The Secret Behind All Successful Apps Is In User Loyalty

Two-thirds of apps on the App Store have yet to receive a single review: if the majority of iOS developers can’t compel a single user to leave a review, then perhaps developers don’t know their audience as well as they think they do.

Success tends to follow appreneurs whom develop apps for esoteric purposes: It’s wiser to earn the collective loyalty of a smaller, more identifiable audience than to invest extra resources into targeting the numerous and diverse conglomerates of users which comprise a larger whole. Setting your target audience as “everyone who likes dogs” is obviously not specific enough.

Before investing in an app, ask yourself:

1. Am I trapping myself into a losing battle?

10 out of the 28 apps that Messapps helped design within the past year or so have been tailored towards social networking. Social networking apps tend to target more expansive crowds in highly saturated areas on the market, yet the potential for a large profit is what appeals to so many start ups — everyone wants to build the next Tinder. As profitable as larger audiences may seem, an app that ventures to satisfy the needs of everyone in the room will never meet its goal — you can’t make everyone happy. To compete in these highly saturated niches that start ups tend to aggregate towards, you’ll need to spend extra resources on advertising to help your app stand out better, making it a less profitable cause.

2. Can I identify the app’s age group?

Your ability to discern your app’s target age group will dictate the success of your app’s design. If you’re struggling to visualize your app’s audience, then your app is less likely to be user friendly — if it’s not user friendly, then users will be that much more inclined to search for a different app.

Co-founder and CEO of Appy Ventures Patrice Archer attributes his app PlantSnapp’s success to how it appeals to a very specific niche audience:

“A 35 to 55-year-old mom that likes to shop at a high end shop, who has a house fully paid for, a dog, her kids are teenagers. They use this on a daily basis; they expect this kind of design feature and this level of complexity.” — Taken from The Appreneur Playbook

If your app’s audience is indistinguishable, then you’ll have a harder time both targeting and retaining your users’ interest.

3. Does my app appeal to a specific audience?

Imagine dividing a room of people into cohorts based on their expectations for your app and their age groups. Targeting one or two of these cohorts whose desires are alignable serves as a more favorable vantage to approach an app from. Focusing efforts on a smaller audience will ensure that your app’s niche aligns with the majority of your audience’s interests; every user is valuable, and user loyalty is something that you need to work hard on to earn.

“You have an app and you launched it only for a hundred people. But those hundred people are absolutely passionate about the product that you put out. They can’t imagine a day without the app. If you can get it and drive that kind of passion from those users then rest assured those hundred people can get you the next thousand, the next ten thousand, or the next one million customers” — co-founder of Arkenea, developer and author Rahul Varshneya

In the words of successful author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, do not underestimate the value of a true fan: work hard to build a fanbase of one or two thousand, and your app will grow from there. Your app’s ability to sell is contingent on meeting user expectations: if you cannot identify and meet the majority of your audience’s expectations, than your chances of making a profit are slim.

4. Would I be competing against non-profit hobbyists?

At the other extreme of niche-hunting, you’ll know whether your app’s niche is too small if the competition is led by app developers who aren’t out to make a profit. Although the niche may be too small to spark the interests of bigger start ups, niches that are dominated by developers with non-profit intentions are a lost cause. Even if your app has more to offer than the leading app does, users are more likely to download a free app that gets the job done.

5. Can my app’s niche be scaled down?

The most successful apps are intuitive, user friendly, and most of all innovative. Successful apps tend to compel and retain user interest by infusing a sense of nuance into an otherwise mundane task. Don’t over-pile your app’s UI with a half-dozen extra functions that don’t serve its main purpose, especially for the sake of attracting a larger audience: chances are, several separate apps offer a more innovative approach to each one. Explore a singular niche on the appstore and figure out whether your idea puts a new and innovative spin on it that others do not. Avoid developing the swiss-army knife of applications — break its functionality down. If something about your app’s development triggers a new idea, set it aside for a future app-venture.

The app industry is attracting a lot of start ups, so it’s wise to avoid pitting your app against hundreds of others in a highly competitive field. Read more about common marketing pitfalls.