Posts

5 Coolest Tech from Mobile World Congress 2017

The Mobile World Congress (MWC), one of the biggest events in the Mobile Industry, was recently in Barcelona. The event draws together the big names of the Mobile Industry, ranging from smartphone manufacturers, iOT (internet of things) industry leaders and professionals from around the world.  With the variety of gadgets and technology, here are the 5 that stood out.

 

Related: 4 Mobile App Trends for 2017

1. 5G Network

5G is the latest generation of mobile networks that will increase the speed of your phone usage. At the moment, 5G is still in development and there are no official 5G networks as of yet. However 5G capable products are being tested by companies to prepare for its arrival.

 

The main benefit of the new network is increased speeds, which means you can download apps, surf the web and programs faster than ever, compared to 4G, which  is great for entrepreneurs and consumers when travelling.

 

As a result, this will benefit and build the foundation for Internet of Things (IOT) devices, such as smart fridges and smart cars. The current release period is around the year 2020.

 

2. Smart shoes

Smart watches won’t be the only wearables, with the introduction of smart shoes. Different tech companies are creating shoes that integrate with your smartphone to improve your daily routines.

A startup backed by Samsung called IOFit, created a line of golf shoes with technology that can help improve your golfing skills.

 

It measures your balance, weight and golf swing, which is then transferred to the IOFit app on your smartphone. While the golf shoes are available to pre-order, IOFit will also be launching a range of general fitness smart shoes.

Additionally, an Indian startup, Ducere Technologies showcased shoes with Smart Sole technology that links with Google Maps on the user’s smartphone. 

The shoes vibrate to indicate which direction that users need to take to reach their destination.

 

3. Driverless cars

In the future, you’ll be able to watch Netflix while your car drives and race cars will be able to drive themselves. Peugeot and Roborace showcased their driverless cars at the Mobile World Congress.

The Peugeot instinct has a futuristic look on the outside and inside. Drivers can choose between taking control of the wheel or putting it in self-driving mode, where the car drives itself.

The car connects to the internet and works with Samsung’s cloud technology, which will communicate with other devices. For example, it can communicate with your smart fridge and notify low stocked groceries.

Roborace is the latest racing vehicle in the Formula E Grand Prix. It has no cockpit and able to reach speeds of over 320 KM per hour. It has a aerodynamic body design with a Tron-inspired look. The car has inbuilt technology with sensors, radars and cameras to help it avoid collisions. Roborace are looking towards launching the cars before the 2017 Formula E season finishes.

4. AI Assistants

Currently, we have Siri on iPhone, Amazon’s Alexa and Window’s Cortana. But in the future, AI Assistants will be the norm on mobile devices and other Internet of Things technology. By 2019, Gartner predicts that 20% of mobile devices will be using virtual AI assistants.

Other smartphones and devices will follow by either joining an existing AI assistant or creating their own. For example, Samsung announced that it will be releasing its own AI for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 phones. Additionally, Sony will release their Sony Agent in the upcoming Xperia earphones.  

 

5. Holocube

The Holocube is a holographic toy created by Merge VR to create a new educational experience. Essentially, the cube brings objects and games  life right in the user’s hands using Augmented Reality (AR).

It works through the user’s smartphone, using Merge’s app. The user holds the block that projects the holograms. These holograms are seen by the user through a Virtual Reality headset.

Demos showed some of the apps and games featured on the Holocube, such as games where users created their own virtual city  and educational app showing the human brain’s functions.

The Holocube not only benefits users but also app developers. The cube will give app developers the opportunity to create apps and be innovative using Merge VR’s development toolkit.

 

 

Have you been keeping up with the MWC? Which products caught your attention?

Let us know on social media or in the comments below!

5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Unique App Idea

Unless you’ve seen The Social Network – you might not know how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook. According to the movie, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss created the idea with their own social network, Harvard Connection.

