3 Things to Know When Making an App for Generation Z

Get ahead of the curve and meet Generation Z – The global, social and technological mobile app consumers.

 

The widespread popularity of smartphones and mobile technology owes much of its rapid adoption to Generation Y. That may seem like a ‘narcissistic millennial’ thing to say, but this cohort of young adults aged 18-34 grew up during the web revolution of the 1990s. As such, millennials were the first generation to have digital technology and the Internet embedded into their upbringing.

And with technology becoming more affordable and compact into the 2010s, smartphones have become a necessity in everyday life for millennials. For a generation that grew up immersed in the Internet, apps are virtually new tech products to easily adopt and navigate.

But while millennials grew up with the Internet, it’s the next generation that is coming of age alongside an unprecedented amount of technology. Generation Z (Also known as the iGeneration) is fast becoming the most mobile-consuming, app-savvy generation. Born in the late 1990s to now, they are strongly influenced by technology in terms of education and communication.

Furthermore, Gen Z’s interests in tech and how they use mobile apps is different from their predecessors. While millennials often prioritised mobility, authenticity and transparency in their apps, Gen Z is already showing a desire for security, privacy and immediacy.

As Gen Z’s influence on mobile technology inevitably grows, businesses and entrepreneurs wanting to develop an app should look to get ahead of the curve to engage these consumers.

To help you make an app for the linked-up and logged-on iGeneration, here are strategies to appeal to their interests and capture their attention. And with their spending projected to reach $200 billion by 2018, this is the generation who will decide the future of the app economy.

 

Mobile App Development Melbourne

Gen Z consumers spend 15.4 hours a week on their smartphones. Source: Vision Critical

1. Keep the app’s design and usability simple

The design, usability and experience an app provides should resonate with the audience that it’s been developed for. When it comes to Gen Zers, there are few things less frustrating than an over-designed, complicated app.

As a key ingredient to a successful app, the navigational flow from screen-to-screen and between features should be as simple as possible for them. The last thing they want to do is waste time figuring out how to navigate an app.

ROKO Labs found that poor design is the third most common reason for Gen Zers to uninstall an app.

According to ROKO Labs CEO Dima Rakovitsky, “nearly three-quarters of iOS apps are distributed from the App Store with anywhere from one to ten bugs, while 20% of these apps are reported to have as many as 50 bugs.”

Tech-savvy kids uninstall apps if they don’t work how they’re supposed to. If you want to attract and engage Gen Z, make sure your app is simple to navigate and bug-free.

 Melbourne App Developers

Gen Z’s most used and least used types of apps. Source: Adweek

 

2. Deliver content in a quick and convenient manner

As mobile devices have become more compact across generations, so too has the time span to grab their attention. Gen Z’s average attention span is around eight seconds, which is shorter than  millennials.

Simply put, Generation Z want everything provided to them ASAP.

Download errors, slow loading and transitional crashes within an app are hugely detrimental to winning over millennials, and you have even less time to capture the attention of younger consumers.

The fluidity and immediacy that Gen Z crave has been highly influential in the popularity of apps like YouTube and Snapchat, as both apps offer platforms for users with short attention spans to quickly engage with content.

Make sure your app functions smoothly and that the content is was to understand. Doing this will put your app on the right path to attracting and retaining young consumers.

 

iPhone App Development

How Gen Z uses Social Media apps. Source: SocialTimes

 

3. Give the user control of their app experience

Gen Z is a lot more concerned about how their personal brand is impacted by their online personas. This is why they enjoy the fleeting nature of Snapchat and the secrecy of Kik. However, they also enjoy the control in curating everything, from photo collections with VSCO to music playlists on Spotify.

Gen Zers also are concerned about security across online platforms. According to a study from the Centre of Generational Kinetics, “Gen Z is more concerned than millennials about their security and privacy when paying online with debit and credit cards (63% compared to 58%).”

This higher concern over Internet security may be due to the high-profile hacks that have occurred over their lifetime. And yet, in the same study from the Centre of Generational Kinetics, also found that Gen Z have “fewer worries when entering similar details on mobile payment apps like Venmo.”

So why do Gen Z feel more comfortable putting their credit card details into an app than a website?

It’s because the mobile app provides the user with a sense a control that can’t be replicated by a website. Let’s consider Venmo: The ‘free digital wallet’ app provides an component of control regarding what is private or public in the app (Similar to Snapchat), as well as the power incorporate emojis into a financial transaction.

The bottom line is, Gen Z is cautious with their private information. As a result, providing an app experience where they feel empowered will directly impact their decision to download the app, engage with the features and, in turn, become a loyal consumer of the functionality provided.

 

So for anyone looking to make an app…

You need to understand the opportunities and challenges that come with targeting this mobile-loving consumer.

Your app has to be easy to navigate and bug-free. It has to provide content in a fast and straightforward manner. And finally, it needs to give users the power to curate their app experience.

Have an idea for an app with Generation Z appeal?

Contact us to see out how we can help you launch your innovative app project.

 

How to Make Your App Zig in a Market That Zags

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out!”

– Dr. Seuss

 

Say you were looking for a free note taking app (like I was recently) to help remember appointments and take notes at seminars. If you searched “note taking app” in the Google Play Store, you’d be greeted with the following results:

App Development

From the screenshot above there are apps from independent developers and reputable companies like Microsoft, Google and Evernote.

The million dollar question is: which one should you choose? Factors you might take into consideration could be the app’s rating, app icon, features, description or screenshots.

The app market is like a lolly shop. There are so many choices and so much variety, it’s overwhelming and competitive. Similarly, when you publish an app on the market you’ll be up against other apps vying for the attention of app users. The aim is to rise above competitors by standing out amongst the other apps in the market through grabbing the user’s attention.

 

How can my app stand out in the market?

 

1. Create unique and disruptive ideas

To stand out in the market you’ll need to either create an app that either solves a new or existing problem in a more innovative way.

For instance, Uber helped solve the problem for commuters who wanted to catch a taxi at a reasonable price. It also allowed riders to pay by credit card and track the location of their ride.

An example of innovating an existing problem would be the app Parachute (formerly known as Witness). It’s a personal emergency app that allows user to alert family and friends if in danger. While there are many similar apps in the market, the innovative feature is the ability for users to live stream the user’s location and camera to contacts.

A starting point of finding a need is through doing research on the target market of the app. If you’re looking to capitalise on an existing need, look at competitors in your app category and think of ways to be more innovative.

app developer

Parachute lets users live stream their location to family and friends.

 

2. Create visually appealing Screenshots and Graphics

A picture is worth a thousand words – This is the case with your app’s screenshots. In-app screenshots are one of the main factors which prospective users will assess in the app store. This is the case especially when prospective users are still confused over what the app does after reading the description.

Essentially, your screenshots should be like a movie trailer, showing off the most exciting sections of your app to grasp interest and a potential download. They should be high quality, visually appealing and also contain a caption or headline of the app’s main features and benefits.

app developers

Trucker TV’s Optimised Screenshots. Source: Google Play Store

 

3. App Ratings

App ratings is one of the main determinants of whether a user downloads an app, as it dictates quality. Research from Apptentive found that 59% of people assess the app’s rating before downloading the app.

As a result, having a high rating increases your chances of potential users downloading and using your app.

Melbourne App Developer

Source: Apptentive

 

In addition, gaining positive reviews and stars in the app store will highly likely significantly increase your app download conversion rate.  For instance, Apptentive also found that jumping to a four star rating from a three star rating could bring an expected conversion rate of around 340%.

Finally, app ratings is a tool for continuous improvement for your app. Whether it’s changing the app’s UI and UX or launch times, feedback from app users will allow you to identify improvements needed and overall create a more smooth app.

 

4. Create a Great App Icon

People search for apps in 3 ways: searching by category, keyword or a specific app. Your app icon is your opportunity to create a great impression on the prospective user. In fact, it’s the first thing people will see when browsing through the app store. In a way the app icon should function like a brand logo.

When creating an app icon the main things to consider are colour, image, icon shape, borders.


We’ve previously written about how to create a great app icon. Basically, you should be aiming for an icon that is easily recognisable, simple and visually appealing.  

app developers australia

From left to right: Spotify, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger

 

When creating the app icon avoid using words, keep it simple, use a border and only use your company logo if your brand is well known. You’ll probably notice that most of the apps on the market look very similar in terms of shape and colour, so if you’re stuck, check out icons from competitors.

 

5. Research Your Target Audience

Identifying your target market for your app is one of the key stages when formulating your app strategy. Every age group and demographic has different app usage behaviours.

For instance Blue Cloud Solutions found that that most smartphone users are aged between 25 – 34, who are parents or professionals.

