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Here’s a Quick Way to Validate Your Mobile App Idea in 2017

Don’t wait for someone else to validate your great app idea. Validate it yourself!

So you have an idea for an app. But it’s not just any app idea.

After browsing the App Stores, you realise there’s nothing like your app available. You’ve mentioned the idea in conversation and noticed that others think it would be an awesome app. You’ve defined what your app is all about and envisioned how it will revolutionise the world.

This is exactly what happened to Evan Spiegel in 2012.  He dropped out of Stanford University to focus on his idea for a photo-sharing app. Its main focus: communicating with the full range of human emotion—not just what appears to be perfect or pretty”.

This might have sounded like a great concept back in 2012. But was that all it took for Evan to go ‘all-in’ on his app idea? What made him think his idea would stand out from apps like Facebook and Instagram? How did he know there were smartphone users looking for a photo-sharing app like his?

Before you start investing time and money to make your startup dreams come true, you need to spend the time upfront validating what your app idea could truly become. Idea validation helps you to not only save time and money, but also focus your efforts on building an app that people want to use and increases your chances of creating a successful app startup.

This is what Evan Spiegel did in 2012 before leaving college to focus on his app startup called Snapchat. Validating Snapchat back then may not have shown that it’d be worth $20 Billion and the third-most popular social network in less than five years, but it did allow Evan to move forward with confidence in the market demand and long-term viability of his innovative app idea.

That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you validate whether your app can generate revenue, attract users and allow you to join the wave of successful app entrepreneurs in 2017.

Even if you’re not too ‘tech savvy’ or just taking your first step towards entrepreneurship, this complete guide will take you from the initial concept of your app idea all the way to its successful launch.

 

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Step 1 – Establish the basics of your business model

Identify your target users and find out if your idea is profitable.

Having a great app idea is definitely a cool ‘eureka’ moment to have, but without a workable business model, your idea is likely going to stay in that moment rather than becoming a successful reality.

Since your app is a startup that you want to generate constant, sustainable revenue from, there are a few things you need to clear right from the get-go:

  • The type of app you want to develop
  • Who your target user is
  • If your target user even wants your app
  • Whether to develop your app for iOS, Android or both
  • Keeping your app localised or going global

Once you can define this foundation of your app’s business model, you can then move forward with confidence to the actual development phase. This is way better than hastily moving forward with an app idea you think is amazing, only to find out that not many other people feel the same way.

 

Primary Research

The best way to identify your target audience is through market research. Understanding the motivations and behaviours of potential users helps you find out the market demand for your app. This will also help you determine that sort of app to develop.

A cost-effective way to discover what prospective users think is by creating user persona models. As part of our Rocketfuel Workshops with budding app entrepreneurs, we create user personas to better understand the needs of target users. We then place the created personas into scenarios to find out if certain app features are desirable or ineffective in certain situations.

 

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An example user persona featuring the target user’s bio, personality, goals and frustrations. Source: Xtensio

 

Secondary Research

With an initial understanding of your prospective audience, you can refine your target users by conducting secondary research. A variety of published reports and collected data is available online.

Sources like IBISWorld provide up-to-date Market Research reports covering every industry in Australia. Analytic tools like App Annie or Sensor Tower lets you discover the keywords similar apps rank for. This allows you to find out if people are actually looking for an app like yours.

With all this gathered research data, you can now move forward to determine the best platform/s for your app.

 

iOS, Android or both?

As you establish the business model for your innovative mobile app idea, you’ll undoubtedly have to consider whether to develop the app for Apple iOS, Google’s Android operating system, or both.

If you’re looking to build for one platform first then here’s what you need to know: iOS apps are always more profitable and get greater exposure than Android apps. This is due to iPhone and iPad users spending more on apps and Apple streamlining its process for developing and launching iOS apps in the App Store.

 

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iOS worldwide app store revenue has been consistently higher than Google Play’s over the past three years. Source: Apple Insider

 

So if your main focus is increase revenue and efficiency in the development process, create an app for iOS.

 

To localise or not localise

When you localise an app, you are tailoring it to suit a certain country, region or continent, whether through language, design and/or marketing. During the initial idea stage, you may choose to target a small market within your home country that can expand over time – but herein lies the problem.

According to eMarketer, there are now over 2 billion smartphones users worldwide. That’s a potential market of 2 billion people. If you don’t localise your app to the societal and cultural traits of other world regions, you dramatically reduce your potential market penetration.

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If you’re an Australian App Entrepreneur wanting to keep your app’s appeal domestic, consider this: With roughly 15 million smartphone users nationally, Australia contributes less than 1% of the overall app market share. Your app is already missing out on a vast majority of potential customers if you don’t localise it.

Plan to localise your app globally in places that lead the way in app use and consumption. With a solid localisation strategy as part of your app’s business model, now comes the prototyping phase.

 

Step 2 – Put your idea down on paper

Think about your app’s users and what features they need.

If you’ve got great app ideas you truly believe will be a success, write them down. Whether it’s app name options or wireframe sketches, jotting down your ideas will help you to think more creatively.

As you’re putting pen to paper, be sure to pay close attention to your users. Think about the audience you will be designing the app for and what their user experience will be in-app.

 

The Prototyping Tool

At Launchpad App Development, our user-centric approach to app prototyping is implemented to enhance the usability, convenience and satisfaction from a user’s interaction with our apps. But this process is undertaken once we’ve helped our clients crush assumptions and defined the best way to launch their app’s mobile presence.

So what sort of app prototyping can you do while validating your app idea? It’s important to find yourself a powerful and user-friendly prototyping tool that makes design iterations and experimenting easier. Ideally, the prototyping tool should include the following features:

  • It let’s you design wireframes and mockups simply and quickly
  • It lets you seamlessly share design iterations with your team and developers
  • It’s free to use, but provides an upgrade option if you need more features

During our discovery sessions with clients, my go-to prototyping tool is InVision. InVision is free to use and allows you to turn your App Idea into an interactive, clickable Mobile prototype.