When Harvard student and programmer Victor Gao resigned he referred them to Mark Zuckerberg. The twins hired Mark and gave him access to Harvard Connection’s network passwords, files and servers. This led to Mark starting work on his own social networking site, thefacebook.

Years later, the legal battle between Winklevosses and Zuckerberg ended in a settlement worth $65 million dollars. To avoid this scenario happening to you, we’re going to outline the 5 best ways to safeguard your app idea.

1. Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

A Non-Disclosure Agreement helps protects your ideas being shared by others outside of the agreement. This document is important when you’re dealing with anything tech related that requires development. An NDA should be readily available by a developer if requested. It is important to remember that the NDA only comes into effect after each party in the agreement signs the contract. Anything discussed before the NDA gets signed may not be covered in the agreement.

 

 

Have a confidential discussion about your app idea with us! 

 

2. Don’t say too much

Another way to keep your app idea safe is to avoid sharing too much information about your app to others. Magicians don’t reveal their secrets, so you should not reveal too much regardless of how excited you are. Also, be selective of those you choose to tell your app idea. When speaking to friends, colleagues or app developers at the initial call, just give a brief overview or a sales pitch of your app idea. However, investors might want more in-depth information on your idea. They don’t normally sign NDAs, so you can do is add a confidentiality disclaimer in important documents.

 

3. Trademark your app’s identity

Trademarks prevent others from using your app’s identity. This prevents consumers from downloading counterfeit apps. protects your brand. Anything that distinguishes yourself from others, such as logos, screenshotsand phrases, can be trademarked. Protecting your identity can help build brand and icon recognition, especially if your app becomes successfulSnapchat can be easily recognised  by its ghost icon and Evernote with its elephant head icon. Before applying, check if existing trademarks have been registered at IP Australia.

 

4. Retain documentation

It is important to keep all documents related to your app and from third parties safe. Documents you should keep safe include: agreements, contracts, business plans, trademarks and meeting minutes. These documents can be used as evidence and help you when any disputes arise or any legal situations happen during the app development process. To avoid overflowing your cabinets and drawers with documents, you can scan them to your computer and upload them to a cloud.

 

 

5. Hire a reputable app development company

Once you’re at the app development stage, it is crucial to find a trustworthy app developer. Your app idea will be kept safe and also developed efficiently. During the hunt for the right app developer, make sure to check out information such as their experience, portfolio, and client reviews. Additionally, a good app development agency will be genuinely interested in your idea, not just developing it. They’ll guide you throughout the development process, giving you advice and ideas based on their experience to make sure it succeeds in the market.

 

 

By following this guide you’ll be at peace and won’t need to worry about getting your app stolen.

For further legal advice on trademarks or NDAs, it is recommended that you visit a lawyer or legal firm with knowledge in this area.

If you have an app idea, contact us for a confidential and informative discussion!

 

Australian App Developers

7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

There has been a rise in female entrepreneurs (also known as fempreneurs) not only in Australia but also around the world. Similarly to the success of app entrepreneurs, which we looked at previously, startup success starts with having the big idea coupled with the determination towards turning their vision into a reality. Today we’ll be focusing on 7 female entrepreneurs who took their passion and disrupted the industry with their business idea.

 

Related: 7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

 

1. Justine Flynn – Thankyou

Justine Flynn is the co-founder of Thankyou, a social enterprise in Australia, where proceeds of its product sales are donated to help developing countries. Created in 2008, the idea came about when the founders saw an opportunity of the high bottled water consumption in Australia to tackle the water crisis. Thankyou has expanded their product lines to beauty, food and baby care, which are stocked in 5,000 outlets in Australia. They’ve raised over $3 million for projects, giving over 100,000 people access to water and food across 17 countries.

 

 

 

2. Whitney Wolfe – Bumble

Whitney Wolfe is the founder of social and dating app, Bumble, which is similar to Tinder (co-founded by Whitney) but with a twist. In the app, females make the first move and are the only ones who can start conversations with males. Additionally, matches disappear if the other user doesn’t reply within 24 hours. The app was created to challenge the dating rule of males starting the conversation. Since launch in December 2014, Bumble has more than 10 million users, more than 50 billion swipes and has been named dating app of the year at the US Dating Awards.

