to provide unique value, excellent usability and good performance for the user. Accessibility is the last but not the least key feature of a successful mobile application.
So, what makes an app successful?
We can divide the features of such apps into two main categories: user-centric and business-centric.
- Nice design
- Well-designed user interface and user experience
- Covers basic expectations and needs based on how people use a particular service
- Robust and reliable workflows
- Ensures adequate level of data protection
- Provides quick access to the service/help desk
- Encourages user retention
- Provide fast and seamless payments
- Freedom from data breaches
- Low cost of future development and maintenance
- Simple update process
To create a mobile app as successful as Shine and Brainly, you need to follow these 10 helpful tips.
- Determine your audience
The first thing you need to do is this. You need to know who will be using your app to make it successful.
This will help you check the commercial potential of your app idea (market demand), as well as check how to communicate with your target user audience (marketing message) and where to communicate (channel).
How do you do it?
Look for statistics and insights, check trends, ask questions in a forum, take a poll or create an MVP version of your mobile app and gather all the user feedback.
Check all available sources of information.
You can collect all demographics such as: gender, age, sex, location, as well as information about your users’ behavior and motivation (pain and gain). Then discuss your ideas with the people you think would be a good fit.
Narrow down your target audience – the larger the group, the greater the pros of your product, but also the greater the chances that your app idea will turn out to be wrong. It’s easier to target your innovation to a niche group.
- Delivering value
A good app idea solves a specific problem recognized by the target group of potential users. Even the simplest forms of entertainment, such as Candy Crush games, can provide an outlet for stress and relieve boredom while commuting or standing in line.
The app should give the user a significant benefit so that they are motivated enough to download and use it. The unique value may be related to the price of a particular service, the speed of information delivery, the way the app works, or it may offer features or services that are not available from other sources.
The perfect app combines user needs, business goals and technical solutions in a smart way. A good product should be interesting or useful. Excess is good in nature. It’s always better if your app solves more than one problem. The most successful products are like that.
Some people need comfortable, beautiful and inspiring accommodation around the world, while others want to rent out their apartments to foreigners with spare cash.
- Define your business model
App developers all over the world choose to monetize their apps primarily through different ad-based business models. Video advertising is one of the most popular revenue sources. In-app purchases are also very popular among business owners. However, there are many other business models to choose from.
Each mobile app business model has its pros and cons. To choose the right one for your needs, it’s best to first analyze what your competitors are doing. If it was successful before, it can be successful now.
Keep in mind that not every successful mobile app needs to generate a profit. There are categories of apps, such as those used by businesses, that have different benefits. Sometimes you create an app to save money or streamline business processes, not to gain direct revenue.
- Define the scope of the function
You’ve probably spent some time thinking about the idea of your application. You’ve imagined all the wonderful things it could do, all the features that would add to its functionality. Social sharing, notifications, payments, integrations – they all seem indispensable.
They may all be useful, but it might be better to forget about them for a while. Any one of them will interfere with the development of your main feature. If you focus on the wrong end of the mobile app development process, you’ll lose time or quality.
You may even end up losing sight of the core idea of the app. Consider again the ultimate reason for your app’s existence. Narrow it down to one sentence. Then focus on that. The rest will come slowly.
A plethora of features may seem like a good idea, but it usually isn’t. This only works for contractors who want to exaggerate the value of their projects. Users want the easiest way to solve their problems.
Once you’ve decided what the core functionality of your application is, try to bring it to the forefront in the clearest way possible. Every extra option, every customization, every integration makes it harder for your users to understand the value you provide. This also leads to real costs.
Not only does it cost more to develop a more complex product, but you also need to invest more time and money in customer support in the early stages. Less is more. This is one of the key rules in the early stages.
- Choose the right technology
The way a mobile app is designed can have as much impact on its success as the way it works. If you want to build a successful app, you need to choose the right technology. There are three main options to choose from.
Option 1: Platform-specific native apps
Native apps are coded for a specific mobile platform – iOS or Android. the programming languages used to write these apps are only supported by the operating systems of those platforms. Native apps can make extensive use of the hardware and features of the device, thus enhancing the user experience.
Option 2: Cross-platform native applications
Applications developed using this approach use a shared SDK (Software Development Kit) but still run in native mode. React Native and Flutter are commonly used cross-platform native application programming technologies.
While you lose some of the benefits of platform native, this is still the most cost effective approach if you have a limited budget but still want to design, optimize, and style apps for more than one device.
Option 3: Hybrid apps
Hybrid applications are compatible with all devices and operating systems. Cost-effectiveness, portability and rapid deployment are the three main factors behind the popularity of the hybrid mobile app development approach.
However, keep in mind that you don’t get the benefits of native components and native interaction patterns, so you sacrifice some of the user experience of the app.
However, if you follow this approach to successful app development, you don’t need to write a different code base for each platform. Instead, you can write one and use it on multiple platforms.
- Design a simple and intuitive user experience/user interface
Design is one of the keys to the success of an application. This applies to both B2C and B2B applications. People want to use mobile applications that have a simple and intuitive user experience and user interface. For example, a simple user interface that does not interfere with the data the user consumes in the app. A fast user interface adds a good feeling when using the app, but remember that an intuitive user experience is critical to ease of use.
