© Vivolution Limited
Author: Dr Gavin Scruby
So you’ve got a great idea for an app. Everyone will want to use it and you’ll take over the world. Well, you’ve got the same idea as the other 20,000 people publishing new apps to the App Store every month. That’s great, but unless you’re really careful, all that effort could be for nothing – think how many new apps you actually use consistently each month. We can’t promise that these tips will make your app a success but you need to have considered all of these points before you even start looking at building something.
Okay, so you have an app idea and you think it’s a good one. There are many things that will affect how well it does, and most of them depend on the execution, design, responsiveness, or even whether it just happens to catch the Zeitgeist or media imagination (think Flappy Bird). There are some more fundamental questions that you need to answer before anything is built though, and this will decide whether it’s even worth taking the idea to business case. Let’s have a look at them.
Why would a user download your app?
This will not be as obvious to a potential user as it is to you. If you can’t get the essential idea over to someone in about 20 words, it’s too convoluted. Additionally, a slightly prettier news reader might be just the new sensation you’re looking for, but is that also the case for everyone else? Think of things like:
Once a user opens your app, how long does your user stay in it? One of the key value indicators for advertisers/acquirers/investors is how long average sessions are. Ask yourself:
Why would a user re-open the app once they’ve closed it?
This is something that’s often neglected. There are many apps that are opened once and then just clutter the phone’s home screen, never to be used again. The number of return sessions is another key metric for investors. You have to have a strategy for getting the user back in to the app after the first use. If new content appears and the user isn’t told, what is there to nudge re-engagement? Consider things such as:
What drives user growth?
This is related to the question “Why would a user download your app?” but here we mean how do users introduce new users?
How does the app make money?
This is more complicated than saying 59p/download and assuming development costs and profit will be covered. Many people will not want to pay for something before seeing some value. Some users will just hate adverts – it depends on the type of app and how adverts are integrated. You need some back of the envelope calculations to be certain the numbers stack up, at least roughly. Make sure you think about:
Even if you have good answers to all of these questions, that doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. So much depends on the execution and luck, but having these answers in place will at least give you the start of a business plan or make it obvious that your great idea is not great enough… yet. Good luck!