Archives For Android

Android Facebook errorFor months your team have been slaving away on your iOS or Android app. Burned the midnight oil to find the last bugs and fix them, polished the interface. Made sure you followed the Apple iOS Human Interface Guidelines or Android Core App Quality Guidelines. Now you ask yourself, is our app mature enough to launch? Will your hard work pay off or will it be a botched launch?

But first, why is the launch of an app an important moment?

  1. You may up in the Best New Apps list (Apple iTunes Store) or New Releases (Google Play), if you are new
  2. Apple or Google may feature you. They only do this with new apps.
  3. News sites and blogs are only interested in new apps. Your PR campaign should be concentrated around your app launch. When you reach out to authors they will only write about your app if it is of high quality.
  4. For iOS, posting bug fixes will take a week at least which is enough time to tank your users’ experiences and therefore ratings.

As an industry, we are pretty bad in engaging new users. We lose 22 % of users after just one time using an app, and beyond 11 times we have lost 66 %. As user acquisition costs are rising, it is easier and cheaper to convert a one time user to an engaged user.

So what matters should you look at?

  1. Does your app icon entice the user to open the app? Make sure your icon appeals and stands out, and gets the user interested to open up your app for the first time Your app name should explain what the app does.
  2. Do you have a smooth onboarding process? Your first screens should explain already what problem the app solves or what needs it fulfills. Make sure a user can understand or learn in 30 seconds what the main use case is and how it works. If needed, a good walkthrough may help, but first try with the app itself.
  3. Does your app provide value in a few minutes? So make sure your app helps solve that problem, or fulfill that need. That first time should already provide value or make it clear how it will provide value.
  4. Does the app provide a pleasant and engaging experience? Create an interface that is clear and responds snappy, test the app for bugs that may crash it. Beef up your backend to be able to handle massive download spikes because of raving posts on major sites
  5. Will the user come back? Create a reason for the user to return to the app, either because he/she remembers or you trigger this with a subtle and valuable push notification (don’t spam your users!). Try to have something habit forming built in that will get the user to come back on a daily basis.

Well, to make sure you meet these requirements, test well before launch. With the right testing, experimenting and of course PR and marketing it is definitely possible to create an engaging app that will attract *and* capture users.

What other issues do you think are important to look at?

Facebook HomeYesterday’s announcement of Facebook Home means that for the first time a mainstream service has a better offering on Android than on iPhone, partly due to restrictions of the iOS platform itself. Facebook Home for Android updates your home screen with status updates and photos, shows profile pictures of your friends on top of other applications with the new Chat Heads messaging functionality, integrates text/SMS messaging with Facebook, which is all not possible with iOS. On top of that, Facebook has spent a lot of time making sure all interactions are absolutely astonishing, with new interaction patterns and a new physics engine. So this is really the first main stream service that has a much better and more powerful app on Android than on iOS.

Of course, this will not be for everybody. With the new Chat Heads, Facebook is clearly trying to keep other competing messaging services like WhatsAppMessageMe and SnapChat at bay. These services are mostly used by teens. Getting status updates on your home screen and even your lock screen has a huge impact on privacy and more serious business oriented users will not like this. Also, out of the box only 5 phones will be supported (HTC One, HTC One X/X+, HTC First, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy S 4, and Samsung Galaxy Note II). This is probably because of hardware/OS requirements but also rigorous testing required to make sure all works fine. A crashing home screen of course needs to work flawless, otherwise users will uninstall within minutes. Your Android phone will become dominated by Facebook, and not everybody will like that. Hopefully Facebook keeps it as user experience focussed as possible and will not become the new toolbar as on the Windows platform.

So what does is mean for other companies? Google will be less visible within Android with Home, no search anymore on the home screen. No support announced for the Nexus 4 was remarkable, but as Facebook Home will be downloadable via Google Play store Google is aware and letting Facebook put it out there. Still users need to sign up with Google for a Google account, and Google can still gather all information it does normally. In the future FB might include it’s investor Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Bing Maps. Android has not been altered for this, although HTC admitted that they made some chances to Android to allow notifications to be shown in a more prominent way. For Apple, this means that the number one consumer service world wide will have a better presence on a competing platform, because of Apple’s own choices. Apple chooses to remain closed, keeping control over apps in a strict way. Yes that means less malware and crap apps, but also stops 3rd party developers from pushing the platform further. As we move to more constant monitoring and more push from apps from the current situation where interaction with your mobile phone is initiated by the user, background processing will prove to be vital. Apple not allowing this will be a big hurdle for companies to innovate on iOS.

I am curious to see what is does for app distribution. Facebook Home also has an app launcher, which is remarkable because the Android app launcher itself is great and Facebook for now does not all a lot of value. The value it has right now is that it is integral part of Facebook Home so you don’t need to switch a few taps forward to the Android launcher. This FB launcher offers great possibilities for the future, making FB a prime app marketing channel.

I am really excited about the new functionalities and interaction patterns, Facebook is pushing the envelope with what is possible for mobile. What do you think? Will you install Facebook Home on your Android phone?

Just in case anybody still thought just a great iOS or Android app would get you tons of downloads and lots of money: no it won’t. If you want success for your app, you need to market it and that will cost money.

As this nice infographic from Apppromo.com shows, top earners spend an average of 14% on marketing and have an average marketing budget of $30,000 dollars. Yes, that means it is really hard to make money if you are a small team with no cash in the bank. But with so many apps out there and the iTunes and Play store not really facilitating discovery, you need to get your customers attention somewhere else.

So how can you do app marketing?

 

 

Edit 1: also very interesting thread on Hackernews about a story written on Ars Technical about this infographic.