There are many other benefits to a well-designed user experience and user interface. A well-thought-out registration process leads to better user engagement and more downloads. The same is true of well-designed onboarding. When it’s simple and easy to understand, then users will stick with your app and likely recommend it to new users.
If you rely on in-app purchases, make it clear what the user will get from the virtual goods purchase. This will help increase conversion rates significantly.
- Select a design and development team
The quality of your product is the result of the ability, talent and performance of your application development team. Some projects can be handled by a single app developer, but you can also outsource the work to a team of developers or hire a full-service consulting partner to not only provide technical expertise, but also to support your marketing success.
Make sure your development partners have a wide range of skills, that they can communicate effectively with each other and, most importantly, that they understand the tasks you are assigning them.
- Make sure your team is on the same page
Creative thinking and effective project execution can be difficult to reconcile. It needs to be validated by the other as often as possible. During the scoping meeting, your first idea will inevitably be narrowed down when confronted with the technology, and you must be willing to compromise. That’s why it’s so important to clearly define the core functionality, the problem being solved, and the target user group.
Make sure every member of the custom software development team you work with understands the product, how it should work, and how it should be useful or interesting to users.
App developers are passionate about the technologies they work with and are a great source of ideas when you involve them in the creative process. They are motivated to find new, creative and effective ways to apply their tools. You need to involve them in your vision and make the most of their knowledge and skills.
- Maintaining high performance
If you want your app to be successful, just being good isn’t enough. According to Connecthings’ “Mobile Usage Trends in 2019” report, two-thirds of mobile users clean their phones at least once a month. That means they’re getting rid of apps they no longer need.
In 2019, one of the top reasons for abandoning an app is not being listened to. As Localytics’ research shows, app users who feel listened to are more likely to continue running an app based on their data. But performance is key to your app’s success. 88% of app users will abandon a mobile app if it has bugs and gaps, Qualitest’s study says.
How many bugs should you experience before abandoning an app? Infographic
Remember, users will hold you accountable for any issues that may arise while using your app. Not the phone manufacturer or the telecommunications company that provides them with the internet. Only you.
- Make sure your app is secure
An insecure mobile app can pose a real threat to the entire system. Our devices store and process important data such as payments, banking information, access keys, medical and personal data, etc.
There are many ways to solve security issues. But securing mobile security is not an easy process, especially when you have to identify threats in an app and determine its security level yourself. The most common approaches follow standard security practices, while others are adapted for mobile app development.
- Offer integrations with third parties
Third-party services can enrich your app, increase user retention, and improve the overall user experience.
Take Google Maps as an example. Thanks to third-party integrations, you can not only see the fastest way to get from point A to point B, but you can also view public transportation information, find out how much an Uber ride to your desired destination will cost, or even summon an Uber directly from Google Maps.
It’s a great way to boost your app’s credibility. Integrating it with what people are already using makes it easier to provide a familiar experience. Use this integration to improve conversion rates and increase retention.
But don’t over-design third-party integrations. Implementing them is always time-consuming, so think it through. If you develop integrations that will only be used by a few users, it’s a shameful waste of resources. Do your research and make sure the third-party integration will be useful for the majority of users.
- Planning a marketing strategy
We are inundated with information and content that surrounds us. It’s harder than ever to grab consumers’ attention and make the right selling arguments to convince them. You must choose the right marketing tools and language to promote your solution.
Sometimes getting your message across takes longer than developing the product. That’s why you need to get started as soon as possible. Successful apps promote themselves before they reach the app store. You can divide your marketing plan into 3 campaign stages: pre-launch, post-launch, and post-launch. There are already many other tips to help you put your marketing strategy into practice.
- Make regular updates
Building an app the right way and marketing it properly are two parts of a three-part matrix for a successful mobile app. The last but most important part of the matrix is the work or maintenance that is done after the app is launched. If you’re creating an app, you probably want it to stay on the market, right? So be sure to introduce constant improvements. 37% of mobile app users say they will stop using an app once they encounter an error, such as a crash, freeze, or recurring error, so make sure any small bug is fixed immediately.
In addition, develop new features and update your app. This way, users will see that you care about their experience. Constant updates also help you earn more from your app. Introducing new features and fixing bugs will ensure better user retention. Never forget the most important reason why apps get uninstalled. Pay attention to the space your app occupies in the device’s memory. Review the complexity of the user acquisition process (opt-in, sign-up form, etc.) and pay attention to overall quality, performance, and security.
Remember that Apple and Google update their operating systems every year. Keeping your app up-to-date with the latest OS changes is key. Sometimes this may mean you need to review certain features or change assumptions about your app. For example, adding a small (from Google’s point of view) feature like showing speeding traps on Google Maps makes an app that focuses solely on that pretty redundant.
Creating a successful app is no longer the choice of only a limited group of experienced engineers. Designers, innovative business people and creative marketers are taking the mobile and web app market by storm. If you have a great idea but no software development skills, you can easily hire a mobile app developer who will deliver a world-class product.
Second, you don’t need to be technically focused when planning your app business. You can find many guides on “how to develop an iOS app,” “which programming language is the future,” and “which framework is the best solution.” These are all critical questions.