Why mobile app success is more than just download numbers
Over the past three years, the mobile landscape has been dominated by big numbers. Hundreds of thousands of apps on millions of devices downloaded billions of times. It’s like the early days of the Web all over again. Think unique Website visitors and page views. A lot of numbers, but with what net result?
A million downloads can make for a nice story, but they really don’t tell anything interesting, and they don’t equal success. It’s very difficult to build a business on a $0.99 app, let alone on a free one.
Along with downloads being mobile’s incorrect measurement, we’ve seen executions missing just as often. People have been trying to take what worked on the Web and shove it at mobile. But the rules are different now, so you have to change how you think about, treat and present content within the new medium.
As the conversation shifts away from download data to engagement data, it’s clear that the winners in the next three years will be those brands that have figured out how to drive engagement and create a conversation with their users through their apps.
Mobile is, by its very nature, an intent-driven platform. You pick up your phone to make a phone call, check your email, look up sports scores or play a game while waiting in line. Successful mobile apps have learned to take advantage of the intent-driven nature of the mobile channel and have designed apps that create ongoing user engagement. They are not developing static brochure-ware apps or feature-by-feature replicas of their Websites.