By doing research, you’ll get an overall picture on aspects like app usage, behaviours, needs and preferences. Identifying these characteristics will give you ideas on what kind of app to create and features that appeal to them. Being innovative for the sake of it could cause confusion for the user when using the app.

 

6. Advertise on Multiple Channels

app development australia

Source: Think With Google

One of the myths of app store success is that the app store is the only place where apps are found. However, it isn’t effective to rely solely on app browsers discovering your app on the iTunes and Google Play.

To increase awareness and potential downloads, you’ll need to promote your app through additional channels. It can be through social media, paid advertising and even creating app landing pages.

You could even offer app users incentives for downloading the app like giving discounts, free in-app content or even creating a rewards program.

For instance, accommodation booking sites, like Hotels.com, offers lower prices of their rooms if you download their app compared to browsing on their desktop site.

To determine where to advertise, you should identify where your target audience are most accessible digitally. Research by Google found that the most effective mediums to drive app downloads is through search, video, banner and social ads.

mobile app development melbourne

Source: Think With Google

 

7. App Store Description

After the app icon and screenshots, the app store description will be the third main area that app browsers will see. It is important to focus on how you write your description, as good copy could persuade users to download your app.  

The description should start off with the most crucial information about your app. This is because the app store only shows a few sentences of the description, while hiding the additional text under the “Read More” icon. Here is a good example from One Minute Closer’s description:

melbourne app developers

As seen above, the introduction should contain a summary of your app’s Unique Selling Point (USP) and the main message. You can also add credibility by stating the high number of users or positive reviews from reputable sites.

The rest of the app description should contain information about the app’s features, benefits, a call to action and other apps you have developed. It’s also important to keep it free from any spelling or graphical errors and avoid lying as it could result in app deletion.

 

Why should your app fit in when it was built to stand out?

So here are the 7 tips for standing out in the app market. Just a final note: success doesn’t come easily, you’ll need to continue monitoring your app and trying to find ways to enhance your app activities.

Do you have any other tips for standing out in the marketplace? Have you managed to successfully stand out?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Want to increase your knowledge? Check out our most recent blogs for more insightful knowledge.

The Must-Have Metrics to Maximise App Success

 

App success doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to maxmise your app’s success you’ll need to measure its key performance indicators using insightful metrics. In this guide, we will unpack the different metrics that you can apply to your app and identify which ones to use.

The Pokemon Go app became a huge success around the world the moment it launched. As a big fan, I got in on the craze. It also got me thinking about app success. 

It seemed like the winning formula was: 1. Come up with amazing idea, 2. Create app, 3. Watch the money roll. Little did I know that I’d be completely wrong. First of all, I haven’t done any research to validate my idea and secondly, you can’t just sit back and do nothing.

In order to maximise on your app’s success, you’ll need to measure the app before and after it goes to market.

As there are many different metrics, you’ll need to focus on ones that are most relevant to your app. By choosing irrelevant metrics, you might not discover issues with your app.

 

app developers

Source: Perfecto Mobile

Whenever we work on apps for our clients, we always measure and monitor before and after launching to ensure that it performs efficiently, looks appealing and is giving the users the best possible experience.

 

What metrics can I use to measure app success?

There are lots of app metrics that you can use to measure the success of your app.

Here are some of the essential metrics which can help you maximise app success.

 

1. Performance Metrics

App crashes: This metric helps identify the average frequency of your app crashing after launch. The more your app crashes, the more negative feedback and less retention you would get.

The typical crash rate of a new app would be 1-2%, but depends on thinks like app type and usage.

 

Network errors: This metric looks at how often the app is cannot connect to a server. Additionally, it also looks at network overload within the app.
Having network errors could cause the app to crash or even slow load times.

For instance, my mum uses an email app on her tablet. Almost every time she launches it, the app would unable to detect WiFi, leading to the app crashing whenever she tries to send an email.

 

Installations and downloads: Here, you can identify information on the amount of times users have downloaded, installed and/or deleted your app using this metric.

However, it is important to note that thousands of downloads and installs of an app doesn’t mean it’s successful.

This metric becomes ineffective if users install the app app but don’t become active users.

 

Benefits of measuring performance metrics:

  • Helps you maximise app performance, ensuring that the app runs efficiently and smoothly.
  • You can decrease user frustration and dissatisfaction from the app by reducing issues like errors with UI and UX, network or app functionality.
  • Having a high performing app compared to competing apps will most likely increase app installation, positive feedback and usage

2. Engagement Metrics

Users: This metric identifies and gives you in depth information about the target market for your app. It looks at their behaviours, how they are using the app, geographic locations and demographics of users.

 

Session Length: This metric looks at the duration of time users are on the app in each session. A higher user session length indicates more engagement with the app. Here, you’ll be able to identify which users are spending the most time on the app and on which screens.

 

Session interval: This shows you how often users open your app by identifying the time between first and next time they open the app. This metric allows you to discover whether users find the app valuable.

 

Time in App: Identifies how long the user was in the app. This allows you to identify how users behave and pick up behaviour patterns. However, note that some app categories tend to have higher use times than others, such as: food delivery or games.

 

App screens accessed per session: Identifies how many app screens the user visits in one session. Furthermore it looks at which screens users visit.

 

Retention rate: Helps you identify how many users continually use your app after a certain period of time (E.g. Weekly, Monthly, Yearly). Localytics found that across a 90-day period, the average retention rate is around 20%, while above 25% is the desired rate.

app developers australia

 

Benefits of measuring engagement metrics:

  • Measuring engagement will help maximise user interest with your app, while also achieving a high retention rate.
  • These metrics give you the opportunity to identify the type of content and/or features that users find more engaging.
  • Identifying user behaviour lets you know what in-app purchases users are interested in and when they’d spend money.
  • You have the opportunity to increase user loyalty and conversion, leading to more user and, in turn, more revenue generated.

 

3. Revenue/Business Metrics

Lifetime value: This metric shows the value of each user and the financial value of the app overall. The Lifetime Value also helps identify the costs of user loyalty, overall app success and forecasts for future growth.

 

Acquisition cost: This metric helps measure the cost of gaining customers and generating revenue. It also identifies how users find your app (E.g. Google Play Store, Word of Mouth etc.) and their app behaviour.

app developer

The most effective user acquisition strategies for mobile apps. Source: VentureBeat

 

Benefits of revenue/business metrics:

  • Allows you to identify which user segment brings in the most revenue.
  • You can identify and capitalise on the best app marketing channels to reach your target users.

 

How do I know which metrics to use?

App metrics are essentially key performance indicators (KPI) that you’d find in any business or marketing plan. The metrics you use ultimately depend on your app goals and objectives, found in your mobile app strategy .

For example: An online fashion retailer might have the objective to provide a smooth and efficient checkout process. The metrics that would be suitable might be: app crashes, network errors, retention and time in app.

In addition to your goals, other useful aspects you can consider are desired user app behaviour and the direction you want to take your app.

But just note that choosing too many metrics may overwhelm and confuse you. On the other hand, you might not get enough information if there are too few metrics.

 

App Metric Tools

There are many tools and resources online that make gathering and analysing app metrics easier than ever. Each app platform has accompanying metric tools which you can monitor through Google Play or Apple iTunes.

However, the measurement and information they display is quite basic and features are limited. For more detailed information and features, you could use third party apps. There’s a range of paid and free tools like Google, Flurry, Mixpanel and Localytics. 

 

For good measure…

In conclusion, it is imperative that you measure your app metrics before launching it to maximise on the success of your app. This would not only increase engagement, performance and the number of downloads,  but most of all, increase the revenue your app can generate. Start your journey towards app success by keeping track of the metrics the matter most. 

As the saying goes: when you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail

Are the any other app metrics we should be keeping track of? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

The Complete Guide to App Store Optimisation

Looking to maximise your app’s visibility in the app store? To get your app the attention it deserves, simply follow the key steps in this guide to ensure your app meets ranking criteria and rises to the top of the Apple and Google Play Stores.

It is crucial to understand the various marketing channels available to attract users and generate revenue. Once such channel is the very important, but often overlooked, technique of App Store Optimisation (ASO).

ASO is essentially improving your app’s visability on the app store to drive more downloads for your app.

When it comes getting your app discovered and downloaded by users, the numbers don’t lie:

  • Users discover and download apps through general app store searches 63% of the time.
  • Apps with keywords in their titles on average rank 10.3% higher in the app stores than those that don’t.
  • The more positive reviews and ratings you get, the higher your app will rank in such results.

There are a number of aspects that come into play when someone sees your app in the search results. To effectively optimise your app on the store, you need to focus on elements, including reviews and ratings.

