App's Success Factors

App's Success Factors

There is a difference between successful and unsuccessful mobile app campaign when it comes to market analysis and analytics. Those who win, do research in the market, set a well structured measurement plan and iterate continually. Those who lose, do not. If you are willing to avoid failures, here is some advice on the app success factors.

Market analysis

Temperature in mobile app industry increases. The connection is clear -- with more mobile devices there is a greater demand for apps. Hence, more competitors will enter the market.

At the same time one can clearly observe a multitude of competitors offering similar products. When this is combined with the fact that many of them are targeting the same customer, such competition results in driving down profitability.

However, mobile app industry is very segmented. It means, that rivalry can increase profitability, in case each competitor aims at a particular customer and offers a different mixture of features and brand identities. Fortunately, breadth and diversity of apps attracting different social clusters, allow developers to generate new values.

Every time you decide to create something new, make sure you can offer a competitive advantage, which comes from innovation, content and form of monetization.

1. Channels of distribution comparison

There is Apple App Store and Google Play market out there. Which one will bring you money? Stats say Apple. But stats never analyze particular cases. We do not recommend to cover several channels from the beginning. When you get the idea of how your app interacts with users on one market, proceed to another one. But make sure your business initiative is supported by the relevant data.

In any case, it might be worthwhile to see what works well for both platforms and compare. Also you can surf the world net for the top apps on other markets and dip the ideas from there.

2. Product research

The goal of this step is to examine and assess existing products. After you line up the product extension potential and find the key strengths and weaknesses, you have an opportunity to succeed and minimize the threat of being crushed by the competitors. You should offer better solutions in design, idea and functionality. If you have generated a unique idea and found the segment that is waiting for its realization, make sure no one else has already done the same thing. If they have, don’t get discouraged. Even the most commonplace apps still have a potential to acquire a dignified competitor.

3. Usability SWOT analysis

swot analysis

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are the four main factors when it comes to usability. Customer satisfaction will contribute to the growth of loyalty to your product. Active users who engage with your app are those who do valuable actions and increase profitability.

Market demands are constantly growing as advances in technology in many categories boost the consumer expectations. SWOT qualitative research in existing products helps to understand trends and new opportunities in this industry and predict the user behavior with you app.

4. Monetization models comparison

One of the most important success factors for your app is finding the right app monetization model and the optimum price-feature configurations.

Free apps are becoming a rule on the app market. Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, did extensive worldwide research in total mobile apps downloads in the App Store. The research showed a significant growth of the free apps. This number is expected to reach 93 % by 2016. In-app purchase, according to the research, is rising as a monetization tool and will be the source of revenue for 30 % of the apps by 2016.

The analytic firm Distimo studied how the most successful apps monetize. The results of the research show that in-app purchases make the majority of the revenues in the app stores. For example, 76% of the total Apple App Store revenue in the USA in February 2013 was generated using in-app purchases. The figure was even higher in Asian markets including South Korea, China, Japan and Hong Kong, with over 90% of the revenues coming from in-app purchases.

revenue breakdown for iPhone apps in US

“In-app transactions will come first,” Evan Spiegel, a founder of Snapchat, told TechCrunch. “We think we can build really cool stuff people want to pay for. The app is now a part of everyone’s day-to-day lives. That means that they will — I at least would — pay for a more unique experience.”

In-app purchase monetization model is good news for developers who put out a quality product. However, you need to drive enough downloads to make in-app purchases work well. That’s why most monetization campaigns need time and metric analysis before they can bring some tangible results.

Another model worth considering is subscription, but it only works for the content generating apps. Internet radio service Pandora is a perfect example of a top grossing app which monetizes via the subscription model.

If you would like to rely on the advertising model as a revenue generator, draw your attention to native advertising and “smart advertisement”. According to a mobile advertising network Appnext, most ads typically fail to generate substantial revenue, because of their placement within apps and the timing of their appearance.

Read also: How much does it cost to develop iPhone and Android app

Business Objective

When you accumulated enough knowledge doing the market analysis, it's time to answer the question: why does your campaign exist?

The answer requires clear understanding of your business initiative and multiple discussions with your team.

If your objective is going too far - you'll never get anywhere. If it is too vague - nothing will get done. If it is too lame - it'll inspire no one. Set an executable, understandable and manageable objective that delivers value to the company.

When you've set a business objective, make sure you know the right business strategy and tactics that will help you achieve your goal.

As an example, we had an objective to sell gifts to the customers through our app My Day. The strategy was to create an app that will allow to easily set countdowns for upcoming events, send greeting cards and choose a present. Our tactics at the start was to grow a user base. At the current stage it transformed into offering users to send greeting cards and drive referrals.



A key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that helps you understand how you are doing against your objective.

The best approach to follow in mobile app industry is AARRR, which stands for:

Acquisition - various channels users come from

This metric will give you the quantitative data referring to the best working channels in your acquisition campaign.

When you are thinking about advertising campaign for your app, don’t forget about social media as tools to boost customer loyalty. According to the research published to Forbes, investment in social media in 2014 will become a necessity.

Activation - users enjoy the 1st visit

Qualitative+quantitative data analysis will give you the insights concerning user interface particularities and whether it satisfies the needs of your customers.

Retention - users come back

This metric is your brand quality indicator. Check out user behavior and the number of returning users to see what you’ve missed and what should be done to increase user engagement.

Referral - users share your product with friends

Focus on user satisfaction and outcomes. If your product or the content it generates is that useful and attractive, it will provide its own advertising campaign through social media. Also think about the features you can use to incentivize shares.

Revenue - user behavior brings you money

Define an average revenue per user, which will indicate the value of a separate individual to your app business. Identify the conversion paths, the sequences of interactions (i.e., clicks/referrals from other channels) that led up to each conversion and transaction.

After the KPIs are found you should identify the targets.

Targets are numerical values you’ve pre-determined as indicators of success or failure. However, it is a rather hard thing to do if you don’t have any experience. It is difficult to measure without having any idea of what the desired performance looks like. Rely on successful examples.

Focus on the following segments: sources of acquisition, target audience, their attributes, their behavior, business outcomes and what the customers might want to accomplish using your app.

Read also: Best mobile analytics tools for your app

Iterative development

iterative development

The product has been launched. Is it the end? Not yet. It’s just the beginning. Growth hacking implies iterative development as one of the app success factors.

The purpose of working iteratively is to process data, assess metrics and introduce changes accordingly at the stage that follows initial app release. Analysis of user interaction with your app in accordance to the KPIs will induce the need for some changes and optimization. By working iteratively, the project team goes through a cycle where they evaluate each iteration and determine what changes are needed to produce a satisfactory end product.

Every change that you introduce should derive from metrics analysis. Sometimes your updates may include a variety of options and it is hard to predict which option can bring valuable outcomes.

Every iteration implies perfection oriented testing and experimenting that will bring benefits only if you pay attention to the relevant data.

So analyze metrics, make well-grounded solutions and don’t ignore testing. By the way, there is a stage rollouts functionality for Android apps designed for experimenting on users directly.

Make sure you follow the metrics and iterate continuously.


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