With total app revenues projected to grow from $45.37 billion in 2015 to $76.52 billion in 2017, almost anybody would be interested in becoming a developer and tapping into that kind of growth.
While we all use software and apps, though, most of us only use the ones that are quite popular. Given that there are more apps today than any of us can count, it's only rational to stick with the ones we know are successful.
For a developer looking to break into an industry where novelty has waned and innovation is the new cool, understanding the secrets of successful developers is vital for success. Let's explore five things that successful app developers consider before creating a new app.
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1. The end-user
It's quite weird that consumers want to think less as technology advances, but the most successful tech companies understand this and have designed their apps and services to make even a toddler feel smart. Look at Google: It's so simple, you'd wonder how it became such a giant company.
But don't be fooled. Developers put relentless amount of hard work into creating that extremely simple app on your smartphone.
To build a very successful app that your users will fall in love with and remain addicted to, you have to think for them. This means making everything readily available at the swipe of the screen without making your creation lose its appeal.
2. Elements of surprise
Surprise is one of the reasons successful games sit well with users. Game developers tend to use this better.
In Heartstone Heroes of Warcraft, for example, players have to unlock five different game modes -- a technique that keeps the curiosity of the players on high.
Another example is Pokémon Go, where players keep discovering new things to stay engaged.
3. Audience before app
A lot of newbie developers just create their apps and expect the audience to come.
Those who intend to build a real business around their product go after the audience first. Again, Pokémon Go already had an audience base to target. The franchise has been around for roughly two decades and has fans across several age borders.
Without an existing audience, even a brilliant app needs a lot of marketing to go viral.
It's easier to use a variety of the following strategies to build up an audience that would eventually help spread the word about your app before it's ready to launch to the market:
- Teasing. Give your audience a sneak peek, but make sure all patents and copyright licenses are taken care of beforehand so no one can run away with your idea.
- Piggyback on successful apps. Focus on key areas that developers have gotten wrong and win their audience to your side.
- Build an Email List. This is perhaps the most powerful way to build an audience. By growing an active subscriber base and using a tested email marketing service, releasing your app to your subscribers will give you instant success.
4. Emotional connection
The user must feel a connection with the app. We find it hard to resist checking Facebook every five minutes because we want to connect with our loved ones.
The power of emotional connection -- whether that be the connection to family and friends that Facebook employs or the nostalgia you feel when playing Pokémon Go -- is important in creating a successful app.
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5. New ideas
Because nobody wants to see the same thing over and over, bringing something new is important for your app to become successful. Think of it like this: If Snapchat did not change the way social media content was been consumed, it would just have been another me-too app. Users might have tried it, but it's unlikely it would have sustained the way it has.
Similarly, you should always look for something new to appeal to users of the existing apps you're targeting.