If you have a vision for an innovative app that provides real value to users, here are the crucial steps to implementing an ASO strategy that maximises your app’s search ranking on the largest discovery channel available.

 

Step 1 – Understand why App Store Optimisation is important

In order to successfully optimise your app for the stores you have to know what Apple and Google are looking for. Once you know what is used for iTunes and Google Play to rank the search visibility of your app, you have to optimise for these particular factors.

According to Forbes Tech, the two main factors when submitting on iOS app to Apple are the app’s name and keyword searches. Let’s breakdown the important factors involved in ASO…

Names and Keywords

Your app’s name is the principal piece of meta-data that impacts it’s ranking in app store search results. Therefore, the keywords that your target users are searching for (More on that in Step 2!) should feature in your app’s name, as well as the description. While the app’s name and icon grab the attention of potential users, it’s a persuasively written description that ultimately convinces them to download your app.

Mobile App Development

The app store title for One Minute Closer features the app’s name and an additional five keywords (‘Free’, ‘FIFO’, ‘Roster’, ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘App’) that target users would search for. Source: iTunes

Ratings and Reviews

You can’t control an app’s ratings and reviews in the same way you can find and leverage keywords for ASO, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim to influence them. These are two significant factors when you consider that 59% of people usually or always check ratings before downloading an app – even if everything else checks out.

Furthermore, a single star in your app’s rating can make a huge difference when attempting to reach target users. In fact, a 2015 Consumer Survey found that jumping from a 2-star to a 3-star rating directly increases your app store conversion by 340%. Managing ratings and reviews, gives your app the best chance to achieve a dramatic increase in active users.

Melbourne App Developer

Only 15% of people would consider downloading an app with a 2-star average rating, while over 95% would consider downloading an app with a 4-star rating. Source: Apptentive

Let’s now explore the app store optimisation practices you can use to maximise your app’s discoverability.

 

Step 2 – Research your target audience

Knowing who your app’s target users are is the foundation to implementing a successful ASO strategy. To figure out whom exactly benefits the most from being an active user of your app, you need to assess three elements of your target audience: 1) who you have designed the app for, 2) what demographics will get real value from the app, and 3) what is the problem it solves for them.

To systematically gather and interpret such information, you need to do market research. With effective market research, you can determine the likelihood of your app being downloaded in the app stores, as well as the motivations and behaviours of app users. As part of our Rocketfuel Workshops with entrepreneurs and businesses, the market research to clearly define an app’s target audience usually comprises of two parts…

 

Primary Research – User Persona Modelling

The more you know about your users, the better and faster your can meet their needs. Creating user persona models helps you understand the behaviours and motivations of your app’s target audience.

With an understanding of your app’s target users, you should then place your created personas into scenarios: situations where desirable or ineffective app features become evident. Consider a day in the life of your identified key personas – waking up, working, evening routine etc. – and how your app interacts with them. Use these scenarios to determine the app features that satisfy the market and then prioritise features based on your primary research.

 App Developers Australia

An example User Persona, featuring the target user’s motivations, goals, bio and personality. Source: Xtensio

 

Secondary research – Industry Analysis

Once you’ve identified the app features that satisfy your target users, it’s time to validate your app using the plethora of collected data and existing research available online. If your app is focused towards a certain industry, sources like IBISWorld offer readily available Market Research reports across every industry in Australia.

To find out if users are actually searching for an app like yours in the app stores, use tools like App Codes to track out what keywords your competitors rank for. This will empower you to find the best keywords for ASO and make sure your app’s gets maximum exposure for search results.

 

Step 3 – Identify the right app name and keywords

With your most relevant keywords identified during your secondary research, you can now optimise your app’s name. To increase the visibility and traffic generated, the identified keywords should be in your app’s name.

You have up to 255 characters for your app’s name on the Apple App Store. This is a generous amount of space allows you to insert relevant keywords that will lead to more app downloads. However, don’t start keyword stuffing, as this is widely denounced and often penalised by Apple.

Keep the following tips in mind when picking the right name for your app:

On iTunes, your app name is shortened after the 23rd character on the search results and top charts pages. Even with 255 characters, make sure your keywords fit in logically.

On Google Play, you only have up to 30 characters for your app’s name.

As a result, it is essential so to put your best keywords at the start of the app’s name.

A general rule of thumb is to include three top target keywords in your app name.

While identifying the top keywords to maximise your app’s visibility, focus mainly on the keyword ranking traffic and difficulty. Traffic is the measure of a keyword’s popularity in relation to search volume, while difficulty is based on how intense the competition is to rank for a certain keyword.

Aim for the ideal combination of a keyword that gets a lot of traffic and very little competition. It may take time to find the perfect one, but it’s worth it for the boost your app will receive in the rankings.

 

Step 4 – Create a memorable and unique app icon

As your app’s visual anchor, you want your icon to stand out and be memorable to app store browsers. An app icon is the key visual that users interact with when they see your app for the first time.

So what are the key traits of a great app icon that screams ‘INSTALL ME!’?

Firstly, your icon will be seen on a variety of screens and in a variety of sizes. Therefore, it’s important that your icon is scalable so that it maintains its legibility. Big or small, the app’s icon needs to look good.

 iPhone App Developers Melbourne

An icon should maintain its legibility across multiple resolutions. Source: One Minute Closer

Secondly, your icon is confined to a 57×57 pixel space, so ensure it clearly communicates what your app does. App Analytics firm App Annie provided the following tips to designing a simple, unique icon:

  • The most effective icons provide a clear message through simple design.
  • The icon’s colours should pop while still representing the colour scheme within the app.
  • The icon must represent the core values of your app. This may be the app’s primary feature (E.g. Gmail’s use of a letter) or imagery within the app (E.g. Clash of Clans featuring a main character).

Using these tips will help you highlight the unique selling point of your app, converting browsers into engaged users.

 

Step 5 – Feature high-converting screenshots

The sequence of screenshots on the app store page shows what your app can do. Optimised screenshots convey your app’s key selling points and unique value proposition.

Mobile App Development Melbourne

Life Pulse on Android Wear tells a story to engage uses. Source: Google Play

When submitting apps for our clients, we recommend featuring screenshots that showcase how the app works.

Life Pulse is a perfect example. First, it hooks users with the app’s starting point (Entering your Resting Heart Rate). It then outlines the heart monitoring experience by visually explaining the key features the wearable app provides to users.

To find out which screenshots optimise your app’s conversion rate, use A/B testing methods. When you know which screenshots perform better, as well as the correct order to present them in, you’ll greatly increase your app store conversion rate and, in turn, the number of app downloads.

To A/B test potential screenshots on the app stores, StoreMaven allows you to not just compare your screenshots against each other, but also test your screenshots to industry standards. There’s a 30-day free trial, letting you discovering which screenshots maximise your app’s conversion rate.

 

Step 6 – Maintain your App Store Optimisation

ASO is a marketing practice that you have to keep monitoring and regularly tweak for sustainable app store success. The best practice to efficiently optimise your app is to keep leveraging keywords that rank well and maximise the traffic generated for your app’s page.

It’s also important to consistently update your app so that you keep improving the user experience and performance it provides. Apps that are continually updated are deemed to be high quality and user-centric by the app stores and mobile consumers.

The average update frequency of the top 500-ranked apps is between 30 to 40 days. As a result, you should be aiming for this too. By providing users better versions of your app with each update, your ratings and reviews will organically increase. Additionally, better app store ratings and reviews, will help your app rank prevalently in the search results.

 

Before optimising your app…

Now that you know everything involved in implementing an effective ASO strategy, you can see how the path to startup success doesn’t end when your app is launched. That’s just half of the journey.

With this guide, your app can soar up the app store rankings and maximising visibility.

Can you recommend any other tools and resources for App Store Optimisation? We’d love to hear about them.

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5 Tips to Growth Hacking Your Personal Brand

First coined by entrepreneur Sean Ellis in 2010, a growth hacker is “a person whose true north is growth”. In this post, we outline five growth hacking tactics to help boost your personal brand and, in turn, expand the overall marketing strategy for your app startup.

A growth hacker differs from a conventional marketer in the sense that all of their efforts and strategies focus on lasting growth. The word hacker represents the fact that these tactics for growth are not mainstream or “by the book”. This does not mean they work outside the limitations of the law of course, but this approach to marketing is often unconventional and very creative, bypassing mainstream marketing techniques and promoting huge amounts of growth – often with little to no cost at all!

The term “personal brand” refers to the total experience others take from you. This includes the thoughts and ideas they have of you and how they recognise you as a person.

Having a good personal brand attached to an app startup and/or enterprise mobile app is a great way to promote consumer loyalty. For example, real estate tycoon Donald Trump uses his name extensively on his businesses and products (E.g. The Trump Organisation).

