By Dennis Clemente
SAN FRANCISCO–What a difference over a year makes. In the Yahoo conference I attended in New York City in 2016, an eternity in the tech world, the panelists were not as confident about the future of apps, as they talked about how apps are either downloaded but not used or downloaded less because people need space on their smartphones.
Then early 2018 reports by QZ.com pegged the 2017 revenue of apps at $26.5 billion, bigger than Starbucks and McDonald’s for the same year, which made me curious how the Mobile Growth meetup sponsored by Branch Metrics at the Yelp offices last January 23 would turn out. Of course, companies know that for their app business to thrive, they have to add more gigs to their phones.
So it seem the app industry figured out that dilemma, thanks to utility apps like uber and how technology and marketing work together these days. Proof: App store optimization, push notifications, first-time user experience on an app and paid acquisitions may be tech solutions, but they’re also marketing-driven tech solutions. Users are constantly engaged.
The two — web apps and mobile apps — have again managed to co-exist.
The panelists Jay Garg of Yelp; Genevieve Owyang of Realtordotcom, James Chang of Udemy and Carrie Buonaccorsi of Pandora Music shared their insights on the mobile phone industry -and why it’s all good again — and how to keep apps relevant.
Partnering with the right companies can be extremely beneficial on both sides, said Buonaccorsi. The partnership of Panora with TMobile. which involves sharing of Pandora Premium, reportedly saw a 14% uptick on number of trial starts.
Buonaccorsi said she uses its closest competitor’s app to understand it. “You have to know your competition in order to improve your product.”
Owyang suggests running an A/B test through the Google Play Store.
As for analyzing a new user versus an existing user, Chan made great points about not making onboarding one-size-fits-all, and by extending the onboarding experience beyond the first few screens.
“Don’t forget to check if (people) use the app within the first 7 days after download. If they don’t, they never will,” he said.
“Word of mouth really helps. On our listing detail pages, users typically want to share the app with their partner, friend, or family member. We also ask (in a friendly way) that they download the app,” said Owyang.
And testing is crucial. “Sometimes, you don’t have enough users to run tests. In these instances, consider cohort analysis,” said Chan.