 

 

 

3. Jodie Fox – Shoes of Prey

Jodie Fox is one of the co-founders of Shoes of Prey, an online retail shop startup. It started in 2009 in Sydney and offers fully customisable shoes. Customers are able to choose details like shape, colour, and material. Jodie got the idea after being unable to find shoes that matched her preferences. She then wanted to give the same experiences to others. Shoes of Prey have received more than $20 million in funding and won multiple awards at the Telstra Business Awards.

 

 

 

4. Marcela Sapone – Hello Alfred

Marcela Sapone co-founded an on-demand app called Hello Alfred,  which is the Uber of butler services. Users are assigned a butler that completes household chores and tasks they want to be done through the platform. The app idea came when Marcela was unable to do chores because of late work hours in Harvard Business School. Since launching in Boston in 2013, Hello Alfred has raised more than $11 million in funding, won TechCrunch’s Disrupt Startup Competition. Marcela was also listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

 

 

 

5. Genevieve George – OneShift

Genevieve George is the founder of OneShift, an online job marketplace for casual, permanent or shift work. The platform functions differently to other job marketplaces. Users create a profile and are matched with jobs based on the information they provide. The startup idea came from previous experiences of applying for jobs and working at a cafe. Genevieve wanted to make it easier for small businesses to hire and people to apply for jobs. Since 2012, OneShift raised $4.7 million in funding. They’ve also won multiple awards, such as the 2013 E-business, innovation and enterprise award. Genevieve also made the top 50 emerging leaders of 2015 list.

 

 

6. Jane Lu – Showpo

Jane Lu is the CEO and founder of the online fashion startup, Showpo. The store ships female clothing at affordable prices to 45 countries around the world. The idea came as a result of Jane wanting a career change and being unable to find stores that offered affordable on-trend clothing with fast shipping. Since starting in a garage in 2010, Showpo is now worth $10 million and awards, such as Smart Company’s Top Retailer of the Year and BRW Fast Starters. In addition, Jane has won multiple entrepreneurial awards like Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and SmartCompany’s Hot 30 under 30.

 

 

 

7. Lisa Falzone – Revel Systems

Lisa Falzone is the CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, a point of sale system that operates on iPad. The POS system enables a more efficient and smooth transaction process for customers and small businesses. The idea came when Lisa went out to restaurants selling an app, noticing that they used outdated, bulky and inefficient POS systems. Since launch in 2010, Revel Systems have raised $127.3 million in funding. They’ve also won the Tabby Award for Best Retail System. Lisa also won numerous entrepreneurial awards, such as EY Entrepreneurial Women, Forbes’ 40 under 40 and Business Insider’s’ 30 Most Important Women Under 30.  

 

 

Do you know any other kick ass female entrepreneurs?
Let us know on social media!

Why Everyone’s Talking about Snapchat’s Latest Update

A new year equals a new you. This is the case with one of the most popular social media platforms, Snapchat. Recently, the company announced updates to the app which will be released in the near future on iOS and Android.

What’s new?

The most groundbreaking change in the update is the addition of a universal search bar that allows users to find friends and people they want to follow. Another new change is the inclusion of a quick access chat directory screen, which lists out friends, groups, and contacts.

 

This update is great for businesses and startups. As users can discover other profiles easier, the new search bar will allow users to also discover businesses, allowing them to increase their brand and content exposure.

 

At this stage, Snapchat hasn’t announced plans for ads in search. However, this will be highly likely to be implemented as a response to Instagram, who is planning to implement advertisements in their Stories feature.

 

Another update has been added to the “Our Story” feature, where users can submit snaps wherever they are at any time. Snaps curate based on holidays, events and what’s trending around the world. This will provide businesses with the opportunity to utilise creative occasion-based marketing and create user engagement.