Growing your personal brand is a great way to set yourself apart and be unique. Setting aside some time and effort into growth hacking your personal brand will lead to much better results when implementing your overall marketing strategy over traditional marketing alone.

Social is a standard place to start when you’re talking personal branding and is my go-to place to promote growth. 

Mobile App Development

Traditional Marketer vs. Growth Hacker. Source: Inbound Marketing Agents

 

Social Media

Social media is more often a place where users or potential investors go to find out about you. So why not show them what you want them to see?

It’s important to be true to yourself on social networks while keeping the values and contentions of your brand in mind. Just as it’s essential to be relatable, you must also be professional and valuable. Make sure your profile photos show a unique, fun side of yourself, while still keeping them polished and professional.

Make use of the different social networks available. Find out which one your potential app users flock to and concentrate on those. If you’re an online marketer, try LinkedIn or Twitter. On the other hand, if you’re into retail you’d do better focusing your efforts on Facebook or Instagram. Regardless of your industry, first you must identify your target audience, find out where they “hang out” online and then focus your efforts on those social hubs.

Remember, if you’re trying to grow your personal brand as quickly as possible you want relevant followings from people within your industry, who can then share your valuable content, not your second aunt, twice removed.

Personal Brand

The benefits of a powerful Personal Brand. Source: Buffer

 

Identifying Your Strength

The first step is to find your strengths when creating content for your audience. Releasing content that you’re passionate about and well educated in is the quickest way to finding your niche. This will promote brand loyalty and a good volume of app downloads while identifying yourself as an industry expert. With consistent writing and insightful content on your social sites and blogs, you will soon propel yourself to becoming the to-go guy in your field of work!

Once the hard work is done and you have an interested group of strong followers, they will want to listen to more of what you have to say. This will give you the opportunity to start talking more openly on subjects that might interest yourself, further broadening your potential audience.

 

Stay a Student in Your Industry

Along with releasing consistent content to your audience, you must stay hungry and continue learning. Educating yourself in the latest news and information keeps you at the forefront of your industry. It’s not enough to simply learn new things, you must share what you learn to get the credibility as a professional in your field.

Learning doesn’t stop at content, finding new ways to present your information via social networks, videos or even webinars is a great way to keep relevant and continually grow your brand. Rachel Perkins, Associate Director of Social Media at Michigan University, insists “Personal branding doesn’t end once you get a job. You are constantly building your brand, especially as a student or young professional”.

 

Be Yourself

Many people believe that you have to portray your brand, speak or act a certain way to be successful. This can be painfully strenuous and tiresome as even the smallest falter in your brand’s image can have a tremendous effect on its reputation.

Instead, be real with your audience and just be yourself. People connect better to people and would prefer if they really believe they were communicating with a real person instead of a ‘fake’ persona.

Remember to tell a compelling story that includes your ups and downs in life. Remember back to when Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, got fired from his own company? He came back years later, smarter and more refined, eventually reforming Apple to become the powerhouse we know today. That’s a relatable story and did wonders for his personal brand. Everyone has their own unique story full of excitement and who’s better to tell that story than yourself?

iPhone App Development

The evolution (or lack thereof) of Steve Jobs’ personal brand. Source: Fast Company

 

Networking

Networking online and in person is mandatory to growing your personal brand. According to Lynne Sarikas from Northeastern University, “LinkedIn doesn’t replace networking—it makes it easier to find the right people with whom to network. While it can be a great enabler in the job search process, it does not replace the power of building relationships.” Sharing good content and creating a mass following is a great place to start your personal brand but definitely not the whole package.

Speaking to clients and professionals will help promote your brand and give you opportunities to talk at big events. Start small and always speak with confidence and vindication. This gives you the opportunity to voice ideas and share your knowledge. It’s also an amazing way to meet new people and promote networking growth.

Building your personal brand won’t be a achievable overnight, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort. It’s one thing no one can take away from you and will be with you for the rest of your career. Needless to say, it requires consistent maintenance and tweaking but using as many of these growth hacks as you can will help skip a lot of time between being a nobody to someone that stands out as an industry leader.  

Are the any other Growth Hacks we should consider for Personal Branding? Let us know what works for you in the comments section below.

4 Steps to Skyrocket Your Mobile App Strategy

All great mobile apps start with a clear strategy that guides them towards success. If you have a game-changing idea for an app, this article will show you step by step how to define your mobile app strategy to ensure that your app is designed, developed and launched with maximum effectiveness.

So you have an innovative app idea that you believe will attract users and generate revenue. To do that, you need to create a mobile app strategy that puts your app concept on the right path towards startup success.

A clear mobile app strategy is a key ingredient to successful app startups that attract loyal user bases and generate ongoing revenue.

With many considerations to take into account, this may seem like a daunting task. But worry not, because this step-by-step guide will show you how to create the most effective mobile app strategy to give your innovative idea the execution it deserves.

 

Step 1 – Understand your key business objectives and the market you’re entering

Your key business objectives will drive the overall strategy for your mobile app. In order to gather the essential information required for the best possible mobile app strategy, you need to understand and note where your startup is, the app store marketplace it will operate in and the user personas of your target audience.

The significance of this initial stage in the overall mobile app strategy cannot be underestimated. The business goals you want to achieve with your app are the foundational base to startup success.

To best understand the objectives you want to reach with your overall strategy, these are the main areas you need to focus on (starting from the highest priority):

 

  • Key Performance Indicators & Targets

Don’t think just mobile app – think big about your mobile app startup company! What exactly does your startup want to achieve in the next five years?

You should understand your company’s yearly Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), how it will generate revenue when launched and through what channels. What’s your revenue target for the first year? For example, your revenue target may be a 50% Return on Investment generated via a freemium monetisation model.

This ensures that the mobile app strategy you create is aligned with your startup company’s KPIs and targets as a complementary tool. In short, you want to define what ‘success’ means for your mobile app through measurable desired results.

 

  • Target Audience – Mobile as a touch point

Mobile is not a channel. It is a touch point where users can quickly interact with apps in a convenient and seamless manner. This is how your potential users think when interacting with their smartphones and, therefore, how your startup should think.

The best way to provide a valuable touch point to your app’s target audience is by understanding how users will actually interact with your app. Once you know that, you can capture the sweet spot where your mobile app will provide the maximum amount of value for both existing and potential users.

So when you’re creating your overall strategy you must understand how the touch points on your mobile app can satisfy user needs. Mobile is an enabler for your app to help users get the value they want as efficiently, smoothly and quickly as possible.

 

  • Competitor Analysis & SWOT Analysis

Analysing what your competitors do will more than likely reveal a shared set of best practices that will make it to your features list. However, you will also inadvertently discover things that competing apps do poorly or don’t do at all. Note these as a competitive advantage to gain a superior market position.

This competitor analysis activity was essential to the success of the world’s biggest disruptive app startups – they studied their market, identified something that competitors were missing but consumers really needed, and then built their successful app startup from there.

The last step before you start defining your mobile app strategy is the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. The SWOT analytical framework helps you discover and overcome the biggest problems your app startup would face, while also raising awareness to external threats and opportunities that can influence your potential market position.

The main benefit of a SWOT analysis is that it makes you self-aware of all the internal and external factors that could impact not only on your whole mobile strategy, but ultimately the success of your app startup.

 

Step 2 – Define your Mobile App Strategy

After you have clarified your business objectives and the market you’re entering, you are now in an ideal position to think about your overall Mobile App Strategy. A high-level strategy will include user stories for your mobile app, the resources needed for product execution and the technology stack required for a successful app startup launch.

 

  • Start building the Mobile App Roadmap

What is your vision for what the mobile app should be in order to be a success? Your entire mobile app strategy will hinge on getting this right. Consider this is a two-fold question:

  1. What’s the idea?
  2. How will the mobile user benefit from the idea?

Once you have your overall app idea clearly identified, you need to plan all the components that need to be implemented in order to execute your mobile app strategy. At Launchpad App Development, we refer to this as the roadmap.

A roadmap provides a visual representation of all the work our strategists, designers and developers will do to create an app that delivers real value.

Melbourne App Developers

Sample Mobile Application Project Roadmap. Source: ProductPlan

A roadmap provides a visual timeline for our team and our clients to communicate project milestones that align the business objectives with an app concept’s set product deliverables.

Considering how a roadmap simply represents X amount of time for any given deliverable, it may periodically change if there is a shift in priorities or because a project task has taken longer than initially anticipated. However, for a professional app development agency, you should expect 80% of the roadmap to more or less remain the same throughout the app development process.

