How to Make Your App Zig in a Market That Zags
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out!”
– Dr. Seuss
Say you were looking for a free note taking app (like I was recently) to help remember appointments and take notes at seminars. If you searched “note taking app” in the Google Play Store, you’d be greeted with the following results:
From the screenshot above there are apps from independent developers and reputable companies like Microsoft, Google and Evernote.
The million dollar question is: which one should you choose? Factors you might take into consideration could be the app’s rating, app icon, features, description or screenshots.
The app market is like a lolly shop. There are so many choices and so much variety, it’s overwhelming and competitive. Similarly, when you publish an app on the market you’ll be up against other apps vying for the attention of app users. The aim is to rise above competitors by standing out amongst the other apps in the market through grabbing the user’s attention.
How can my app stand out in the market?
1. Create unique and disruptive ideas
To stand out in the market you’ll need to either create an app that either solves a new or existing problem in a more innovative way.
For instance, Uber helped solve the problem for commuters who wanted to catch a taxi at a reasonable price. It also allowed riders to pay by credit card and track the location of their ride.
An example of innovating an existing problem would be the app Parachute (formerly known as Witness). It’s a personal emergency app that allows user to alert family and friends if in danger. While there are many similar apps in the market, the innovative feature is the ability for users to live stream the user’s location and camera to contacts.
A starting point of finding a need is through doing research on the target market of the app. If you’re looking to capitalise on an existing need, look at competitors in your app category and think of ways to be more innovative.
Parachute lets users live stream their location to family and friends.
2. Create visually appealing Screenshots and Graphics
A picture is worth a thousand words — This is the case with your app’s screenshots. In-app screenshots are one of the main factors which prospective users will assess in the app store. This is the case especially when prospective users are still confused over what the app does after reading the description.
Essentially, your screenshots should be like a movie trailer, showing off the most exciting sections of your app to grasp interest and a potential download. They should be high quality, visually appealing and also contain a caption or headline of the app’s main features and benefits.
3. App Ratings
App ratings is one of the main determinants of whether a user downloads an app, as it dictates quality. Research from Apptentive found that 59% of people assess the app’s rating before downloading the app.
As a result, having a high rating increases your chances of potential users downloading and using your app.
In addition, gaining positive reviews and stars in the app store will highly likely significantly increase your app download conversion rate. For instance, Apptentive also found that jumping to a four star rating from a three star rating could bring an expected conversion rate of around 340%.
Finally, app ratings is a tool for continuous improvement for your app. Whether it’s changing the app’s UI and UX or launch times, feedback from app users will allow you to identify improvements needed and overall create a more smooth app.
4. Create a Great App Icon
People search for apps in 3 ways: searching by category, keyword or a specific app. Your app icon is your opportunity to create a great impression on the prospective user. In fact, it’s the first thing people will see when browsing through the app store. In a way the app icon should function like a brand logo.
When creating an app icon the main things to consider are colour, image, icon shape, borders.
From left to right: Spotify, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger
When creating the app icon avoid using words, keep it simple, use a border and only use your company logo if your brand is well known. You’ll probably notice that most of the apps on the market look very similar in terms of shape and colour, so if you’re stuck, check out icons from competitors.
5. Research Your Target Audience
Identifying your target market for your app is one of the key stages when formulating your app strategy. Every age group and demographic has different app usage behaviours.
For instance Blue Cloud Solutions found that that most smartphone users are aged between 25–34, who are parents or professionals.
By doing research, you’ll get an overall picture on aspects like app usage, behaviours, needs and preferences. Identifying these characteristics will give you ideas on what kind of app to create and features that appeal to them. Being innovative for the sake of it could cause confusion for the user when using the app.
6. Advertise on Multiple Channels
Source: Think With Google
One of the myths of app store success is that the app store is the only place where apps are found. However, it isn’t effective to rely solely on app browsers discovering your app on the iTunes and Google Play.
To increase awareness and potential downloads, you’ll need to promote your app through additional channels. It can be through social media, paid advertising and even creating app landing pages.
You could even offer app users incentives for downloading the app like giving discounts, free in-app content or even creating a rewards program.
For instance, accommodation booking sites, like Hotels.com, offers lower prices of their rooms if you download their app compared to browsing on their desktop site.
To determine where to advertise, you should identify where your target audience are most accessible digitally. Research by Google found that the most effective mediums to drive app downloads is through search, video, banner and social ads.
Source: Think With Google
7. App Store Description
After the app icon and screenshots, the app store description will be the third main area that app browsers will see. It is important to focus on how you write your description, as good copy could persuade users to download your app.
The description should start off with the most crucial information about your app. This is because the app store only shows a few sentences of the description, while hiding the additional text under the “Read More” icon. Here is a good example from One Minute Closer’s description:
As seen above, the introduction should contain a summary of your app’s Unique Selling Point (USP) and the main message. You can also add credibility by stating the high number of users or positive reviews from reputable sites.
The rest of the app description should contain information about the app’s features, benefits, a call to action and other apps you have developed. It’s also important to keep it free from any spelling or graphical errors and avoid lying as it could result in app deletion.
Why should your app fit in when it was built to stand out?
So here are the 7 tips for standing out in the app market. Just a final note: success doesn’t come easily, you’ll need to continue monitoring your app and trying to find ways to enhance your app activities.
Do you have any other tips for standing out in the marketplace? Have you managed to successfully stand out?
Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.