Developers reveal secrets to maximising the app opportunity

Developers reveal secrets to maximising the app opportunity

09 JUL 2015

LIVE FROM APP PROMOTION SUMMIT, LONDON: The importance of testing and promoting apps were just some of the tips that successful developers shared today.

And statistics were high on the agenda too: There are 68 categories in iTunes, 18 of which are games and 26 are news. And there are over 100 million apps out there, 95 per cent of which are not making money.

What’s more, 80 per cent of apps are never downloaded and 95 per cent are abandoned within the month.

While this may not sound promising for developers, the speakers at the event, where the theme was unlocking growth, had plenty of tips to help app makers thrive.

According to John Miles, CEO of Health & Parenting, the company behind a successful pregnancy app, developers should first “create quality apps that they themselves want to use and not just those that will make money”.

“If you start out with a great app, it will be really easy to promote,” he added.

Once the app is created, it must be tested. Miles said his company uses an internal testing department as well as external sources to test and re-test apps.

He recommended submitting apps to usertesting.com, giving them a profile of the demographic being targeted. The company then films the app being used by people in that market, and developers can hear their commentary and see their finger taps. This can be very useful, he said.

At this stage, Patrick Haig of Tune, a mobile marketing platform, said developers often pay too much attention to the title of their app and the screenshots they will use in the app’s preview, and not enough importance is given to the description, which is “the go to place for all pertinent information.”

Once an app has been launched, Miles and others reiterated the importance of sharing development plans with app store contacts.

“Ask them what you can do to be featured on the stores and what their minimum requirements are,” he said.

Marie Steinthaler from Hopster, maker of a video app for kids, said app stores always “want to know what a developer is up to” and that it is always better to “over-inform” rather than “under-inform” them about plans for international roll outs, updates etc.

Promotion
Once an app is up and running, it is also essential to promote it through the right channels. Amber Vodegel, COO of Health & Parenting, recommended hiring an expert or becoming one, setting goals for each country of operation, using 1,000 keywords and always doing the math – it is possible to calculate the outcome of promotions if developers test with a dummy app.

According to Haig, in the apps world familiarity brings downloads, in the same way consumers are said to buy a product after seeing a brand several times.

“TV, radio, billboards, transit station posters are all ways to get consumers thinking about the app and the brand,” he said.

Customer support is also essential once an app is in the ecosystem – queries should be responded to within a day and employees should have an understanding of the local language and culture, according to the Health & Parenting execs.

Almost all speakers mentioned the importance of Google’s App Indexing – which helps developers get their app discovered in Google Search.

Once an app is indexed, mobile users who search for content related to the app can see an install button for the app in search results. This helps you increase their install base.

Global expansion
What happens when a developer wants to expand into a new market after successfully launching in one? Well, Steinthaler said new markets are challenging because their potential is unknown, as are the cultural and language differences.

She recommends Priori Data, which helped her company choose its initial 100 target markets.

One of the limitations of being a global app is that developers can’t create localised videos or information based on regions when it comes to app previews.

However, it is possible to have regional price tiers (although they are not sanctioned by Apple, they are doable, she said).

At the end of the day, as Miles put it, it is about effectively combining the work of a strong development team with the ongoing effort of the marketing team.

Author

Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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