 

  • Determine the Technical Feasibility

When we run Rocketfuel Workshops with our clients to help them build best-in-class apps, it’s at this stage where we do a technical review of the app’s functionality to plan the optimum technical implementation method. We do this to ensure that the underlying technology of the mobile application is aligned with the client’s defined business goals.

We refer to the technical aspects that need to be established as ‘non-functional requirements’. You may not consider these requirements when you’re using mobile apps, but they are critical to an app’s success in the market.

The bottom line is that you need to have the foresight to make informed business decisions with technical certainty. Establishing this internal alignment will ensure that your app will not only look and feel great to use, but also perform seamlessly when launched.

 

  • Choose Agile Development as a core component of your Strategy

The main reason to apply agile development methods is because app requirements and business needs ultimately evolve over time based on user feedback, industry shifts and other insights.

Because these needs and requirements change constantly, the best way to develop your mobile app is with an iterative approach: adaptive planning, innovative development, rapid delivery, and constant improvement to produce what your app’s target audience wants.

At Launchpad, we apply a powerful agile framework so that our developers can use their extensive coding experience to deliver iterations as often as possible, while being adaptive and flexible to change.

Again and again, the agile development framework has proven to be significantly more productive and efficient than any other development methodology. Providing a target audience with easy solutions to their problems and adapting to their regularly changing needs should be a key element to your mobile app strategy and entrepreneurial mindset.

 

Step 3 – Determine your App’s Product Strategy

  • Create your Product Strategy by defining clear user stories

You know what the end goal is and who your users are. So what would it take to deliver on your app idea? Now that you’ve documented everything you can think of to make the final mobile app, you need to outline the specific user stories you want your app to excel at.

The number one secret I can provide here is to focus on one or two main user stories. Rather than overwhelm the user, focus on doing a couple of user stories really well.

This is the secret behind most successful apps. For instance, I use Uber when I want a quick ride, Instagram to share photos and Shazam to identify a song. That’s what makes these apps great – when I want or need something, I go to them.

If you nail down primary and secondary uses of your app in a way that the customer’s mindset is to always open your app to accomplish a task, you’re setting yourself up for success.

 

  • Define your target audience – who will use your app and why?

Knowing the types of users that you should build your app for will help you more accurately determine the most valuable functions and features required. This is where user persona modelling comes into play. Personas are an effective tool to create the right product for the app’s intended target market. This helps you understand the motivation of your app’s target users and, in turn, define the product features that satisfy the market.

This exercise is essential to defining requirements and creating user experiences that cater to as many user types as possible and, in turn, increasing the user adoption and long-term viability of your app. It also leads you towards the right mindset of building the app for your most common denominator. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to design your app for 80% of all its potential user types.

Melbourne App Development

An example User Persona, including the intended user’s bio, goals, motivations and personality. Source: Xtensio

 

  • Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

All app entrepreneurs should clearly outline not only the strategy for measuring the effectiveness of their app, but also set specific periodic targets to make sure what is achieved matches their original targets.

The metrics you should track to clearly measure the effectiveness of your mobile app strategy are as follows:

  • Startup/Business Metrics – Revenue, Market Share, and Increase Customer Satisfaction (NPS Score).
  • App Metrics – New Users, Active News, App Rating and Retention Rate.

Tracking insightful data has never been easier with so many tools now readily available. The secret is knowing what to track and doing it well from the beginning.

 

Step 4 – Assemble your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Finally, you’ll need to know how to implement your strategy. You need to define the MVP and processes that the developers need to deliver the project on budget and on time.

 

  • Define your Minimum Viable Product 

Depending on the complexity of your app concept, you may have identified more than 100 potential features that can be included. The next step is to take all of these features and rank them very simply as ‘must’, ‘should’ or ‘nice’ to have features.

With the features you have ranked as ‘must haves’ for the initial launch, you are now left with your MVP. This is the leanest version of your app with only the most valuable features that address the problem the product solves and demonstrates the core value of your app offering.

As previously mentioned in our ‘3 Steps To Validating Your App Idea’ post, the MVP is not the same as the best app offering. Your app is not yet at the ‘sweet spot’ where the maximum number of users are satisfied by the minimum number of features.

Mobile App Development

The minimum viable product has fewer features than an app at the sweet spot.

The MVP is a much earlier iteration than this ‘sweet spot’. It’s the leanest app you can launch to attract users while providing additional time to start developing non-MVP features.

These non-MVP features can be based on your prioritised list of ‘should have’ and ‘nice to have’ features for future updates, as well as insightful data you have gathered from users that have interacted with your MVP app.

 

Key Takeaways

There’s a lot to be said about developing a successful app. It gives our team a great sense of empowerment and creates real value for clients and their app users.

A strategy for developing a mobile app is simple: think big, act small, launch, test and improve. However,  an effective mobile app strategy requires thought, flexibility and an alignment across your business objectives and app goals.

By following this guide, you will be well positioned to successfully build, launch and manage your app.

Are there any resources you would recommend for an effective mobile app strategy? Let us know in the comments section below.

12 Effective Channels for Marketing Your Mobile App

An effective app marketing strategy requires a blend of traditional and new channels to attract users and generate revenue. In this post, we share the 12 best marketing channels to optimise your app’s user acquisition and retention strategies.

In 2008, the Apple App Store was launched with only 500 apps. With the App Store came a new marketplace to create mobile experiences that transcended entrepreneurship, industry and international distribution boundaries.

In the eight years since then, the pursuit of app store supremacy has led businesses and entrepreneurs towards a variety of mobile app marketing and distribution channels that continue to be shaken up by the latest technological innovations and social trends.

Related: The Biggest Mobile App Trends You Can Expect In 2017

In my role as a Product Manager since 2012, I’ve seen mobile app marketing change a lot, but one thing has remained constant all these years: To the victor go the spoils.

Taking advantage of the marketing channels available to you is the key to increasing the performance, popularity and profitability of your mobile app. To help your app thrive in the evolving business of mobile marketing, these are the 12 most effective marketing channels to use when launching a new mobile app.

 

1. App Store Optimisation

App Store Optimisation (ASO) is the process of increasing a mobile app’s ranking in an app store’s search results. The purpose of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page on the App Store or Google Play, so browsers can discover and download your app.

With 63% of apps being discovered through app store searches, you need to be well versed in the various elements that influence an app’s ranking, including the use of keywords and a high-converting sequence of screenshots.

However, there is more to ASO than just the content on your app’s landing page. To maximise your conversion rates for the lowest user acquisition cost possible, you should also be measuring the page ratings and reviews your app receives from consumers.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to App Store Optimisation

 

2. Ratings & Reviews

At the core of mobile app marketing are the app store ratings and reviews provided by potential customers that directly influence your app’s assurance of quality. As Zomato reviews can make or break a local restaurant, a slight change in your app’s rating can have a dramatic effect on it’s app store ranking and, in turn, the downloads and revenue it generates.

A 2015 Consumer Survey on App Store ratings found that increasing the average rating of your app by just one star (E.g. from a 3.0 to a 4.0) can nearly double your expected downloads. Reviews are just as vital with approximately one-third of browsers reading at least seven reviews before purchasing a paid app.

App Developers Australia

In a survey of 350 smartphone users in the US, approximately 60% of respondents said that they check ratings before downloading an app.

 

3. Engaging Content

If ratings and reviews are at the core of app marketing, in-app content is the key ingredient to the growth and sustainability of your app. This channel is one of the few listed here that affects every tier in an app’s growth funnel.

Benefiting user acquisition and retention in particular, engaging content is essential to your app’s long-term viability. With 60% of mobile customers getting bored with an app after using it for a month, it’s vital that you offer something original and fresh every time they open your app.

Related: 7 Onboarding Strategies to Increase Your App’s Retention Rate by 50%

Furthermore, new content via frequent app updates plays a crucial role in user acquisition. Recent updates communicate quality assurance and continued developer maintenance to your customers, while trends over time (E.g. An increased app rating following a content update) directly influence an app’s boost in store ranks.

 

4. Paid Advertising

Similar to search engine marketing (E.g. Pay-Per-Click advertising via Google Adwords), paid advertising of your mobile app is a way to quickly reach a targeted audience and secure app downloads.

There is a variety marketing channels available for paid app marketing, from the app stores, to social media and even within other apps. While this marketing strategy is commonplace in digital marketing, incentivised Cost Per Install (CPI) and retargeting is still unique in the app marketplace.

Incentivised CPI relies more so on the strategic partnership between two apps rather than the app stores as an intermediary. In this shared monetisation model, one app ‘incentivises’ users to download the other publisher’s app (E.g. A mobile game may offer in-app currency if the user downloads a specified app). In return, the publisher who receives the download pays a small commission to the referring publisher.