 

One of the main reasons for the update could be to improve the app’s user experience. On the business end, this could be a tool to motivate businesses to produce more content. The final reason might be a move to help Snapchat keep up with its close competitors.

At the end of the day, only time will tell.

 

What are your thoughts on the new search bar? Let us know on Facebook
We’re also now on Snapchat! Connect with us by scanning the Snapcode below.

7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen” – Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance

Do you have an app idea that has the potential to be the next big thing? All you need is the big idea coupled with the passion and drive towards making it successful. This means getting it developed and published in the app market. Here are 7 Australian app entrepreneurs who have turned their app idea into a success.

Related: 7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

 

1. Jess Wilson – Creator of the “Tinder for Clothes”

jess-wilson-stashd2Stashd is a fashion discovery app created by Jess Wilson. The idea came from the lack of retailers’ engagement she experienced when shopping online. The fashion discovery app lets users view clothing and accessories from global fashion stores. Then they either stash (swiping right and storing it) or trash (swiping left and deleting it). Stashed is used in over 80 countries with over 4,200 brands partnering with the app and over 500,000 fashion items accessible. It has even partnered with Tencent, a popular shopping app in China.

 

 

 

2. Chris Strode – Ensuring the numbers add up for businesses

 

chris-strode

Chris Strode is the creator and founder of Invoice2Go, which is a business app where users can create, send and manage invoices from their smartphone. Chris could not find accounting software that were easy to use, which sparked the app idea. From starting out as a side business, Invoice2Go is now worth over $100 million, has raised $50 million in funding and expanded overseas. It has been the number one business app in the app store and is used by more than 200,000 small businesses around the world.  

 

 

 

 

3. Melanie Perkins –  Turning the world into a graphic designer overnight

 

melanie-perkins-canva2

Melanie Perkins created Canva at the age of 19 in her home. The app makes it easier for users to perform advanced graphic design tasks on their Apple devices. Her app idea came as a result of the complexities of graphic design software. Canta is worth $458 million and has gained over $40 million in funding, with celebrities like Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson on the list. Since launch, the app has won numerous awards and achieved worldwide success with over 10 million users across 179 countries.

 

 

 

4. Luke Anear – Improving safety, thousands of workplaces at a time

 

luke-anear-safety-culture

iAuditor is an app created by Luke Anear that allows businesses to create checklists and audits on Occupational Health and Safety in businesses.The app idea came about while Luke worked in the worker’s compensation industry. He witnessed accidents in the workplace and wanted to prevent any more from happening with this app. Since launch, the app has gained $33.88 million in funding and gained international success. The app is used across 80 countries and they have expanded their offices overseas.

 

 

 

 

 

5. George Freney – Saving shoppers time and petrol every day

 

george-freney-booodl

Booodl is a store discovery engine app created by George Freney that shows users which stores and locations stock products they are looking for. The app idea began when George kept forgetting to buy a USB cable and could not find one at nearby stores. Since launching, more than 15,000 retailers have partnered with Booodl. They’ve won multiple awards, such as the 2015 Aus App design awards, and recently achieved a $2.85 million investment deal with a major shopping centre in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Andrew Low – Enhancing the supply ordering process

 

andrew-low2

Andrew Low is the co-founder of Ordermentum. Thea app helps businesses in the hospitality industry order supplies efficiently through a cloud platform. With vast experience in Finance and Fast Consumer Goods, Andrew created the app after trying to find a way businesses can order and pay for supplies more efficiently. Since launch, more than 3,000 businesses have signed up to Ordermentum, with more signing up each day. They have recently received $2.5 million in funding and plans of powerhouse investors coming on board.  

