For a customer facing company, there are many potential benefits of developing an app. It can provide valuable customer insight; it offers a vehicle for personalisation; and it can foster loyalty towards your brand, as discussed here.
However, with more than 1 million apps available in Apple’s app store, alone, you really need to understand what drives consumers to download and use mobile apps, if you are going to have a chance at succeeding in this market, at all.
Google has, this month, published the results of a survey done last autumn, to ‘uncover insights about mobile app user behavior[u]r, including app discovery, acquisition, usage, and abandonment’. You can see the report here and here.
Some of the findings are unsurprising. For instance:
- The main source of awareness of new apps is word of mouth,
- Price is an ubiquitously important factor when deciding to download an app (with ¾ of us expecting to get free apps), and
- Approximately a quarter of the apps downloaded are never used.
Moreover, of the apps that are downloaded and used, around a third are quickly abandoned, because users loose interest.
This is quite understandable. Not only is there a lot of competition for each app (i.e., other products that promise to do more or less the same) in the app stores, but there is intense competition for space in the user’s small screen: apps that fail to show their value quickly, or to hold the user’s attention, will soon be replaced by another one, moving to the phone’s (or tablet’s) second or third screen and, soon, to oblivion.
Not an encouraging picture, right?!
So, how can you make your app ‘stick’?
According to the same Google study, the most frequently used apps are those that are useful and easy to use, which is very much in line with the adoption of other technologies (for more on this, check the Technology Acceptance Model, for instance).
However, when it comes to mobile apps, functionality is not everything. Rather, the look and feel of the app are extremely important, too, with more than 50% of respondents saying that they are most likely to use apps that are aesthetically appealing, and which offer a consistent experience across devices. Bad news, if you were planning to get something out quickly, and ‘get it’ right later on!
What are your top 2 or 3 favourite apps? How did you become aware of them, and what makes you use them over and over again?