Guide to make your app stand out from the crowd
Developing is a crucial phase in the creation of a product, but having a marketing plan and skillfully carrying it out is the key to a successful application. You also need to know your users and reduce development faults to a minimum. Behind each app lies a vast work involving the conceptualization, design, development and testing of the software.
But strange as it may seem, that’s only the beginning. Ahead stretch hundreds of hours of hard work before the app can be called a success. And that’s because its success depends on the users, and this means a whole array of other actions.
The phase when the apps are uploaded to the store –be it App Store (Apple - iOS) or Google Play (Google - Android)– is just as important as the design, programming and testing phases. That’s when some companies make mistakes that have an impact on the success of the application, as a product that has to meet the business targets they’ve set themselves. Here are some tips about what to look out for in this phase of the launch:
1. Good at developing, bad at promoting
There are hundreds of startups that are exceptionally good at product and development work. They have excellent professionals in the area of design, user experience and programming, but when it comes to setting up a powerful marketing plan, everything falls apart. If a company wants its application to be successful, whether it’s in publishing, e-commerce, banking or social networks, it needs to have a website that conveys to the user why that product is important to their life, and where they can find key information on the service and any future advances that affect it. An app store description doesn’t perform that function.
2. Do everything possible to make sure you have good reviews
Good reviews in an app store are an important factor in improving your positioning and increasing the volume of downloads. The more downloads you have and the more people get to know an application with good reviews, the bigger the virtuous circle. Good reviews, better positioning, more downloads, more good reviews… To ensure positive user opinions it’s important to launch a totally stable MVP with no serious errors in its features. But this always tends to happen even in the most ideal scenarios.
Sometimes you can do all the usual tests in a software of this type, but when you upload the app to the store you always find minor errors that have been overlooked. This is why you need to have a reliable testing plan, generally based on Quality Assurance tests (QA tests), and another for error correction.
Most commonly used app tests:
- Unit or component tests: this type of test allows developers to check that all the software components meet the highest quality standards to prevent unexpected situations from becoming destabilizing.
- Regression tests: when an app is developed, it is common practice to launch numerous versions of the test with minor changes in the product as it moves forward. If there’s no continuous system for integrating regression tests, some of the changes may lead to the emergence of new errors, or –even more disappointingly– the re-emergence of old errors that were already assumed to be resolved. It’s essential to have this continuous integration system and an effective version control in place if you want to avoid your launch from being plagued by recurrent faults.
- Integration tests: it must be verified with 100% certainty that the various components that are linked together to guarantee the features of the application are perfectly integrated.
- Performance and stress tests: sometimes the apps work perfectly when they only need to handle a small amount of data or a small number of requests, but when the performance demands increase the interaction may cause the app to crash.
As a guard against the possible failure of these tests, you need to respond to negative comments and the faults highlighted by the users in the app stores. It’s vital to move quickly.
3. Customer experience maps are important
Customer experience maps serve to assess a user’s interaction process with a new application prior to the launch. This transition on paper allows the detection of possible pain points (situations that don’t fit with native browsing, features that don’t behave as expected…), and also offers a chance to think about incorporating technical or content details that trigger typical “wow moments” among users (situations that make the customer believe the experience is fantastic and worth downloading).
4. You must track and measure your success
There is currently a set of fairly powerful tools on the market that allows you to monitor the metrics that determine an app’s success with users: downloads, reviews, revenue, and others. Some are free, others have a freemium model (a free version and other paying versions with additional features), some only need to be downloaded, while others require developers to integrate a SDK in the app.
The two most important tools for tracking apps are the solutions provided by the app stores themselves: App Analytics for the iOS operating system and the App Store, and Google Play Developers Console for apps in Android published on Google Play. In both cases the metrics they offer are very all-inclusive: traffic, user engagement and loyalty, download rates by segment, information on crashes or errors, marketing campaigns… An excellent resource for developers. However, they are not the only ones: Mobile Action, Sensor Tower and App Figures are another three examples of platforms that can help shine a light on the places that may be key for the future success of this type of products.
If you want to read more articles about apps, click here
Sign up to the BBVAOPEN4U newsletter and receive tips, tools and the most innovative events directly in your inbox.