 

 

 

 

 

7. Peter Marchiori – Making job applications and hiring a breeze

 

peter-marchiori2

Peter Marchiori created Found Careers. The app is, essentially, the Tinder for jobs. Basically, users create their profile and tick jobs they want to apply for. Users can also chat directly to employers, making communicate easier. The app idea was the result of the founders facing difficulties of finding employees in their previous business.  It has over 25,000 downloads and over 2,000 jobs posted. Found recently gained $1.5 million in funding and voted as the #1 useful job platform in Australia.  

 

 

 

Get your app idea developed! Contact us for a free and confidential initial phone consultation!

4 Mobile App Trends for 2017

What a year it has been, time has definitely flown by! We’re at the business end of 2016 and about to welcome 2017 in a few weeks.

There have been a lot of interesting and exciting things happen in the world of mobile apps this year. We’ve seen the rise of On-Demand apps, live streaming on social media platforms, which we predicted. Additionally, we saw the booming of augmented reality through Pokémon Go.

As the barriers of innovation continue to be pushed with breakthroughs in mobile technology, there will be more to come in the new year ahead. Without further ado here are the mobile app trends we predict will happen in 2017.

1. Increased Adoption of Mobile Payment

Smartphones have made it easier and more convenient for us to shop and checkout. They are now an alternative to credit cards and cash, becoming the most popular payment method. There are various mobile wallets and payment apps available, such as PayPal, Apple’s Passbook and Samsung Pay.

From current observations, mobile payments are expected to increase and become more common. It is estimated that in 2017, total payments by mobile will comprise of $60 billion.

This is most likely due to the increase of the app adoption rate within businesses and industries, such as Hospitality. Companies, such as Domino’s, Taco Bell and Starbucks, have already implemented apps, which payment occurs. It is expected that more businesses will follow and create their own apps, such as McDonald’s.


What this could mean for businesses is that they will need to modify their current payment methods by 
adopting apps or try to find a way to make payments easier.

starbucks-my-rewards

Starbucks’ mobile app has been very successful

2. The Internet of Things App Revolution

According to an article by Business Insider, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network that consists of devices that can connect to the internet. Examples of devices include mobile devices, buildings, electrical appliances, smart vehicles and smart houses.

p

An overview of IoT

While the total IoT objects this year was 17.68 billion globally, it will further trend in 2017 and become even bigger in the future.  According to an analysis from Intel, it is estimated that the number will rise to 200 billion objects by 2020.

In the future, IoT apps will enable us to lock doors, track inventory and record health reports all on our smartphone. It will be widely used among different industries, such as retail, health, IT, manufacturing and security.

Users of IoT technology will be adopted by various entities, such as governments, but a majority being businesses. This is because of its benefits, such as increasing productivity, lowering costs and increasing innovation.

guide-to-iot-infographicThe Internet of Things (IoT) will be massive in the future

Some of the most popular IoT technologies we expect to be prevalent are in the areas of security, analytics and device management. For instance, beacon technology is a popular tool that is used in the mobile apps of businesses, especially retailers. Essentially, it enables them to gain analytics on consumers, track where they are and push personalised promotions.

3. The Continued Rise of Enterprise Apps

With a positive outlook in Australia’s mobile app development industry, we’ve seen an increase in the adoption of mobile apps by businesses this year, especially in Hospitality, as mentioned previously. In 2017,  it is expected that there will be a major increase of custom-made enterprise apps being developed for businesses.

More businesses are contributing more investments in the mobile tools market that it is approaching $5.5 billion. The demand for enterprise apps is expected to be so big that by the end of 2017, enterprise apps will outgrow the businesses’ IT capacity to deliver them.

One of the main reasons is due to businesses moving towards increasing productivity and efficiency through being more mobile in the workplace. Currently, the use of tablet in business is growing. By 2017, 900 million tablets will be used by enterprises, with 70% being used for business purposes.

enterprise_mobility_trends_in_2016We will expect to see a move towards mobility in the workplace

4. Increase of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) apps

While Augmented Reality hasn’t been mainstream in the past, it has definitely taken off this year with the release of widely acclaimed mobile game, Pokémon GO. As a result of its success, Augmented Reality apps will get bigger next year and beyond.

