This post was originally published on AdWeek.
This New Year is expected to bring many new and exciting prospects for mobile. But while there’s definitely a lot to look forward to, there’s no better time to look back and reflect on all the things we could have done a little better. For app developers, this is the perfect opportunity to re-think their product and goals. So, before fireworks light up the sky and the champagne kicks in – spend a minute or two in front of your whiteboard and write down your New Year’s resolutions for 2015. To make the task easier, here are a few suggestions to help take your app into the next year:
1. Go on a (speed) diet: Many developers add every feature out there, instead of investing their time in perfecting the app’s key features. The result is a busy interface, combined with a lack of attention to the details that can turn your app into a solid product. Instead of shooting in all directions, ask yourself why your app needs this specific feature. If the answer isn’t clear to you – your users will probably ignore this feature, trendy as it may be. This year, give your app a speed diet and get rid of redundant features.
2. Nurture your relationships: Personalization has been the name of the game for a while now, and if you’re not devoted to customizing your app and marketing messages to the right audiences – you’ll find yourself falling behind in the App Store rankings. This year, take your connection with users to a new level. Make sure to customize your offers to differentiate between users who have made purchases and those who haven’t, tailor your creative messaging to the user’s profile and let users know just how much they matter to you.
3. Learn to ask for help: Gifted and capable as we’re sure you are, you can’t do it all on your own. If you’ve decided to take your app and yourself seriously, reach out to experts in various fields and make sure your product turns out just as brilliant as it should be. With all due respect to your basic Photoshop skills — it’s time to get in touch with a graphic designer. Even if you think you can succeed without them, you need marketing specialists to move forward. Your app deserves to become a hit and insisting on doing it all single-handedly might stop it from doing just that.
4. Stand out: After investing in developing your product and designing it, you have decided against devoting resources to create a proper app download page. Instead, you have chosen to upload basic in-app screenshots and hope for the best. This scenario is the equivalent of opening a haute-couture clothing store and displaying rags in the window. Users will reach your download page via beautifully designed ads, only to be disappointed and move on. You will lose both the money you’ve invested in building the app, and whatever it is you’ll end up paying for every click that leads to a bland page. This year, invest wisely in ASO-tailored screenshots to give potential users a pleasant experience when visiting your app’s download page.
5. Focus on what’s really important: Most developers have only one thing in mind when working on their app – the number of installs. Well, let me tell you a little secret: Installs are not your challenge. Incentivized installs have become the norm for many companies, and user retention proves that the trick is no longer to drive installs, it’s to acquire users. Engaged, loyal and paying users are what you should truly aim for this upcoming year. Don’t be blinded by the numbers: 2015 is the perfect time to toss the CPI talk aside and focus on the data that really matters – getting the right people to install your app and use it frequently.
The fast approaching countdown can stress out even the coolest of developers. Breathe in and keep in mind that your dear users are drafting resolutions lists of their own. If you’re lucky enough to provide them with a solution to one of their goals 2015 could be a very interesting year for your app. In other words: Celebrate New Year’s right now, because as far as work goes – the party has just begun. Happy New Year!