 

There are so many user-friendly prototyping tools available that it would be in your best interest to try out a couple of them to find out which one is best for you and your workflow. Some other excellent prototyping tools I recommend are Fluid UI and Marvel as you can learn how to use them in an intuitive and fast manner. The upside of “test driving” a few of them is that you’ll end up with the best fit to visualise your app idea.

 

Step 3 – Find a great app developer

The qualities to look for in a great development partner.

There are certain qualities that make excellent technical partners truly stand out. Besides coding talent, they need people with mobile product experience. They should have Innovative UI/UX Designers and attentive Quality Assurance (QA) testers that work together to produce brilliant mobile apps. A great development partner provides you with experts across all these areas that work in parallel to iterate quickly and deploy efficiently.

 

How to Find that Perfect Partner

When you’re in the process of choosing an app development company, what you’re really choosing is a partner that will collaborate with you to transform your innovative idea into a successful app. To find that ideal app development partner, look for these characteristics:

  1. A beautiful portfolio – Their work should feature attractive apps that provide user-friendly and intuitive mobile experiences. This is a sign of their mobile UX and UI design
  2. Genuine interest in your app – They should have collaborated with lots of entrepreneurs and different app startups. As a result, they’ll be able to provide supplementary creative input from all their development experience.
  3. Not the cheapest – Your main focus should not be to save money – it should be to design and develop a brilliant app. The best partner will cost more than the cheapest developer, but this will ensure that you are giving your app the best chance of startup success once launched so that you achieve the best possible ROI.
  4. A detailed product strategy process – Their initial discovery session should be to capture the essence of what your app will do and understand the outcomes you want to achieve. From there, they should start strategically planning the key drivers to generating revenue and making your app a success.
  5. Open to collaboration – Trust forms so much faster when working side by side with your development partner. That’s why a great partner will always be willing to co-innovate with clients to promote brainstorming, problem-solving and constant communication throughout the app development process.

When you’ve found that perfect partner that understands your app vision, provides a product strategy to make it better, and can help you throughout the whole development process, you’re ready to transform your app from an innovative idea into a successful reality!

 

Before you validate your app idea…

It’s one thing to have an innovative idea for an app, but it’s another thing entirely to turn it into a popular, moneymaking reality that people download from the App Store.

If you have a brilliant idea, it could very well be the foundation for the next big app startup. By following these steps, you will give yourself the best opportunity to find out your app idea’s potential.

Ready to build a successful app startup?

Book a free 1-hour discovery session with one of our Launchpad specialists to define the next steps for your concept.

 

Australian App Developers

 

Why Restaurants Are Moving to Mobile Apps and Facebook

At Launchpad App Development, we are always keeping up to date with the latest trends and insights in the world of apps and mobile. A notable trend we’ve been witnessing is the increase of businesses in the hospitality industry using apps and social media. It’s easy to see why. Social media and mobile has benefited many industries in the past few years by increasing efficiency, sales and innovation. Restaurants and cafes can also achieve these benefits through mobile, allowing them the opportunity to increase customers and sales. Today we give you an insight on why your restaurant should take advantage of mobile browsing, social media and smartphone apps.


Smartphones are changing our lives

Smartphones have changed many elements of people’s lives. For example, many young people rely on the clock on their phones, instead of wearing watches. In addition, it has also changed our purchase behaviour, where people buy things due to mobile commerce, which is a growing and lucrative market.

For instance, Restaurant App Engines found that 51% of smartphone users say they would be far more likely to make a purchase from a retailer or restaurant with a mobile specific website or app then search a retailer on a desktop. However, currently only 4.8% of retailers currently have a mobile specific site or app for their hospitality business.

 

How will an app benefit my business?

There are many benefits of creating an app for your hospitality business, such as:

  • Gaining more reviews:

An app gives users the opportunity to establish a database of reviews from customers. Customers can rate and write their own reviews, while also reading reviews from previous customers. Online reviews are one of the main elements that influence a consumer’s purchase decision. According to Invesp, 90% of consumers online reviews before they visit a general business. As a result, having positive reviews will most likely increase sales and customer conversion.

 

 

  • Creating convenience for customers:

Creating an app can increase convenience for your customers, enhancing customer experience. Building an app can provide customers easy access to information, such as your menu, daily specials, business hours and store location.
In fact, previewing menus could influence customers visiting your restaurant. Research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey found that 62% of customers would less likely go to your restaurant if they can’t see a menu on their mobile.

 

Melbourne App Developer      Source: Guzman y Gomez’s app from the Google Play store

In addition, an app can help make the entire purchase process much easier. Customers can order their meal on their mobile and collect it in store. This decreases any long wait times or queues that consumers might experience during peak hours, reducing customer annoyance.

 

 

  • Gaining the competitive edge through incentives:

With an app you could even offer incentives, such as loyalty programs or mobile coupons, to increase sales and repeat customer visits, giving you the competitive edge. For example, Starbucks has a rewards program on its app, allow customers to redeem free music, drinks and apps.

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Source:  Google Play Store


Case Study: Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza is an example of a restaurant that gained success through creating an app. The app allows customers to view menus, order and customise pizzas with ease, while also tracking their order in real time. Released in 2009, starting with the iPhone, the app helped increase $2 million in sales within weeks upon release. Combined with its Android and Smartwatch platforms, the app continues to contribute in the pizza chain’s profit increases.

 

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Domino’s app allows you to order, pay and track delivery on your smartphone.

 

How will Facebook benefit my business?

Facebook now has over 1.13 billions daily active users with 1.03 billions users who access social networks via mobile devices. People spend a lot of time on social networks with an average of 50 minutes on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger every day.

