Tuesday 8 May 2012

The Importance of Free Mobile Applications, There Impact, Advertising & Engagement

MobileApps are becoming an ever increasing business and a must have accessory for a plethora of companies. Approximately 1 in 3 applications are ad-supported, freeversions. Developers are no longer monetising apps only by selling them.  They are now increasingly focused on app engagement.  This shift maps directly to consumer preference.  According to previous studies 95% of the adult population who owns a Smartphone prefers to download free apps. Even affluent consumers share this preference.
As developers continue to adopt ad-supported models for their apps, they will increasingly value engagement metrics. They can measure app engagement in a variety of ways: 

Number of minutes per session 
Number of users who update their app's
How many times an app has been referred to a friend

Each of these engagement metrics can directly affect monetisation which ultimately determines whether or not a developer can keep a free version of their application on the market.
So, what are some of the ways an app developer can improve upon and monetise app engagement?
On-boarding experience. New users are a critical revenue stream for developers, however the majority do a poor job of engaging users after apps are downloaded. According to analytics firm Localytics, 26% of all apps downloaded in 2010 were only used once. It sounds simple, but an app should do what it is supposed to do and do it well. Keep in mind, the new user is judging whether this app is engaging right off the bat. 
Keepexisting users engaged. You must build a good relationship by providing the best possible user experience.  Great App Developers keep in mind that the majority of users are operating a device that has a small touchscreen. The user interface needs to be as unobtrusive as possible.  The focus on a good user experience also extends to the advertising shown to support the app. Understanding how a user interacts with an app will determine the best placement for an ad.  
Ultimately, the aim is to delight. That is, to understand what your users want and exceed their expectations. The Angry Birds app, for example, is simple, yet delivers a highly immersive experience that is comparable (if not richer) to the website experience. As the user navigates through the app, he or she can download music, discover similar games and so on.

The paiddownload isn’t the only path to happiness. Even the smallest detail can be unexpectedly delightful and improve engagement.  More engagement means more advertising Pounds. More revenue means developers can keep their apps free and increase downloads. And, in this economy, saving a pound or two courtesy of your favourite mobile app can be downright delightful.