In fact, the total revenue in VR and AR market was an estimated amount of $5.2 billion this year and will be expected to grow to $162 billion in 2020. As more developers realise the capabilities of Augmented Reality, mobile apps will expand beyond gaming and move into the business environment.

We suspect to see these AR apps used in industries mainly health, retail and fashion to enhance customer experience. There will most likely be apps where consumers can virtually try on products. This is what cosmetics giant, Sephora implemented at the start of this year.

In addition, Virtual Reality apps are also expected to increase next year. It is estimated that the number of Virtual Reality user will reach 171 million by 2018. This may result from the affordability of mobile VR headsets. They can range from $15 to high-end headsets, costing around the $200 mark

While Virtual Reality will be used mainly by mobile games, it will also used by businesses to implement innovative operations. For instance, apps that allow users to watch events though VR or shop online in a Virtual Reality department store.

virtual_realityVirtual Reality is predicted to be even bigger in 2017 and beyond

Key Takeaways:

2017 is going to be an even bigger year with lots of opportunities for mobile apps, especially for businesses. As more consumers are making payment using their mobile, more businesses will move towards mobile payment to increase convenience and remain competitive.

With the focus of mobility, increasing productivity and lowering costs,  there will be an emphasis on enterprise apps and the Internet of things. Finally, Virtual and Augmented Reality will continue to be used by businesses and immerse consumers.

What app trends do you think will arise next year?

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

The 4 Characteristics of Successful App Startups

What are the shared traits of apps like Uber and Airbnb that help them become impactful multinational companies? The answer can vary depending on industry and business model. In this post we share the four most common characteristics of successful app startups.

Not since the dot-com days of the late 90s has there been such a prevalence of tech startups. The rise of mobile technology and innovations such as cloud computing has spurred this latest round of tech entrepreneurship.

As the mobile revolution becomes mainstream, new business opportunities are being presented. At Launchpad App Development, we help entrepreneurs and emerging businesses realise these opportunities through iPhone, Android and Web App Development.

Here are the important qualities to achieving app startup success in the evolving mobile marketplace.

They are disruptive

One of the defining characteristics of successful app startups is Disruption. A disruptive app challenges the status of an industry – transportation, retail, lifestyle, etc. – to such an extent that the traditional way of doing business becomes practically obsolete.

That’s easier said than done, and a lot more difficult than creating an app that follows consumer demand and market trends. So why are so many app startups aiming to innovate rather than regulate?

As the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

So is a disruptive app created?

Clayton Christensen – who introduced the disruptive innovation theory in the Harvard Business Review – notes that disruptive innovation often starts from the low-end market foothold.

Consider an industry where companies try to provide their most profitable and demanding customers with ever-improving products and services. In such an industry, these companies are paying less attention to less-demanding customers. This opens the door to disruptive apps to provide these low-end customers with a Minimum Viable Product.

Example – Uber

The taxi industry is tightly regulated and the drivers face strict obligations. In most cities, drivers need a special operator’s license in order to act as a taxi. Furthermore, there are restrictions to what cars they can legally drive.

In comparison to traditional taxis, Uber started in the low-end market by allowing anyone with a car to drive other people around for money. No special certification or knowledge was required.

As Uber’s network grew in each city, ride costs and waiting times declined and the rating system ensured that the driver quality was relatively consistent. With this improved service quality, Uber was able to move upstream to attack taxis directly – a classic disruptive move.

Uber Most Valuable Startup

Now worth $85 billion AUD, Uber is the World’s most valuable startup. Source: Statista

They have a well-defined Value Proposition

A value proposition is a statement that explains what benefits your app provides and how it does it uniquely well. It describes your target users, the problem your app solves, and why it’s distinctly better than the alternatives.