This is a great opportunity to interact and engage with your target market. This can be done in various ways, such as providing menu updates, offering discounts or gaining feedback from customers. In addition, you can use images and videos to capture the interest of your target market, which can instantly become a return on investment.

Facebook campaign uses a pay-to-pay network, which gives you the ability to target users by their location, demographics, age, gender, interests, behaviours and much more. Facebook gives you the ability to easily track your users and provides you with an immediate influx of traffic.

As a result, Facebook marketing will give you the opportunity to capture your audience’s attention before they begin searching for other business like yours and potentially increase sales.

 

So what does this mean for restaurants today?

People are far more selective when it comes to eating out and are more inclined to share their dining experience on social media and blogs. Today, a majority of our decisions are influenced by research and information found online or recommendations by family and friends who post about their experiences through social media.

Users tend to use online reviews such as Google or Facebook when making their decision about where to eat. According to Modern Restaurant Management, around 80% of people will check the rating of a restaurant online before stepping inside. This can include checking websites or looking at reviews on different social media platforms. In addition, these 80% of people are more likely to take action the same day as their search.

At Launchpad App Development, we create innovative apps that will benefit your business and give you the competitive edge. We work with you throughout the app making process to enhance your app idea. We have worked with entrepreneurs and businesses from various industries around Australia to create the app of their dreams.

Have an app idea? Contact us today!

 

 

6 Step Guide to Designing Your Very First Mobile App

Did you wake up with a creative idea for the perfect mobile app? One that nobody else has thought of, and that you are certain will be the next Uber or Airbnb?

The only problem is, you are unsure on how to even begin designing and building an app! Never fear! We at Launchpad App Development have developed a brief guide on the 6 key steps that will bring your mobile app from idea to smartphone screens everywhere.

1. Define your goal.

It all starts with an idea. Having a “Great Idea” is the starting point to every successful project. Having a vision of what you want to accomplish at the start is an important benchmark that will confirm whether the development process is heading in the right direction.

 

Before you go straight into it, you must clearly define your app concept. This includes outlining:

  • Your app’s mission and purpose: what is the app going to do
  • Its core appeal
  • The problem is it going to solve, or what part of life is it going to improve

 

Defining a clear goal for the app is also going to help explain your idea to a developer and help move the development process along a lot faster.

2. Research your idea.

While you may believe you have a revolutionary idea, you may get your hopes up a little too quickly.

 

The main purpose of research:

  • Find out if there are other apps that do the same thing on the app stores.
  • Look for design inspiration for your app.
  • Determine the technical requirements for your app.
  • How you can market and monetise your app?
  • Decide whether you want to develop your app on iOS, Android or both.

 

Nonetheless you should not get discouraged by those who play in the same arena. It is essential that you focus on your own app project and your user acquisition. Learn from the core features and mistakes of competing apps, and drop all other assumptions about them.

3. Getting your app out there.

Think about developing a strategy on how you will get your app out onto the market. This shouldn’t be an exact map to take, but you should consider your possible pathways when getting your app noticed by your target market.

To do this, you must determine your niche. Research into how you can reach out to your target user and how you should reach them to make them see the value and use of the app.

Another important consideration is figuring out how your app is going to generate revenue. Will you charge your users to download it? Or will you offer the app for free but with ads? This monetisation model requires a large user base, so consider that as well.

There are various ways to monetise an app and it is up to you to decide on the channel you want to use.

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4. Sketching your app idea onto paper.

By developing sketches you are laying the foundation for your future user interface. In this step you visually conceptualise the main features and the approximate layout of your app.

Having the first rough sketch of your app helps everyone on your team understand the mission. Use these sketches as a point of reference for the next phase of the project.

 

When sketching your app, keep in mind these 4 questions:

  • What will my Visual Brand Name and Design look like?
  • How will each screen look?
  • What are the size and shapes of various elements?
  • What are the actions users can take from each screen?

 

5. Creating a basic Wireframe and Storyboard for your App.

Wireframing is the process of creating a prototype or mockup of your app. There are a number of prototyping tools online. The most common are, Adobe Experience Design, Lucidchart and InVision.

These programs allow you to not only drag and drop all your representative graphics and placeholders into place, but also add button functionality so that you can click through your app in review mode. However, if you don’t want to pay for a subscription to these programs, you can always hand sketch your wireframes onto paper.

While you are working on your wireframes you should also build a storyboard for your app. The idea is to build a roadmap that will help you understand the flow between each screen and how the user can navigate through your app.

Wireframing

6. Find your self an App Developer you can trust!

When looking for an app development company, you’re really looking for a partner. To make sure you find the right partner for your app, we suggest asking every company a series of exploratory questions:

  • How do they learn to develop new innovations in mobile technology?
  • How do they collect and leverage the data from their previous apps and experiences? What have they learned from working with previous clients?
  • Do they offer the ability to collaborate (pairing their team with yours to develop, design, and test)?
  • Do they follow agile development methodologies (quick iterations, test driven development, constant communication)?

When it comes to agile development, our process at Launchpad is built to encourage innovative planning, adaptive development, rapid delivery, and constant improvement.

From budding entrepreneurs to emerging business, this framework allows us to approach every app with the right mix of technical constraint and creative expression to develop market-leading mobile apps.

So what are you waiting for? To find out how you can launch your very own mobile app, take the first step towards transforming your innovative idea into a successful app!

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

I Stream, You Stream, We All Stream for Live Mobile Streaming

If a picture’s worth a thousand words then a live video is worth a lot more than that! As the latest trend in mobile marketing, live video streaming is a great way to share engaging content online. In this post, you’ll discover what live mobile streaming is all about and how you can benefit from interacting with your audience in real time.

