What to do when your app isn’t going as planned

 

What to do when your app isn’t going as planned

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Mobile has become an increasingly hot topic due to rising statistics.  More people are adopting smartphones and spending more time in mobile apps than on the mobile web.  The competition is also growing with over 1.5 billion apps in both the Apple App Store & Google Play.  However, not everyone sees success with their mobile app right after launch.  So what happens when your organization creates a mobile app, but doesn’t see instant success? It’s easy to get discouraged and throw in the towel.  Here are a few points to consider when your initial mobile app strategy isn’t going as planned.

Think about your audience

Have you considered your audience? Sometimes, we see organizations get too wrapped up in the monetization side of their app that they forget about the audience.  Other times, they don’t think about how their audience utilizes apps and consumes content within them. It is important to think of a mobile app as a product that needs to have the total package in terms of the experience and content. Extensive research should be done to know your audience’s likes and dislikes.  Even after your initial research, you should hold focus groups with your targeted audience and get their feedback.  You need to understand the content they crave and provide that information within your product.  Overall, the goal should be to make your audience’s lives easier and solve some sort of problem they might be having.

If you don’t do sufficient research, you might find yourself with a product that you think satisfies their needs but ultimately doesn’t.  The reality might be that your app is not providing enough or possibly even too much information overall. Always check your app reviews because your audience will likely not be afraid to tell you if something is wrong.

Evaluate the features

Does your app include features that are allowing your audience to engage further with it? This is one of the big questions you should ask about your mobile app.  Sometimes simple features like social media sharing or bookmarking information are not enough.  Think about implementing a photo submission program, sending out push notifications or having user voting within your app.  These features, and promoting them, can give a little extra reason for a user to reuse your app on a daily basis.

In addition, you should also make sure that your app provides a good user experience.  Is the app keeping up with functions and features that are intuitive to that platform? It is important that your app consistently keeps up with Apple and Google Play’s best practices and guidelines. This will require routine updates to your app code over time. This way your users aren’t left confused because your app doesn’t operate like other apps in terms of the user interface and functions. 

Rethink your monetization strategy

If you have a monetization strategy, make sure it is not negatively impacting your content or user experience.  For example, sometimes a “pay to play” content inclusion model can be frustrating to users because they want an app that is content rich.  Always ask yourself questions when deciding on a monetization strategy:  Is the number and placement of ads too disruptive? Is content tied too closely to monetization that it doesn’t provide enough value to potential users? By only having businesses pay to be in the app, are we limiting content too much? Would it frustrate the user to not be able to get turn-by-turn routing to this business? Are having all of these partners involved in the content overwhelming to a user?  The key thing to remember is to consider your audience first and monetization second.  If your audience doesn’t like the app, then how will you be able to effectively communicate the value to your advertisers?

In addition, if a monetization strategy didn’t work initially (such as securing a title sponsorship or “app within an app” partners) don’t feel discouraged from trying again in the future.  The market continues to evolve and new statistics/features can be incorporated to help gain that additional sponsorship/partnership that might not have worked the first time around. 

Are you marketing your app?

Ongoing app marketing is incredibly important.  Don’t just expect users to find your app organically in the app stores; there is simply too much competition out there.  In addition, marketing shouldn’t stop after the initial launch of your app.  If you think about it, the world is constantly moving and new people or competition can come across your app at any time.  Plan out your app’s pre-launch, launch and ongoing marketing strategies.

Find creative ways to market the product that involves audiences engaging with your app.  Your audience is more likely to download the app if it involves some sort of fun incentive rather than just seeing a plain old advertisement online or in print.

Overall, venturing into the world of mobile apps is one of trial and error like any other product.  There might be some unforeseen challenges in the beginning and that is okay.  It’s all about finding what works for your market and continually staying on top of mobile trends as they evolve.  The truth is that mobile is continuing to grow and shows no sign of stopping or slowing down.  If your app is not an instant success, don’t get overly discouraged, stay positive and adjust accordingly!


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