App retargeting is a strategy to increase user retention by targeting your ads towards users who have already downloaded these apps. These ads provide a non-intrusive method to alerting current users of newly available updates and features, or simply reminding fleeting users of your app offering.

 

5. Loyalty Programs

The purpose of an app loyalty program is to convert casual users into highly active and profitable advocates. In the app marketplace, these programs are often implemented as:

  • Reward systems – E.g. A discount offer on a customer’s next purchase following a recent transaction.
  • Gaming achievements – E.g. Unlocking a new level after sharing your gameplay on Facebook.
  • A mix of mobile and traditional marketing channels where customers can earn loyalty rewards to obtain in-app incentives.

In 2015, coffee chain Starbucks saw a 7% jump in global store sales thanks in part to the My Starbucks Rewards program. Starbucks CEO and mobile loyalty innovator Howard Schultz said the growth of the company’s loyalty program “continues to be our most important business driver as new members contribute not only short-term increases in revenue and profit, but also to long-term loyalty for years to come.”

 Mobile App Development Melbourne

The My Starbucks Rewards program gives customers free drink or food rewards based on the number of stars earned. There are three levels —welcome, green and gold—with increasingly greater rewards.

 

6. Usability & Visual Design

A continuous collaborative effort between an app’s designers, developers and marketers, this channel is all about the interaction between your app and it’s users. As we covered in a previous post, providing a useful app product that’s simple and intuitive to use is essential to a business’s long-term success. Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.

This marketing channel is particularly important for user retention. A Search Engine Watch survey found that 71% of users delete apps after they crash. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Appiterate found that:

  • 71% of users will delete apps after they crash.
  • 42% of people uninstall an app due to a bad user interface.
  • 68% of users delete an app because of a poorly designed registration process.

To alleviate these threats to user retention, an understanding of both design principles and user behaviour is integral to an app’s market sustainability. Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

 

7. Personalised Messaging

App personalisation, the ability to automate a unique experience for every user based on their preferences and behaviour, is the ultimate goal for app marketers. The logic here is simple: personalised experiences = better experiences = valuable and loyal users.

Personailised messaging is a form of one-to-one marketing where we can integrate everything we know about a user’s likes and dislikes into the mobile app experience. As part of our Rocketfuel Workshop, we user persona models and user stories to design a product strategy that drives customer adoption and retention.

Do you know the birthdays of your app users? Send them personalised messages with in-app incentives via push notifications.

As push messages become one of the primary entry points for users interacting with an app, being able to seamlessly transition from a text message to a relevant, personalised page provides a tailored in-app experience for each individual end user.

 

8. Word of Mouth

Having already touched on two methods of Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing in previous listed channels – app store ratings and reviews, and reward program incentives – we’ll add another to the list: Making your app easy to share.

To do so, build in social sharing functionality (E.g. ‘Share to Facebook’) and social integration (E.g. The ability to access a device’s address book to send an automated SMS message with an app store link) to your app offering. Ultimately, however, referrals come down to creating an app that users not only love, but also love to talk about.

 

9. Social Media

Social media is an essential marketing channel to facilitate two-way communicating between you and your app users. The social media platforms available for app marketing allow for varying degrees of discoverability. This is influenced by how much the user experience or app product favours recency or permanence, which can be visualised by the following Social Longevity Spectrum.

iPhone App Development Melbourne

Social Longevity Spectrum. Source: Honigman Media

Where platforms like Twitter and Instagram place much more of an emphasis on being up to the minute, content posted on Pinterest and Google+ have more potential to be discovered long after they have been shared.

You can promote your app on any of these social media platforms in the same way you would a website or business with one important exception: mobile-specified paid promotion. Facebook’s App Install Ads, Twitter’s App Cards and Pinterest’s App Pins are all geared towards mobile advertising. If your budget allows, these paid promotion channels provide are a great way to reach your target audience.

 

10. Blogs & Multimedia

When it comes to marketing your app, content marketing through blog writing is one of the most effective methods to position yourself as an industry expert and spread the word about your app. Adding a blogging strategy to your marketing mix will allow you to reach new audiences and boost organic traffic through search engine optimisation.

Another highly recommended medium for app marketing is video. A well-produced promotional video or app demo will help to communicate the value of your app and it’s unique features using basic audio and animations.  It will convert visitors of your app’s website and social media pages into users by visually showcasing the app and letting viewers make a buying decision in seconds.

 

11. Internet Forums & Social Bookmarking

We commented earlier on the effectiveness of social media advertising to get your app in front of a specified target audience. Internet forums and virtual communities are just as effective for the very same reason. As a no-cost alternative to paid advertising, online forums allow you to communicate directly with your target market.

Whether you’re creating a social network app or the next mobile gaming sensation, there’s bound to be a community out there full of potential app users.

Just be sure to follow the community’s code of conduct or recognised rules to avoid having your marketing efforts appear spammy or overly promotional, both of which may do more harm than good for your app.

 

12. Press and Influencer Outreach

To ‘go viral’ means that your online content resonates so much that it ends up being the latest big thing across the Internet. It is when your content gets liked, commented, retweeted, and talked about from the streets of Melbourne to Silicon Valley.

When it comes to apps, look no further than ride-sharing juggernaut Uber for an example of top-notch viral marketing. The enormously popular #UberIceCream PR campaign is where the company uses its fleet of cars to provide an on-demand ice cream delivery service in major metropolitan areas across 57 countries. The campaign led to coverage by major media outlets around the world and a frenzy of social media activity.

 Melbourne App Developers

The Uber-effective #UberIceCream campaign.

Unfortunately, we don’t all have Uber’s resources, but that doesn’t mean you can’t generate buzz for your app. To influentially announce yourself and grab the attention of potential users, take a grassroots approach to going viral. Reach out to your connections, key influencers, bloggers, and social media personalities in your app’s category to leverage their personal brands to promote your app.

When it comes to app press, there’s no bigger channel for distribution than being featured by Apple or Google in the respective app stores. Both companies frequently review apps and prominently display their top endorsements in their app stores—a feat that instantly and dramatically drives downloads for these lucky apps. Apple and Google want to show off what app entrepreneurs can do with their operating systems, so to improve your app’s chances of being featured, focus on the app’s design, usability and performance.

 

Before marketing your app…

And there you have it—the 12 best app marketing channels to help you drive market awareness and user adoption of your app towards a superior and sustainable market position

With the right research methodologies and strategies to map every step in the user’s journey, mobile app marketing should be seen as something all businesses and entrepreneurs can get behind: A measurable, results-driven extension to the traditional ways of promoting a product or service.

What other marketing channels should we consider for promoting an app? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you’re ready to launch a successful app startup, get in touch for a free 1-hour discovery session with one of our App Experts to help you take the next step with your app.

 

Australian App Developers

 

An App Entrepreneur’s Guide to Instagram Advertising

Instagram reached two important milestones in 2015. Neither of them had anything to do with Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. Firstly, Instagram surpassed Twitter to become the second biggest social media platform in the world, after its parent company Facebook. Secondly, and most importantly for this blog topic, Instagram activated its advertising API for marketers to use in their advertising collateral. Read on to find out how Instagram ads can help get your app more downloads in 2016.

As we have stated in one of our previous blogs, businesses are moving away from traditional advertising channels and taking advantage of social media’s powerful influence on society. Instagram is following Facebook’s lead on advertising and now allowing small businesses, as well as large companies, to advertise within the app. We have seen the benefits of Facebook advertising for small businesses but can Instagram Advertising have the same effect?

According to eMarketer, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will reach $2.81 billion by 2017. This will account for over 10% of parent company Facebook’s global ad revenues, surpassing Twitter and Google’s ad revenues altogether. This indicates that Instagram will quickly become a leading platform for advertising. As a rsult, early adopting businesses will reap the rewards of using the Instagram app for mobile marketing.

Instagram Mobile Marketing

Instagram’s Ad revenue is set to surpass Google and Twitter by 2017. Source: eMarketer

But how will Instagram ads be different from what’s in our feed’s now?

Previously, Instagram ads were targeted based on country, gender and age. Now Instagram will use an algorithm, which incorporates data from users Facebook profiles and Facebook ad buys, to make their advertisements more relevant but without a huge increase of ads on the average feed. This means that advertisements are going to be more effective as the relevant people are going to be reached.

So you’re an app entrepreneur that wants to make use of Instagram advertising, but want to understand the science behind what makes an Instagram ad effective. Here’s our top 5 tips and tools to creating adverts that are #instagood.

1. Learn About The Different Forms of Advertisements On Instagram.

Instagram advertising has evolved quickly in the past year. There is now an array of options that you can apply for your Instagram advertising campaign. Lets look at them below:

Photo Ads

Photo ads are what users see the most in their Instagram feeds. They use high quality visual imagery to deliver your message and engage viewers. They are simple but extremely effective in reaching target markets and creating brand awareness. All these ads have a small ‘Sponsored’ icon in the top right corner to distinguish themselves from regular Instagram posts.