We’re live in 3… 2… 1…

A funny thing happened at Launchpad recently. On June 14, our Managing Director Dane had purchased tickets to Flume’s concert in December. This was after two weeks of the office unanimously loving Flume’s new album, so it was kind of a big deal!

However, when deciding whether to get a ticket or not, the following scenario came to mind…

It’s December 14 and you’ve got your ticket to see one of the biggest electronic producers going around. You’ve had Flume’s songs on repeat across all your music streaming apps and are just a day away from belting out ‘Never be like youuuu!’

But then you sneeze. And sneeze. And sneeze again.

By the next morning, you have an almighty flu that makes it hard enough to get out of bed, let alone go to the concert that night.

And while this situation has never happened to me personally, it’s the type of scenario that I used to dread before a concert.

In the past, you’d have to politely watch with envy as a friend shares poorly recorded footage of a concert you missed. But this is no longer the case thanks to the latest trend in mobile: live video streaming.

With just a tap on your screen, the whole concert can be streamed on your smartphone in real time. I recently experienced Coachella Music Festival on a 360 Live Stream, including a fantastic performance by Flume! But don’t take my word for it; see for yourself when Flume’s set is streamed live from Lollapalooza Festival this July.

Mobile video previously had the curiosity of consumers by shifting their eyes away from the TV to the smartphone. But with live streaming now being introduced across online social networks, mobile video has grabbed our attention. As the ease with which users can stream takes down the barriers of adoption, let’s examine how the rapid growth of live video benefits mobile consumers and presents new marketing opportunities for businesses.

 

The streaming revolution

What was once used predominately for streaming game footage and special events, brands are now adopting live streaming to reach their stakeholders in more innovative ways.

With more and more companies using live streaming, it is predicted that this tool will become big this year and even bigger in the future.

In fact live streaming has been widely used by lots of businesses for marketing purposes and also for other interactions such as panels, tours and training purposes.

A study by Brandline found that business executives perceived live streaming to be beneficial in engagement. As a result, businesses are now prepared to invest more money into this marketing channel.

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The benefits that companies perceive from live streaming. Source: AdWeek

 

As live streaming catches on with others, I believe that other social media platforms will want to tap (pun intended) into the market and use their own live streaming features. Potential apps that could potentially adopt live streaming include Snapchat, Instagram and Tinder (Streaming live dates anyone?).

 

What’s out there?

There are thousands of different live media streaming sites and apps online.

We’ll be taking a look at four mobile apps that offer live streaming functionality.

While some of the apps mentioned here are only available on certain devices and/or have not been released to the public yet, you can expect to be seeing them sooner rather than later.

Let’s meet them shall we?

 

1. YouTube Live

Back in 2011, YouTube first released live streaming but only to four of its partners. Currently the feature is only available on desktop and laptop but will come to mobile in the near future.

Note that before you start live streaming, you’ll need to download an encoder.

A live chat is available so you’ll be able to see the reactions and interactions of viewers. You’ll also be able to share your stream link on social media to notify followers and friends of the stream.

After the live stream ends, a copy of the stream is saved on the streamer’s channel.

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YouTube has finally debuted live streaming. Source: YouTube Creator

 

2. Facebook Live

With Facebook Live, you can stream within Facebook from your Android and iOS smartphone without the needing to download a standalone app.

All you need to do is log into your Facebook account by tapping ‘Go Live’ in your status update.

You can monitor engagement through real time comments, likes, loves and emoticons in the comments section on your live stream.

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Facebook Live allows users to broadcast video through the company’s flagship mobile app. Source: The Verge

 

3. Periscope

Acquired in 2015 by the social media platform Twitter, Periscope is an iOS and Android app that allows users to create broadcasts.

Compared to the other streamers, you can’t schedule dates for future live streams. Another difference, which is currently only available for iPhone users, is that Periscope gives statistics on broadcast performance. This is highly beneficial for businesses to understand what works, what doesn’t and how to improve.

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Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Source: TechSpot

4. Meerkat

Released in 2015, our last streamer is a direct rival of Periscope that allows the user to stream live on the spot or schedule live streams. You can connect your Twitter and Facebook account to Meerkat, which alerts friends and followers when live streams start.

One of its unique features is Cameo where it allows the streamer to choose a follower to take over the live stream for up to a minute. This also alerts the follower’s friends of the live stream.

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Meerkat allows streamers to choose a follower to take over a live video. Source: Digital Trends

 

So now that we’ve introduced the four main social media mobile streaming apps, you might be wondering….

 

Why should I use live mobile streaming?

There are many ways live video streaming can benefit your promotional activities regardless of industry.

Check out the awesome infographic from Hyperfine Media that shows the advantages of video marketing.

app developer

 

1. Live streaming speaks louder than posts

Video streaming is more engaging than viewing an image, post or tweet. This means followers will stay and watch your content longer instead of scrolling past, potentially increasing brand awareness.

Bold Content Video found that live-streamed videos on Facebook are watched 3x longer than recorded videos. Furthermore, live streaming provides flexibility that enables brands to be creative with their streams and show audiences who they are.

 

2. Increased interaction

You will be able to respond and engage instantly as viewers interact with you and others via the live chat box when live streaming. You’ll be able to spark debate or even get feedback from viewers, making it a more intuitive experience.

This is also great for customer support. With live streaming; you won’t need to wait 30 hours on the phone or 30 years to get a response to your query.

You can provide exceptional customer support by responding quickly to questions about your business, providing a more personal interaction.

 

3. Affordable and easy

Live streaming is free for everyone. All it requires is a social media account or a streaming app, such as Periscope, which is free. It’s so easy to operate and you won’t need to know that entire videography lingo.

You also won’t need high tech video producing equipment unless you want to produce high-definition quality streams. All you need to start a live stream is a smartphone and you’re good to go!

