Tips on app longevity: How to keep users coming back for more!
With the app environment projected to grow by 270% by 2020, there is plenty of room for new ideas to join the ranks of the already 5 BILLION apps in the app stores. However, true success in the app store doesn’t just boil down to pure downloads when you launch, it is also related to user retention and app longevity. This means that while you might think generating the app idea was all the brainstorming you had to do, looking towards the future is what can really make or break your success!
Look at the marketplace
You might have already checked out the competition when you were generating your app idea, but that doesn’t mean you should stop your research. By looking at similar apps to your app idea or apps in a similar category, you can see how different apps are trying to cater to their users. Read the app reviews for those apps and see what people are saying. Are they wishing that the app had a new feature or included an improvement somewhere? Are there any complaints about the app’s performance or its current features? Think about where and how other apps are going wrong so that you can steer clear and not make the same mistakes. Let other apps do the mistake trailblazing for you and you’ll soon discover that features your app has will be received with open arms.
Anticipate your audience’s growth
As technology improves and apps cater to more specialized markets, app producers are being forced to think of ways of how to hold onto their current audience for longer periods of time. Put another way, like trying to fit into that itchy sweater your grandmother knit you when you were 12, some features you created when your app first launched might not fit your audience years or even months from now. So, to curb this possible outcome, you need to think about where the current users of your audience might be months or years from now. As related to the type of app you have, what kind of user longevity can you expect? While it is true that many apps maintain their longevity purely out of the nature of their market such as those social networking apps, even those have evolved in some way shape or form. Compare Myspace to Facebook and you’ll see exactly what I mean. By thinking about how you can add features to still appeal to that initial audience as it ages, your app will be in a great position to maintain its position firmly on your users’ homescreens.
Have a cache of improvements lying in wait
Closely tied to anticipating how your audience might grow is the idea that you should always have new ideas cooking in the confines of your app’s new feature kitchen. However, whereas thinking about new features to evolve along with your audience is one aspect of the new feature process, new features for all users is something else entirely. Here, we’re talking about new features that you would launch for your entire app audience that will re-engage and re-invigorate your current user base thus resulting in an additional influx of new users. Introducing things like new filters for a photo app or new recipes for a cooking app can mean a world of difference for someone who initially downloaded your app because they thought it looked cool but then didn’t think it was worth keeping. Start looking for inspiration based on how people are either reacting to your app (if it has been launched) or how people are reacting to similar apps in the market. What additional features did you think about when you first came up with the idea? How can you expand on those?
But REMEMBER, this does not mean that every new idea you generate should be pushed to the app store immediately. As the title for this tip suggests, you should always have a cache of new ideas in store so that you can pepper your audience and constantly engage them. If you release all your new ideas at once, it is likely that no one will fully be able to appreciate every single one and that new feature you thought would really change the game will end up falling on deaf ears. So, keep writing down new ideas and features and you’ll ensure that you not only hold onto your current audience, but engage new users for years to come.