Video Ads

Video ads allow up to 30 seconds of creative video, including sound, to entice your viewer. The use of short video advertisements is rising and the benefits of video advertising are there for all marketers to see. However, it’s important to use engaging visual imagery to capture the viewer’s attention and not rely solely on sound to deliver your message, as the ad must be clicked on to for sound to be heard.

Carousel Ads

Carousel ads are Instagram’s newest advertisement feature. You can advertise your app using a number of different images in the same advertisement. Swipe right and the viewer see’s another image, with a different message or call to action. Swipe right again and they see another image. Carousel ads are strong performing and flexible, allowing you to use a number of different images and call to actions.

Instagrams Advertisements

The three Instagram advertising formats. Source: Instagram Business.

 

2. Get Your Advertisement Design Right.

The design element of your advertisement is crucial to the overall success of your advertisement. Unfortunately, just posting up an image of your product that hasn’t been given much thought will not get the desired response you are after. I’ve outlined some key steps to follow when designing your advertisements.

  1. Create a focal point in your image, which will engage the viewer and capture their attention.
  2. Make use of the rule of thirds and symmetry in your advertisements. Rarely place your focal point in the centre of the image.
  3. Use your logo subtly, not as the focal point, as it becomes a distraction and takes away from the content of your advertisement.
  4. When using text, utilise it to compliment the focal point and make the same fonts, one or two max, consistent across all of your posts. Only 20% of your image can be made up of text.
  5. The use of colour and contrast is key to creating a strong image. Use a plain background to help your focal point colour shine and make the image pop. When using a coloured background, contrast this with a white coloured focal point or text.
  6. Be consistent with your brand advertisement look. Your different advertisements should have a consistent look, whether it is similar compositions, use of fonts and colours or place of logo. This makes your brand recognisable and distinguishable to customers from other content.

3. Make Your Advertisements Look Native.

Making your advertisement look native doesn’t mean you need to have images of people from the depths of the African jungle in your ad. What I mean by native is making your advertisement blend in so it appears as though it isn’t even an advertisement.

You want your advertisement to look like any other Instagram post that might pop up on the average newsfeed. This means that you are not ruining the users overall Instagram feed by spamming them with obvious advertisements, much to the chagrin of many users (myself included!) and creating negativity around your app.

Instagram Ad Post

The Sprint ‘post’ to the left is clearly an ad, while the post to the right looks like a normal Instagram post. Source: The Verge

 

4. Use calls-to-action

Before Instagram allowed advertising, the only way to create traffic to your website was through putting a link to your website in your bio. Instagram was great for promoting brand awareness, but for directing users to a buy now page or prompting them to download your app? Not so much.

With the new advertising API release, Instagram has created Calls-to-Action buttons for use in advertisements. You can use these calls-to-action including, Install Now, Shop Now, Sign Up, Download and Learn More.

Instagram Ads Call To Action

These calls-to-actions can do a number of different things, such as opening a shop inside of Instagram or linking the user directly to their respective App Store for download of your app. Calls-to-action are making Instagram a far more effective marketing tool and all strong app marketing campaigns going forward will make use of them.

5. Make use of relevant hashtags.

Hashtags are critical to brand promotion, audience engagement and can be used across a number of platforms. Using hashtags comes easy for most of us on Instagram, but for advertising, you need to use them strategically. When used correctly, hashtags can reward brands with a larger audience and engagement outside of their local area. There are three different forms of hashtags that businesses can make use of.

Content Hashtags

Content hashtags, such as lifestyle, event or location hashtags, can get you views and click throughs from people who are searching for or using these hashtags. Hashtags such as #mondays, #coffeefix or #melbourne are all great examples of content hashtags that can be used to great effect in advertising.

Trending Hashtags

Making use of trending hashtags allows you to potentially promote your brand out to a large-scale audience, without the need to create the hashtag yourself. Businesses use trending hashtags such as #AFLGrandFinal or #fitness to effectively promote their brand and engage with a wider audience.

Custom Brand Hashtags

You can create a hashtag for your marketing campaign and promotions. Some of the top brands across the globe use their own hashtags in their posts, which become recognisable to their brand and can then be used by other users to create a community of followers and content around the brand’s hashtag.

They can be difficult to create and maintain, but if your custom hashtag becomes popular, the brand awareness can be immense.

A great example is KitKat’s marketing campaign featuring the hashtag #mybreak. KitKat utilises the hashtag across their social media pages and many other Instagram users upload photos of their own KitKat’s along with the hashtag, creating a community of KitKat fans and a growing audience.

Your Instagram Advertising Campaign Starts Now

Instagram advertising looks pretty straightforward. But without following these key steps, you won’t get the most out of the potential it can offer.

First, decide on what ad format you will use. Next, get your advertisement design looking on point. Your advertisement shouldn’t blatantly look like an advertisement – make it look native to the Instagram newsfeed. Use relevant hash tags to promote your brand and advertisements. And don’t forget to make use of calls-to-action!

Using those tools and tips above will help you design strong advertisements on Instagram and contribute more to the overall advertising of your app.

Do you have any other tools or tips to use for advertising on Instagram? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Top Strategies to Get More App Downloads

All app entrepreneurs want the same thing: to increase the number of people that download their app. Growth hacking should be one of everyone’s top priorities. So, what can you do to increase app downloads? In this post, we provide five strategies to app growth that inherently increases user retention and product success with the App Store market place.

We’ve all heard the naysayers complaining about how competitive the app market is today, and how you’re app is likely going to fail. However, you need to brush this negativity aside and continue to push forward with full momentum if you plan on being a successful entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that developing an app is easy – in reality far from it. But in my experiences, everything in life that’s truly rewarding requires hard work and determination, and creating your own app is definitely no exception. 

If you agree with the statement above you already have a head start on the mindset you’ll need to be successful. This will keep the passion alive and maintain your determination and willingness to do whatever it takes to see your app become as successful as possible when it hits the App Stores. 

If you were to come by my office tomorrow looking for advice on how to get enough downloads to propel your app into the ranks of Startup Success, I’d tell you six things. One, you’ve come to the right place! The next five things would be my 5 top strategies for increasing app downloads.

 

1. Use Smart Banners to convert Mobile Web Browsers to App Users

Mobile web remains very important for mobile apps. Developers use it to drive brand awareness and traffic on mobile devices in ways that apps (currently) can’t. There are two main ways that users end up on a mobile website: through organic search or a link.

On a mobile device, web search is one of the best ways to get discovered. Hopefully, when someone enters a query in Google (or Bing, ha!), your mobile site pops up. This is why it’s crucial you have a strong web presence with indexed content. Google will not automatically return your app content on search. Skip to step 4 for more on that.

If you receive organic traffic to your mobile website, it’s up to you to design an experience that will drive people to your app. The best method for this is a smart banner. As simple as this seems, smart banners continue to drive mobile downloads. According to Branch Metrics, an analysis of 12 million link clicks found that 15.5% of smart banners clicks resulted in an install. That’s actually pretty high in comparison to most channels.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-18_at_5.24.06_PM

Click-to-install rate by channel.

The second way users find themselves on a mobile website is from a link click. Sometimes, the mobile web is used as an interstitial before a new user is routed to the App Store. In fact, compared to sending someone directly to the App Store after a link click, sending them to a mobile web splash with a View in the App call-to-action converts users 2 to 6 times better. Web banners work because of Cialdini’s principle of reciprocity. By giving users a preview, or a free sample, of the app content you want them to see, they are more inclined to give the app a try.

 

2. Provide a personalised App Onboarding experience

Onboarding continues to be a crucial step in converting valuable users. In summary, the App Store is a huge barrier to entry, but so is a generic welcome flow. By giving users a personalised experience, you provide them value right off the bat. 77% of mobile users downloaded an app in the past six months because of a recommendation from a friend or family.

Why not remind users that they came from a friend’s recommendation when they open the app for the first time? Gogobot did this by showing the name and profile picture of the referring user and saw a 78% lift in conversion to sign up.

Now, I know what you’re probably saying to yourself: “The title of this blog was about driving app downloads. Onboarding is after my users have already downloaded the app.”

But what good are app downloads if they don’t convert into active users? Spoiler alert: none. Well, except for maybe costing a lot of money and providing you with some vanity metrics.

tu225

You don’t need Condescending Wonka telling you how important user retention is.

The best-personalised welcomes rely on deep links to pass information through the App Store that you want to show a new user. The newest research shows that day-1, day-7, and day-30 retention rates double for users who come from a deep link.