 

4. Larger reach

Posting a Tweet or Facebook post limits your audience to followers and viewers who click on your page. With live streaming you have the ability to broadcast to the entire world or across an entire social media platform. This could increase awareness and potentially lead to more customer prospects.

 

How can I use live mobile video streaming?

There are many ways you can use live mobile video streaming. You could stream events like webinars, new product releases, press conferences, fundraisers or meetings for your business. Viewers can watch those streams anywhere in the world without actually being present.

This is a great way to keep viewers up to date with business activity, major events and also allows you to provide an educational experience. A recent example is Microsoft’s launch of Halo 5 with a live stream on YouTube showcasing the gameplay

This helped increase sales in the billions and made it the top selling game on Xbox One.

 

Product or service tutorials

Besides teaching users on how to use product/services, live streaming tutorials are a great way to highlight your products/services.

Going in detail though the features and benefits could attract awareness among prospect customers. An element of your product or service could be the answer to their needs!

 

Q&As

This is a great way to interact and engage with the audience by answering questions from viewers. It’s also a great way to inform viewers of future products, direction of the company and address issues in the media.

For example, Domino’s Pizza recently held a live Q&A stream on Facebook, where viewers could ask the CEO questions.

 

Behind the scenes access

You could live stream a typical day at the office or your work environment to highlight your culture and brand personality to your viewers.

This would be ideal if you’ve got a unique office environment, like those organisations that boast an in house laser tag arena, make-your-own sundae buffet and slides.

Besides turning the whole world green, it can be used as an HR tool and potentially promote and attract talent to your work place.

Have an event coming up? Give viewers a VIP pass back stage pass to live streaming events, conferences, latest movies and concerts. Not only will it be memorable but could also showcase your partners and sponsors and increase views.

A recent example of this was the behind-the-scenes Facebook Live stream from the Oscars.

 

Tips for mobile live video streaming

Before you start pulling out your smartphone, here are some tips for you to create an awesome live stream:

 

1. Plan and prepare

As the saying goes: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So before your live stream, Make sure you plan aspects like location, Internet connection, equipment, running sheets, notifying followers of your live stream and contingency plans.

Unless you’re doing a live stream that’s spontaneous or doesn’t require a lot of preparation, plan ahead.

 

2. Make the live stream content relevant to your target market

Find out what content captivates your target market and use that as a basis for your live streams.

E.g. Redbull’s known for extreme sporting events and daredevil feats. In 2012, they live streamed a freefall from the edge of space by that racked up millions of views.

 

3. Trial each app

Like a shirt, one size may fit or may not fit all. You’ll need to experiment with the mobile streaming apps and choose those that works for you.

Most live streaming platforms have analytics tools, which is great for getting feedback on your streams. This is useful to determine the platform’s suitability for you.

In addition, Cision has created a mini guide, which is helpful when decide which streaming platform you’ll be using.

 

4. Have a stable Internet connection

This is important performance wise especially if you’re broadcasting at an event. Having a stable connection ensures that there aren’t any disruptions or lag during the stream. The audience won’t want to miss any minute of the action, so if your stream cuts out they might lose interest.

Also note that streaming uses up a lot of data, so make sure you have enough data and be aware of the roaming costs when you’re overseas.

 

And… Cut!

So what are your thoughts on mobile live streaming? Think it’s just a fad?

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

For more insightful posts, check out our most recent blogs.

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The 6 Best Productivity Apps for Entrepreneurs

The old saying “slow and steady wins the race” is exactly that – old! The new version of the saying should be “fast and ready wins the race”.

In business, time is money. You can’t create more time in a day but by increasing your productivity on tasks, you can save a lot of time and money. Therefore, increasing your productivity makes money!

To help you do just that, here’s our list of the best money saving, productivity apps available.

Related: The Top 6 Traits of a Game-Changing Entrepreneur

Evernote

First up is Evernote. This is one of the most popular productivity and business apps.

Evernote is a note taking and organisation application that saves information via cloud. It is widely assessable and currently available on most platforms including iOS, Android, Mac and Windows.

Evernote’s beauty lies not on the surface, but really emerges when the application is used to its full potential. A lot of apps allow you to take and organise notes, copy information from websites, make to-do lists, read online content or send emails, but Evernote allows you to do all this and more!

Melbourne App Development

Evernote’s iPhone App. Source: iTunes

With its inbuilt search features and tags, Evernote makes it effortless to sort through 1000s of notes and acquire information or jog your memory on experiences or information you wrote years ago.

Evernote has a seemingly endless amount of features, so its purpose is really only limited by the user and their needs.

 

Free WiFi Finder

With business these days becoming more and more mobile there is a clear desire to be connected with your employees and customers round the clock. Working out at lunch or pitching a new proposal to clients or investors at a restaurant will almost certainly bring up the need to be connected to the internet.

As satellite internets can be a costly and annoying expense, the idea that an application can find all the free WiFi locations around me is pretty exciting. Most will probably require you to purchase a small product, coffee or cake etc but that is a small price to pay for the luxury of mobility at the tip of your fingers.

Free WiFi Finder is available in over 50 countries which makes travelling abroad no problem and with the information accessible offline, you won’t need to be connected to the net which is definitely a smart feature.

 

Dropbox

Dropbox is the king of cloud storage applications. Dropbox’s elegance lies in its simplicity – dragging folders from your desktop into your dropbox file allows you to transfer your files easily across many devices, and also to your family or friends with its easy-to-use sharing functions.

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Dropbox helps backups your important files with storage via a  cloud. Storage space ranges from 2GB on a free basic account to 1TB with a pro account. Furthermore, it has an option to increase the security of your files. Whether you’re using it for work or saving personal files, Dropbox will make sure they are secure. With its stunning User Interface and functionality, it’s hard to overlook Dropbox as one of the best cloud storage applications out there!

 

Pocket

Have you ever stumbled across a great article that you just don’t have the time to read? I for one have fallen victim to this many times.

