Mobile growth has slowed, but there is still room to carve out a niche in the apps economy.
*Editor’s note: This guest article is by Toby Vogels, mobile developer evangelist at Flurry. * Last year was another big growth year for mobile. At Flurry, we recently reported that overall app usage increased by 11%, and time-spent in apps increased by 69% compared to 2015. While this growth is impressive for a mature industry that’s hit 10 years of age, one big trend developers should be aware of is that apps are starting to “eat their own.” Across certain categories, we’re seeing declines in usage, with that time being eaten up by other categories—like messaging and social, which grew 394% over the last year.
It may be turning into a dog-eat-dog world for apps, but the good news is, consumers aren’t abandoning their mobile devices any time soon. To help set up your app business for growth in the year ahead, we’ve compiled four best practices.
Think Metrics First
It’s critical to have an analytics system in place that aligns with your growth initiatives and allows you to track how effective your growth tactics really are. Start with your most important metric first, to help you understand what your main growth levers are. If you’re an app with an extensive on-boarding process, maybe you’ll want to learn more about where potential fall-off is. If you’re implementing ads for the first time, understanding how users react after seeing the placement is also crucial. You can also use analytics to create conversion cohorts. By analyzing common usage patterns, you can determine which actions turn new users into active ones.
With well over three million apps available on mobile, the need to keep users engaged has never been higher. Most apps are deleted by the three-month mark if they’re not being used, and over 15% are cut in under a week, mainly due to boredom. Having metrics in place can help you understand user activity and engagement, and where those key drop off points are that keep new users from becoming active users. One other point to keep in mind: when users are looking to replace an existing app, seamless user experience is the most sought-after attribute.
Activate First, Educate Later
Rather than focusing too much on user education in the onboarding process, which might make users lose interest, get them engaged from the get-go. If you have a clean and uncomplicated UI, users will intuitively know what to do. However, it’s important to not compromise a personalized experience in the plight to streamline and minimize onboarding.
Embrace the Power of Personalization
There’s a reason why messaging and social apps have seen such massive growth — they’re providing personalized experiences to their users. Whether it’s algorithms that show customized content, or creative ways users can express themselves, like stickers and GIFs, users are more engaged with content that’s relevant to them. And the more relevant it is, the higher the retention rate. To help you develop more personalized experiences, make sure to implement touch points in your app that collect information about people’s interests and preferences.
While there’s no magic ingredient to mobile growth, these key tactics will help you develop and unlock successful growth strategies for your app business in the year ahead.