 

3. Give Desktop Users direct access to your App

Links created from desktop via a text-yourself-the-app feature have the highest conversion to sign up rate compared to other deep linking features.

Let me explain why this is the case. If users have spent the time to enter their phone number, open a text, and click on a link, they’ve probably already made up their mind that they want the app. This is why we see an install rate of about 42% when it comes to text-me-the-app link clicks.

This is also why text-me-the-app is the default for branch link clicks on desktop. But how can we make this the default when so many apps are mobile-first and don’t have a website?

As mentioned in my 3 Steps To Validating Your App Idea post, we recommend creating a desktop landing page that is built seamlessly into the user experience provided by the app when you click ‘Download Now’. Instead of relying on the badges below to drive web traffic to your app, get potential users to enter their phone number to be texted a link to the App Store.

Screen_Shot_2015-09-18_at_4.30.48_PM

App Store Badges on Desktop.

4. Make your App discoverable

App discovery is the hot new topic when it comes to driving downloads. Leading the charge are Apple and Google with their App Indexing and Spotlight Search.

Although these are still unproven channels for driving app downloads, you have two of the most valuable companies in the world, who also happen to control the app ecosystem, working hard to make app discovery a possibility. I’d bet on seeing some significant improvements in app discovery very soon.

Apple’s recent iOS 9 update allows developers to list content with CSSearchableItem and CSSearchableIndex (Before we get any further, make sure your iOS app is setup properly for deep linking… Done? Great!). Once you’ve done this 1) your app content can be listed on cloud and local search, 2) you can deep link directly from Spotlight Search results, and 3) you can start tracking clicks and downloads coming from Spotlight. Win-win-win.

For Google to properly index your app, you need to have a website with corresponding one-to-one mapping to the content in your app. Bit of a drainer, right? Before doing the ‘eye-roll, back-turn’ at Google, there is a solution that will host and configure your indexing tags automatically. Similar to Spotlight Search, this solution will allow you to list your app content, deep link from search results, and track and measure search results.

As I mentioned, these are still unproven channels, but indexing your app content now will definitely get you ahead of the competition.

 

5. Focus on valuable content

Too often I hear people say, “I want my app to be viral,” as if virality is a special feature you can simply switch on. Virality is a goal, not a choice. What entrepreneurs should be saying, or asking, is “why are some apps viral?”

Apps are most viral when they have good content. Good content is defined as content users think is worth sharing. The more your content is shared, the more users will download your app (assuming you build the sharing features for them to do so). It’s that easy.

Not only is it more shareable, but it will also become more discoverable, as app search engines will likely reward highly shared app content with higher search results. Creating good content is not an easy solution. It’s no get-rich-quick scheme (like App Store Optimisation), where you’re promised immediate results. It’s a solution for long-term success and discoverability.

We’re at a time when creating a mobile app is like creating a website before Google. Once app search and discovery becomes prominent, it will change the game for everyone.

Am I missing out on any strategies to getting more app downloads? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

How To Optimise App Store Screenshots

To maximise your app’s conversion rate for the lowest possible user acquisition cost, it is crucial to understand how to optimise the sequence of screenshots on the App Store page. In this post, we examine those high-converting screenshots that drive more traffic to your app’s page and, in turn, lead to more app downloads.

According to research firm Forrester, 63% of apps are discovered through App Store searches. This makes App Store browsing the most used method for discovering and downloading apps. Consequently, if you’re not using App Store Optimisation (or ASO for short) to increase your app’s search ranking, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available to your app.

At its core, ASO is about increasing your organic installs by showcasing (or teasing) your app’s features quickly and succinctly. But to maximise your conversion rates for the lowest possible user acquisition cost, you must understand how to optimise the sequence of screenshots on your App Store pages.

Previously, we touched on how to pick the best ASO keywords for naming your app and designing your app’s Landing Page to draw in users and stand out once installed. In this post, we’ll go over what screenshots to place on your store page to convert views into installs, as well as the A/B testing you can do to optimise conversion rates.

So, without further ado, here’s how you find those high-converting screenshots to increase downloads on the App Store.

 

Making Screenshots that Showcase Your App

Whereas an icon might hint at your app’s quality and general utility, screenshots and videos paint a clear picture of what your app actually does. The best screenshots clarify your app’s unique value proposition and key selling points. How you demonstrate this, however, differs by app type.

Optimising For: Games

Angry Birds

Angry Birds 2 on iPhone shows off both gameplay and graphics. It doesn’t waste space showing how to launch a bird.

Games need screenshots that impress potential users with context about how fun the gameplay is as well as high-quality visual design. Angry Birds 2 is a great example that leads with its lively characters and physics-based gameplay, as established in the original Angry Birds. Adding key benefits at the top-left or bottom-right (e.g., “Multi-Stage Levels!”) is another best practice put in motion by Rovio’s designers.

Optimising For: Apps

CatchoftheDay

CatchOfTheDay on iOS tells a story to engage audiences.

For apps that aren’t games, we suggest showcasing screenshots that inform users how the app works. CatchOfTheDay is a perfect example. First, it hooks shoppers with the lead screenshot (beyond using Apple’s well-known brand and products, it also showcases being ‘Australia’s #1 Shopping Experience’). Then it proceeds to explain the shopping experience by visually outlining the main features the app provides to users.

 

Making Screenshots that Engage Users

Users are selective. You only have one to three seconds to get them to pay attention (Industry experts call this the “three-second rule”). There are several fundamentals to practice to convert the most installs.

Clumsy Ninja

Clumsy Ninja on Google Play leads with an entertaining video to engage Android users.

You’ll want to lead with at least one clear high-definition video. Keep it short and simple – ideally 15 to 30 seconds long. As a rule of thumb, your trailer’s duration should be less than half the time it takes to download the app itself on a 4G connection.

It’s even more important to leverage an app trailer on Android, as your lead video appears at the top of the Google Play store page. Clumsy Ninja does an excellent job of utilising this video top space with its engaging video.

For screenshots, always lead with the highest-converting image based on non-incentivised traffic. This may require some A/B testing, which we will cover later in this post.

 

How to Design a Great Screenshot

It’s very important to have concise and scalable screenshots, as users will be browsing on a range of devices including desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. File format is also a consideration — to get your screenshots onto Google Play and iOS App Store, they need to be saved as either JPEGs or PNGs.

If it’s your first time making App Store screenshots or you need assistance with your next project, you can use AppIconTemplate.com’s handy iOS and Android screenshot PSD templates.

One Minute Closer Apple iTunes

One Minute Closer on iPhone uses some text, while having a visual sense of hierarchy to explain the app’s core values. Source: iTunes

In general, text should be light and used to help frame the visuals. This translates to a font size around 65pts for the body and 100pts for the header. Overall, you’ll want to communicate visually and be supported by — not reliant on — text. Tinder employs this strategy by using text to enhance the visual message.

Screenshots should have a sense of hierarchy, displaying the app’s core features and unique selling points first. This way, the consumer can quickly grasp why your app is better than or different to competitors.

In the Tinder example, users quickly learn that the app shows local people, the ability to quickly like or pass and what happens when a match occurs. This helps it stand out against other dating apps.

Lastly, always make sure screenshots are consistent with the look and feel of the app UI/UX. Otherwise, users will become confused when they open your app and you’re likely to run into user retention problems.

 

Combining Design with A/B Testing

The quickest way to know you have the best screenshots and optimise conversion rates is through sequential A/B testing. However, how you execute this method differs by App Store:

  • Google Play – Android developers have it easy thanks to Google Experiments, which lets you set up tests and collect results within Google’s dashboards.
  • iOS App Store – For iPhone and iPad apps, we recommend using Facebook advertising campaigns prior to an app’s soft launch. The click-through rate for each screenshot will allow you to evaluate which ones drive traffic towards your app and, as a result, will lead to more downloads.

Based on you’re A/B test findings, you should optimise the order of your screenshots so the highest-converting one (among your target users) is first. Furthermore, you need to account for common behaviour across devices where your user views your store page. When they come across your page, they could be on their desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. To maximise your conversion rates, you must not only have the best set of screenshots, but also know the correct order to present them.

 

Key Takeaways

According to analytics firm App Annie, a 10% improvement in your conversion rate can lead to 10% more app installs or 10% less user acquisition to reach your target market. In short, optimising your screenshots will improve your user acquisition.

However, design principles and A/B testing methods differ between apps and Apps Stores, so be sure to keep our guide handy to help you through the process. In time, you’ll discover which screenshots are leading to the most downloads and, in turn, receive the fruits of your App Store Optimisation efforts.

Are there any ASO tools or resources with should be checking out? Let us know in the comments below.