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How to stand out in the mobile app store—in 6 steps

Paul Krill | June 15, 2017
With the volume of apps out there, it can be tough to get noticed. But if you develop and present your apps well, you’ve got a real shot.


Credit: geralt via Pixabay

You spend countless hours building a mobile app that works properly. Then you submit it to the app stores, it gets released, and … nothing happens.

App store optimization is a huge need for mobile developers, who need to work on discoverability and persuading users to download, says Amir Ghodrati, director of market insights at mobile app analytics firm App Annie. 

The good news is that there are steps developers can follow to boost their chances to stand out in the app stores. Here are the six key steps you can take to get your mobile apps noticed. Notice how the first three happen while you’re developing your app; it’s important to get the app right in the first place, because no one is fooled for long by lipstick on a pig.

 

Step 1: Be mindful of performance, functionality, and security

About one in four downloaded apps are opened once and never used again. Either the app does not match its description or it simply does not offer compelling functionality.

A common deficit in mobile apps is when they do only what your company’s website already does. There should be a reason to use the app instead of the website, such as geolocation and easy digital payment like with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

It’s critical that an app work smoothly and appear secure. If the app comes across like an amateur project, users will not trust it. That’s especially true in sensitive areas like health and finance. “People are absolutely freaked out if they’re doing something where they’re trying to transact something with finances,” such as using a credit card, and the app goes "glitchy,” says Peter Blair, vice president of marketing at Applause, which crowd-tests mobile applications and devices. Once a trust is broken, it can take a long time to win back a consumer if the brand is not strong enough.

For security, encryption is particularly is important to have applied to the data in your apps.

 

Step 2: Be aware of platform and geographical differences

Developers need to be aware that while users quickly adopt the latest version of iOS, the Android world is different. “Almost no one is on the latest Android,” Blair says. That fact matters greatly in how you design your app.

Having users on the same version of iOS makes it easier for developers, who do not have to worry about older versions of iOS not supporting new features, Ghodrati says. But Android apps can’t depend on the latest Android features, since few users will have that latest version. Android apps typically should be optimized to a version from two, even three years ago.

 

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