If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of time throughout the day, to sit there and read these articles and find yourself staying up at night trying to remember where you saw the articles, then Pocket is the mobile app for you!

App Development Australia

Pocket’s Android App. Source: Google Play

Pocket, originally called Read It Later, started off as an application to save articles. Overtime  it has grown to accommodate to videos and images. The app lets you bookmark and has extensions along with compatibility to a lot of other apps. It also has built-in saving functions you’d find in other apps such as Flipboard and Pulse.

Pocket also improves the reading experience by displaying content without the usual chaos of ads, sidebars, buttons and more. Pocket’s new User Experience design, along with its clear, uncluttered reading spaces, makes it my choice for read-it-later apps.

 

Streaks

This app essentially is a motivating tool to help create good habits. I love how Streaks rewards you for continuously completing the same task, which helps forms good habits. It has an beautiful UI and is incredibly simple to use.

Streaks limits you to tracking six tasks at any one time. This ranges from tasks like remembering to brush your teeth to tasks that you can create and personalise. Knowing that not all tasks need to be done everyday, you can roster ‘days off’. Here, you don’t have to complete the task and it won’t break your streak.

Uber

The last few years we have seen the emergence of one particularly disruptive app that has completely revitalised the transportation industry. Welcome to the era of Uber.

Uber has seen enormous growth since its start off in 2009 with an estimated value of $85 Billion in 2016. Why so much growth you might ask? The necessity of being mobile these days is imperative and with a lower-cost alternative service that Uber provides, why go anywhere else?

As previously noted, Uber’s worldwide growth has allowed ride costs and waiting times to steadily decline. Furthermore, the rating system ensures that driver quality is relatively consistent, leading to an improved service quality in comparison to traditional forms of transportation. Ultimately, Uber is an essential app for the on-the-go entrepreneur.

Using these apps, will help you be more organised with daily tasks. As result, you’ll get the competitive advantage you’re striving for. Whether you use all of these great tools or even a completely different set of apps to improve productivity, we’d love to hear about them!

Leave us a comment below on any productivity apps that we may have missed.

7 Onboarding Hacks to turn App Downloads into Active Users

App onboarding increases the likelihood of new users becoming loyal customers of your app. Why should you apply onboarding strategies for your mobile app? Simply put, if users don’t understand your app right away, there’s a good chance they’ll never open your app again. 

The onboarding process is designing the first impression a user has of your app. Doing it correctly increases the chance of successful user adoption. The onboarding procedure highlights the key benefits and features to reinforce your app’s value. An app’s retention rate increases by 50% with a strong on boarding process making this practice is essential to app success.

Onboarding allows your app to build strong relationships with engaged users. When done poorly or ignored entirely, you risk users not understanding your app through a negative experience that leads them to potentially abandon your app altogether.

So what exactly are the key aspects to a great onboarding experience? Read on to find out the 7 best app onboarding strategies that are guaranteed to keep your users satisfied, informed and coming back for more.

 

1. Highlight Your Value Proposition

A lot of startups and businesses make the mistake of trying to tell users everything they can about their app, rather than showing how their app offering can improve the user’s life.

People don’t care about features – they care about what they can do with those features. That’s why you should always lead with the value proposition of your app. As previously mentioned, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains the benefit your app provides for whom and how your app does this uniquely well.

Now I’m not saying that impressive functionality and innovative features aren’t important, but in the long term, showing your users what they can do with those features is what wins them over. Jason Fried, Founder and CEO of Basecamp, said it best:

Melbourne App Developers

 

2. Emphasize Core Features

While your app’s value proposition should always come first for onboarding, your target audience still need to understand the main functions of your app. Showcasing the key features of your app to users will help them follow through with desired actions by utilising highlighted key buttons and callouts.

Remember, don’t go throwing in the kitchen sink when onboarding. Instead, just stick to the core features that demonstrate the value your app provides. Those less-essential-but-really-cool features can always be showcased later with your second, third or fourth app promotion. These additional features can easily be introduced by apps using in-app messages.

App Development Australia

One Minute Closer focuses on the key features that users care about in onboarding.

 

3. Only Ask Users For What You Need

Many apps require messaging permissions or data access in order to provide the most valuable experience. By using permission requests, you can ask users to allow your app to access this data.

When particular data is critical for key app functions, be sure to prompt the user to provide data access. This does not mean you should bombard users with permission requests during the app onboarding process. Research shows that 60% of users have chosen not to install an app after finding out how much personal information the app requested.

The best way to avoid losing potential users is to only use essential permission requests initially. Clearly state why you are asking for access to only these areas of their smartphone and how that information is vital to them getting value from your app. Save ‘nice to have’ permissions for when the potential user is an engaged app consumer.

 

4. Make It Easy to Sign Up

The sign up process is a can often become a barrier to app adoption, so you need to make sure the signing up to your app is simple, fast and easy.

If possible, you should always give users the option to log in to your app with an existing social media account, such as Facebook or Twitter. Not only do social network options allow users to access your app in one or two clicks, but it also helps them to build trust with your app offering.

iPhone App Development

Apps that let users log in with Facebook, Google Plus or email. Source: Kiip

 

To optimise your app user onboarding process, test a variety of login options – do more users prefer to sign up with their email address or via social? Do users prefer to sign up with Facebook or Twitter? Could you get rid of a sign up route all together?

 

It is also important to experiment with timing. Some apps require users to sign in as soon as the app is launched, even before onboarding begins, while others have more success prompting users to sign up after the onboarding process.

 

5. Keep It Quick & Don’t Overwhelm Users

Stick to the basics when prioritising your app’s on boarding experience.  You don’t want to force users to swipe through countless screens before they even try your app!

