Mobile apps are a great way to retain customers, empower brands and improve bottom lines, but companies must first convince consumers to download and keep using their apps, which is no small feat.
According to Nielsen, the average smartphone app user older than 18 years of age has 42 different apps, but 87 percent of those individuals use fewer than 10 mobile apps each day, and 55 percent only take advantage of between 1 and 4 apps over the same time period. It's clear that brands must create the best apps in order to keep customers engaged every day.
So, let's take a look at what some winning apps have in common.
Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, Google Search and even Facebook have slimmed down their smartphone apps, making the design and user interface much more discreet, modern and clean. Taking cues from the original iOS software seems to be working for those mobile apps, as they rank in the top 15 on comScore's list of apps with the biggest audiences. However, if you're pursuing clean design as a way to chase the cool factor and you neglect app performance, then it won't matter how smooth your app looks. Guaranteeing flawless performance to match your app's pretty face takes serious mobile app testing, but the businesses mentioned above clearly understand the importance of app testing and quality as they continuously show up on top lists.
"Ensuring the continuous quality of an app is what gets users to stick around."
Among all features of a mobile app that matter most, readability is paramount. The problem is that there are literally hundreds of different devices and screen sizes, and some businesses forget that text and content must be consumed with as little effort as possible, regardless of what phones or tablets consumers are using. Multiple reviews of The Guardian app specifically mention that the format of the news app makes it nice to read and easy to use. It's no wonder that the app's average rating is 4.5 stars.
In April, Google was not included on comScore's top 15 smartphone apps list, but in May, it placed at No. 14. What changed? Well, Google kept updating the app, adding performance improvements and better support for GIF images, allowing them to load more quickly. Those efforts were rewarded with app store reviews detailing how great the latest update is. Ensuring the continuous quality of an app - and the excellent reviews that result - is what gets users to stick around.
Use Existing Phone Features
The common thread between Uber, Google Maps, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify and other popular mobile apps is that they all take advantage of the existing capabilities of a smartphone or tablet - from cameras to GPS to fingerprint reading. After all, consumers buy these products due to the cool technological features included, so it only makes sense to leverage them. Of course, this opens the door for bugs, especially on the newest devices. But that's why cutting-edge businesses test apps rigorously and continue to monitor them after they're in production.