A significant part of defining a value proposition involves what Forbes writer Michael Skok calls the 4Us:

  • Unworkable: Does your app solve a broken business process where there are real, measurable consequences to inaction?
  • Unavoidable:  Is it driven by a fundamental requirement for accountability or compliance?
  • Urgent: Is it one of the top few priorities in the marketplace that your startup is entering?
  • Underserved: Is there a noticeable lack of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you’re on the right path toward a compelling value proposition.

Example – Evernote

Evernote’s value proposition is to “help the world remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done”. From saving ideas and thoughts to preserving experiences to working efficiently with others, Evernote’s distinct app offering makes it easy for users to stay productive and organised.

With a well-defined value proposition, you know that your target market is primed for the solution that your app provides.

They start with a small market

When it comes to successful app startups, there’s been a lot of talk about the huge market that’s readily available through the ever-evolving mobile platform.

While it’s true that a startup must eventually reach a large market to transform into a large company, it’s actually best to identify a narrow market segment to begin with.

As we covered in a previous post, starting with a small market helps you to understand the behavioural traits of app users in an insightful manner, while also underlining any issues that need to be rectified more quickly.

“Begin with a really small market, take over said market, and then expand that market in concentric circles.”

Peter Thiel, PayPal Co-Founder and early Facebook Investor.

 

Thiel advises in his lecture , “the greatest mistake you can make as a new startup is going after a giant market from the get-go. That signifies that you haven’t defined categories properly. And you’re going to be dealing with too much competition in one way or another.”

If you want to turn your app startup into a successful company, you should first capture targeted small markets and then help that market grow over time.

They provide an outstanding User Experience

By definition, a startup is a new company. They can’t be dependent on brand loyalty built over years or decades like their big, entrenched competitors can.

This is why providing a useful app product that’s simple and intuitive to use is so important to the business’s long-term success.

So how do you deliver a great user experience for the app that you’re building? Here are some guidelines to get you started.

  • Easy flow and navigation – Once you’ve decided on the first set of features you want to be part of the app, it’s essential that you make it easy for the user to navigate from screen to screen, or from one feature to another. Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.
  • Understand your customer What is the profile of your typical customer (E.g. Age group, gender, their behaviour with technology, etc.)? The navigational features (such as button size, easy tap instead of swipes) will differ from a 5 year old compared a 55-year-old mobile user.
  • Utilise the platform – Each platform, iOS or Android, offers various gesture-based navigation tools. Swipes (left, right, up or down) can bring a new screen and remove another, while a pinch can zoom into content or move out of the current screen as well. Depending on the nature of your application and its purpose, platform-specified gestures should be offered to provide an intuitive navigation experience.

App User Experience

The iPhone’s gesture-based navigation tools. Source: Business 2 Community

The User Experience your app offers should be an integral part of your product strategy. Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether your app idea will grow into a successful startup depends on a variety of factors. They have common characteristics that can be identified.

Successful app startups are disruptive, have a well-defined value proposition, start with a small market and provide an amazing user experience. Making sure that your app concept has these four traits will set you on the right path to achieving startup success.

What additional characteristics do you believe lead to app startup success? Let us know in the comments section below.

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.

4 Mobile App Trends for 2016

Mobile app development is at the top of the agenda for many entrepreneurs and businesses in 2016. We share our top 4 predictions for the year ahead on the changes in the mobile industry and app market.

2015 was a huge year for apps. Mobile overtook desktop as users spent more time on their mobile devices. The app development market experienced tremendous growth, profitability and expansion. Mobile devices became the new normal for delivering content, entertainment, transportation and much more.

App developers must evolve its strategy to be relevant across new channels and screens moving forward. We expect an exciting year ahead. Here are the top four app trends for 2016.

 

User-Centric Apps

Whenever we do a Rocketfuel Workshop with our clients, there is one key process that ensures we define a minimum viable product and lockdown their app concept’s product position: User Persona Modeling. Personas are an effective tool to create the right product for the app’s intended target market. This allows our clients to understand the motivation of their app’s target users and, in turn, define the product features that satisfy the market.