Get your point access with app screenshots and illustrations rather than written explanations. As a general rule of thumb, stick to one feature explanation per screen to ensure that users don’t become overwhelmed. It is recommended to include progress indicators as part of your onboarding process.

 Wearable App Development

Progress indicators show how many onboarding screens users need to read through. Source: Life Pulse

 

Progress indicators are often presented as parallax images or small circle that provide the user with a sense of build-up and movement. These indicators help users understand if they are near the start, middle or end of your app’s introduction.

 

6. Avoid the Obvious

An efficient app onboarding experience gets to the point. Therefore, you need to trim off any redundant fat to keep the onboarding process as streamlined and quick as possible.

Stating the obvious is a waste of time. App users understand that a camera icon will launch their device’s camera function, while most users will know the type of icons associated with liking and sharing functions, just as long as they’re not too different from the norm.

If you’re not deviating too far from standard design principles, explaining an app’s navigational framework is largely unnecessary.

 

7. End With a Call-To-Action

To guide users towards the next step to take at the end of your app’s onboarding experience, consider integrating a direct call-to-action (CTA). Prompting users to get immediately involved with your app helps them get excited about the app and grow towards being engaged users.

Mobile Music Streaming Service Spotify implements an effective CTA technique. One look at Spotify’s homepage makes it pretty clear that their goal is to get users to subscribe for a paid premium account, while the CTA for the free sign up option is very much secondary.

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Spotify’s homepage features an effective call-to-action. Source: HubSpot

 

Not only does the headline give this away, but so too does the colouring of the CTA buttons. The ‘Go Premium’ CTA is coloured lime green so it pops off the page. In comparison, the ‘Play Free’ CTA is plain white to blend in with the rest of the page. This contrast is done to draw potential Spotify users to the premium CTA.

 

So the App Onboarding Process Is Over – What’s Next?

In most cases, users want be able to know ‘everything’ about your app within the onboarding process.

Therefore, it’s important to make resources available to users that allow them to continue learning about your app’s functionality after onboarding. Your most loyal and engaged users will seek out these informative materials, so make sure you have them ready!

What is the onboarding process for your app? How could the onboarding experience your app provides be improved? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

The Blueprint to Designing Your App Icon

As the visual anchor for your app, you need to nail the icon design at the beginning. In this post, we discuss the best practices to creating a memorable and unique icon that entices app store browsers to download your app.

Uber may only be 6 years old, but that didn’t stop the $85 billion company from recently rolling out a redesign for its entire brand. In doing so, Uber completely changed its highly recognisable monochrome U-shaped icon into something that looks like:

a) A backwards ‘C’

b) An evil Pac-Man

c) It’s forever updating

d) All of the above

So what was Uber’s rationale for the new icon design?

The square is meant to represent the bit — a nod to Uber’s technology. The colours and patterns being introduced to the branding represent the atom — the people and things that Uber transports and the places where it operates.” 

Travis Kalanik, CEO of Uber

That sounds kind of cool and interesting, but Uber’s previous icon had imprinted itself in the minds of budget-conscious travellers everywhere. So why would the transport unicorn completely drop its familiar ‘U’ for a non-distinct shape?

Armin Vit opines for Brand New: “Let’s assume that it’s a matter of being used to poking an app icon for the last six years and that we just need to get used to poking at this new one. Even then, it seems like this is an icon for something else altogether.”

Uber App Icon

Uber’s new icon eating it’s way through the transportation industry.

An app icon is the one, singular piece of graphic design that users will interact with first each time they see your product. A great app icon becomes synonymous with what the app enables users to do and how it makes them feel.

So you’ve validated your app concept and now need to design an identifiable and unique app icon. But what exactly makes a great app icon?

We’ve put together an essential guide to designing an app icon that screams ‘Install ME!’… Without the unnecessary redesign 6 years later.

Scalability – Big or Small, the Icon Needs to Look Good

Your icon is going to be shown on a variety of screens, and in a variety of sizes, so it’s important your creation maintains legibility. It needs to look good on the App Store, on Retina devices and even as a favicon for the app’s promotional website.

One Minute Closer App Icon

An app icon needs to work at multiple resolutions retaining the legibility of the concept across the range of sizes. Source: One Minute Closer

When designing your app icon, consider the following scaling tips from App Icon Template:

  • Design and test the icon in multiple contexts and sizes.
  • Think simple and focus on a single shape or element.
  • Your icon should retain its recognisability when scaled.

As for software applications that let you design with this scalability, we recommend the use of Adobe Photoshop. If this is your first attempt at creating an icon, working with a free Photoshop template from AppIconTemplate.com is probably the best approach.

Simplicity – Clearly Convey What Your App Does

You have a confined 57×57 pixel space for your app icon. This is the first thing that browsers see when searching on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Do these potential users a favour by having your icon clearly convey what your app does.

You can’t always rely on users tapping your app to view it’s optimised screenshots on the preview page. Your icon should stand on it’s own.

App Analytics company App Annie provide the following rules of thumb to keeping your icon simple:

  • The most effective icons have a simple design and clear message.
  • Make sure the icon represents the core brand values of your app. This could be the app’s primary function, such as Gmail’s use of a letter or a gaming app using the main character.
  • The colours used in the icon should pop while still reflecting the in-app colour scheme.

Applying these rules of thumb will greatly assist in highlighting your app’s unique selling point.

Uniqueness – Stand Out in the Crowd

Let’s consider a user who downloads your app, closes their iPhone and then opens their menu screen later on. On a smartphone that’s already filled with apps, what is it about yours that is going to grab the user’s attention and stand out from the crowd? It’s an app icon that’s instantly recognisable and unique.

App Store Productivity Apps

It seems that uniqueness doesn’t enter the design process for Productivity apps. Source: idApostle

When attempting to create a unique icon, focus on a shape or object that stands out. Consider Snapchat’s ghost. The icon both sticks out and highlights the app’s unique selling point of ‘poof-it’s gone’ snaps.

