The following is a guest contributed post from Danielle Levitas, SVP of Research at App Annie
2018 will mark the 10-year anniversary for both the Apple App Store and Android Market. Since their launches, mobile apps have impacted society and businesses at an astounding pace and scale. The maturation of this economy is most apparent in the evolution of how mobile apps have transformed people’s everyday lives. Convenience is just one factor, but, more importantly, people now expect apps to have a significant impact on their daily lives. In an increasingly mobile-first world, apps drive customer acquisition and are critical to customer loyalty, which in turn drives revenue. Companies that harness the power of mobile apps will find that doing so is transformative for building enduring relationships with their customers.
Many companies mistakenly believe that it’s enough to have a mobile app in place. In order to claim a stake in the evolving landscape, a mobile app must be continuously managed, revamped and checked against the latest industry trends. With the app economy on track to exceed $110 billion in this next year, this market is continuously expanding into its next phase of growth, and so should your mobile plans. Here are some ways companies can jumpstart their app strategies in 2018.
In order to have an effective and impactful app in place, companies must clearly define the goals they want their mobile strategies to accomplish. While it’s both easy and tempting to jump on this month’s mobile trend, if that fad doesn’t align with the company’s growth strategy, the effort is futile. There is no one size fits all method to success for apps, and it’s critical to understand that while outlining a strategy for 2018.
In order to truly craft a strong mobile action plan, companies must devote time to defining what app success means to them, and in turn their end goals. Is it reaching existing customers in a more effective manner? Is it acquiring new users? Perhaps, direct monetization? Marketers must clearly define their app’s mission and prioritize corresponding goals to innovate, emulate and differentiate from other competing and best-in-class apps. Only then can they begin crafting strategies for the year ahead.
Although initially releasing an app may seem like the most crucial task, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Development is the body of said iceberg and the next step in an app developer’s path. Having an app for the sake of having an app is not a viable business tactic and will soon prove futile as the market continues to expand. As apps mature, brands cannot think of their mobile strategies as a series of isolated tactics. Instead, they need to think about mobile in terms of a lifecycle.
When it comes to app development, it’s important to continuously be evaluating the competitive landscape. What are competitive and adjacent market leaders doing to find and maintain mobile success? Companies can start there and then turn inwards. In order to make sure an app does not remain static, brands must continuously deploy A/B split testing throughout the app’s lifecycle. The simple testing of an app’s one element against another can reveal which element results in better performance. As a result, this type of testing will produce concrete evidence of what actually works in your mobile strategy. For example, when it comes to App Store Monetization, brands can use sequential A/B testing to find the best screenshots in order to improve the visibility of a mobile app and optimize conversion rates.
Make Sense of Metrics
In order for an app to continue to achieve success in each stage of its life cycle, it’s imperative to understand and track the key metrics that matter for each brand’s respective industry. By backing an app strategy with informed data, companies can benchmark against competitors and incorporate best practices that are proven to move the needle on critical engagement metrics affecting basket size and lifetime value.
However, just as there is no “one size fits all” mobile strategy, there is no one metric that indicates success across all verticals. For example, apps in industries like banking, retail and entertainment are more likely to have users that engage a few times per week or month. Therefore, it makes more sense for them to analyze the numbers behind monthly active users and daily active users. On the other hand, metrics like session length would matter to a greater degree for gaming apps. By clearly identifying which metrics matter most across their industry, businesses can make informed decisions to drive users to their app, accurately measure customer satisfaction and implement changes to reflect user demand.
Apps are transforming every industry from mobile-first startups to legacy companies that long predate mobile. As the app evolution continues to pick up steam, we will see app metrics continue to play a critical role in the success of companies across all sizes. By implementing these tips, companies across all sectors can get a head start on mobile going into the new year.
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