App User Persona

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

We apply this user-centric approach to app development because, now more than ever, entrepreneurs and businesses need to consider the complete user experience their app provides. With mobile apps now accounting for more than half (52%) of all the time spent on digital media, a user-centric approach to app development is crucial to creating a meaningful app experience.

However, you can’t just assume to know what your target users want in an app. You need to track and analyse relevant Big Data for it to become Meaningful Data that provides insight into your app’s potential consumers. This is essential to creating a user experience that caters to how your consumers are actually using the app.

At Launchpad App Development, our mission is to help entrepreneurs and business transform innovative ideas into successful apps. If you want to create a successful app in 2016, your target users should be defining the app product.

 

In-App Ads

Three of the largest players in the mobile space (Google, Apple and Facebook) have all been investing an enormous amount of time and resources into powering ‘virtual assistant’ type technology. Google created Google Now, Apple has Siri and Facebook is testing M. The goal of all of these companies is to become the best personal assistant you’ve ever had and in large part to provide personalised ads proactively before a user even makes a request. This represents a fundamental shift in the way we think about in-app advertising.

As businesses improve their ability to create data-driven experiences for their app users, the targeting of ads will greatly improve and consequently become much more effective. Once users have opted-in to a data program they will often provide a great deal of information regarding their preferences, as well as geographic and demographic information that can be quite useful.

By developing a data program, apps will be able to leverage the behaviour of users within the app to refine their experience with ads that are more relevant. Personalised in-app ads draw double the click-through rate of normal display ads and, in many cases, bypass ad blockers to reach the right audience in the right context.

With nearly three times more spent on in-app advertising compared to mobile web, personalised in-app advertising will continue to flourish in 2016 and beyond. By 2018, Juniper Research predicts it’ll reach $17 billion, making in-app the fastest growing sector in mobile advertising.

 

Mobile Video

Mobile video is growing quickly. IAB found that 58% of people watch videos daily from their mobile device. Clearly, quality video production intended for the small screen can be truly effective in reaching this growing audience. This makes businesses eager to capitalise on this trend.

 

As eyeballs shift away from the TV screen to the smartphone, advertising dollars are quickly following. As a result, redirect viewers to an app plays a key role in the growth of the mobile video format.

Mobile Video App

The explosion in engagement for YouTube’s smartphone and tablet app highlights the rapid shift to mobile video. Source: comScore

When it comes to mobile video, apps are clearly the consumers’ choice for viewing them. 48% of the respondents to IAB’s study confirmed they access video content via applications rather than visiting a mobile website. While only 18% indicated they would rather view video via mobile website. The mobile video market is expected to reach over $13 billion by 2020 and grew rapidly in 2015. It’s safe to say that we can expect continued substantial growth in 2016.

 

Apps Becoming Part of Our Lifestyles

The problem with app adoption in the past can be nailed down to one singular issue – mobile data. With data caps and overcharge rates, apps have been limited how creative and forward thinking they can be. As a result, we  restrict ourselves to apps that provide individual features. For example, an app for music streaming, an app for weather, an app for fitness tracking etc.

Expect apps in 2016 to become an integral part of your life. For instance, a fitness journal that displays the weather before your run and provides music playlists customised. Sound a bit far-fetched? Not to us app developers!

As long as there are forced restrictions on how much you can download, apps themselves play a pivotal role in positioning themselves as a lifestyle attachment, rather than a usable ‘thing’ that can quickly be uninstalled in favour of the next big thing. There’s only so much data that will fit in a mobile plan – better make sure your app is making the most of it.

What’s more, the apps you choose could very well communicate your values in terms of your lifestyle. The apps you use every day could soon tell people “I’m proud to be a _____ and that’s why I use (app).” The more attuned these apps become to our goals, likes and dislikes in life, the more they’ll find themselves being used likely far beyond what even us as developers envisioned.

What app trends are you anticipating in the year ahead? Let us know in the comments section below.