Also consider choosing colours that contrast and pop, as this is often an overlooked way of positioning an app. Spotify does this well by pairing green with a starkly contrasting black. When a user browses the App Store for a music streaming service, these colour choices are what help Spotify stand out from competing apps.

Avoid Text – The App’s Name Often Accompanies the Icon

Words and images are separate representational tools. Combining them in what is supposed to be a visual representation often leads to a cluttered and unfocused experience that is difficult to decode. As such, you should avoid using copy or text in your app icon.

‘But this blog started with a Kanye-like rant about how Uber’s rebranding from a ‘U’ text icon to an unrecognisable shape was a mistake’, I hear you say.

Well first of all, I think we can all agree that this blog’s introduction made more sense than any rambling tweet from Kanye West.

Secondly, if you’re using a singe letter and validate it as a suitable fit, then the letter avoids being ‘wordy’ and becomes iconic by itself. However, this is more often the exception than the rule.

Your app’s name will be written next to the icon on the app stores and smartphone menu screens. Therefore, using text – especially if it’s your app’s name – is redundant.

Before designing your app icon…

An app’s icon is highly influential for standing out on the app store and engaging potential users with your product. Make sure that it’s scalable, simple, unique and visually conveys the app’s core value.

Along with the product strategy you plan to implement, nailing the icon design will put you on the right path towards a successful launch into the market.

Do you have any tools and tips for designing an app icon? We’d love to hear about them.

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.

4 Key Ingredients to a Successful App Startup

What makes an app startup successful? We outline the four components of successful mobile apps so you can strive for App Store success.

Success comes to those who persevere. It also comes by design and not by chance. Understanding this subtle, yet pivotal difference can set the direction of your efforts on the right path.

If you want to transform your innovative app idea into a sustainable business, there’s no secret method or ‘growth hacking’ technique that guarantees App Store success.

As an app entrepreneur, a well-crafted app development process that addresses market strategy, user experience and product execution provides the building blocks for a successful mobile app.

These are the four key ingredients that constitute those building blocks. An understanding of each component increases the likelihood that your app startup will attract a loyal user base and generate ongoing revenue.

 

Value

The building blocks of a marketing-leading app development process are laid down by identifying the value provided to its intended users. Every successful mobile app offers a solution to a problem that customers are willing to pay for.

Some of the most successful startups were established from problems that the founding entrepreneurs experienced themselves and then solved with an ideal product/market fit.

It’s not just about solving a problem, though. It is about whether iPhone and Android Phone users would be willing purchase your solution or shift from an existing app because you solved an intrinsic problem that no other app could.

Identify the core value the your app intends to provide to its target audience and validate whether there is a need to use the app a second, third and fourth time on a consistent basis.

 

Design

A key element in the success of any mobile app is a user-centric approach to design. The app’s design, experience and usability  should resonate with the target market.

As the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Design can be broken down into two main aspects where one leads the other. The first is the functionality and form of the app. Once you’ve selected the first set of features that will comprise the app product, it’s essential that the flow from one screen to another, or from one feature to another, is as simple as possible for the user.

To make the navigation process more intuitive, you should aim to minimise the learning curve for the users. This part of design, commonly referred to as User Experience or UX, is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability and accessibility provided by the interaction between the user and the product.

This is followed by the graphic design or User Interface Design (UI), which is the process of understanding of who the customer is – factors such as age, gender and geographical location play an important part in how the app will look.

Furthermore, the colour scheme of an app design is scientifically proven to drive certain emotions in people. This is why you see specific colours used in certain brand logos and product design.

 

Branding & Marketing Colour

Colour Psychology in Marketing and Brand Identity. Source: Visme

When you have an understanding of your target market, design an interface and experience that incites an emotion that you would like your user to feel.

 

Distribution

Distribution can literally determine whether your mobile app is successful or not. Getting your app into the hands of both iPhone and Android users is potentially the biggest hurdle.

There are multiple marketing channels available to spread the word about your app, including Facebook Advertising and Blog Writing. In my experience as a Product Manager across an array of app development projects, you need to start the distribution process by exploiting every market channel at the early stages of promoting your app offering. This is the only way you will discover which channels produce the best results.

Mobile App Marketing

Flipkart distribute their app to Android users that Google a product that is available on Flipkart. Source: Business 2 Community

For our apps, we research and develop a marketing strategy document with a comprehensive execution plan across all channels. We then study the results of our marketing efforts across all the channels over a quarter to half-yearly period. This provides a comprehensive insight into the most effective channel that delivers best user conversion rate and ongoing revenue stream.

Along with a marketing strategy, you should create a compelling story about your app that shows its value proposition clearly. Consider Instagram’s value proposition: “Capture and share the world’s moments.” When it comes to emotionally connecting with potential app users, it doesn’t get more clear and simple than that.

 

Scalability

Scalability is all about how adaptive and flexible you are to your users’ feedback. It’s also about your commitment you are to continuous product iterations, improving the app’s features and enhancing the overall experience it provides over a period of time.

A good way to approach this is to identify a narrow market segment to begin with. This could be within your own social circle or an extended network of people that are potential app users – randomly selecting a user base doesn’t help. Another efficient form of market segmentation is reaching out to customers within your city – similar to how Uber started.

This helps you to understand the behavioural traits of app users in a close and personal manner, while also highlighting the mistakes that need to be rectified more quickly. The faster you learn from your users, the easier it gets to deliver them a better solution.

The moment you are able to satisfy the app needs of this smaller market segment, all you have to do is scale your efforts to distribute your app offering to similar users with the confidence that your app provides an ideal product/market fit. And remember, a loyal advocate of your app startup is worth a million!

Looking to launch your app idea towards startup stardom? Contact us to find out what we can do for you.