6 Questions Successful App Development Companies Can Answer

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Partner Post - Clicktale Build a better digital customer experience

Posted: August 11, 2016

Yael Tolub is the VP of Marketing at Clicktale, leading the company’s worldwide marketing initiatives and driving awareness and adoption at global fortune 500 companies. Yael has a global perspective of marketing, having lived and worked on three different continents (and counting!). Prior to Clicktale, Yael held product and strategy roles in various companies, including MediaMind (today called Sizmek). Yael holds a LLB from Hebrew University, and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Yael Tolub

In app development, Product Managers likely have the Mission: Impossible theme song playing in their heads as they get to work in the morning. The challenges they face on a daily basis make Ethan Hunt’s escapades seem like a walk in the park (or in front of a green screen).

Making your app stand out means conquering challenges of ecommerce, abandonment, development, QA, and marketing. It means dealing with app store approvals and the seemingly insurmountable challenge of delivering a phenomenal experience to the app’s best and most valuable users. Failing to deliver the best possible experience has a negative impact on business because it hits the would-have-been-best customers.

By 2017, there will be over 268 billion worldwide mobile app downloads. By 2020, consumers are projected to spend over $101 billion on mobile apps via app stores. The industry is immense; the potential is boundless. And yet . . . The average Android app loses 77% of its daily active users (DAUs) within the first three days after install, and 90% within the first 30 days. In fact, a recent comScore report showed that “roughly 80 percent of smartphone app time is spent with users’ top three apps.”

Share of time spend on mobile apps in US in 2015

share of time spent on apps

Source: Comscore

App Product Managers often have digital intelligence solutions that provide some answers as to why users abandon their apps:

  • Analytics tools show where the leaks are
  • Testing tools show which versions perform better
  • VoC solutions show feedback from the most disgruntled or the happiest app users (which is usually only 1% of the user base)

But the most important questions are left unanswered, even with an arsenal of these tools at your disposal. This has caused a proverbial line to be drawn in the sand, separating successful apps from the others.

As it turns out, those that are successful, can definitively answer these 6 questions. Can you?

Why are users getting frustrated and abandoning?

Even successful apps, like Facebook, experience user abandonment (teens are leaving at a rate of over 1 million per year). What sets successful apps apart is that they understand why users abandon their platforms.

Less successful apps may be adept at tracking their DAUs and the rate of abandonment, but they often don’t understand the reason for the abandonment. Without understanding the reason, implementing changes becomes a game of Russian roulette.

What specific changes to my app will yield the biggest or fastest wins?

Whether they’re aiming to improve the customer experience or increase revenue, successful app owners understand the specific changes they need to put on their roadmap to win.

While it takes time and resources to make changes to an app (coding, development and QA, app store acceptance, etc.), successful apps always have a plan for specific improvement that will have measurable impact. These changes are based on consumer behavior data, not simply a hunch or an idea “borrowed” from a competitor.

What do you base your iterations on?

Which app content creates engagement and which is being ignored?

Successful apps don’t just have usage data. They also have granular metrics that enable them to always be in the know about which content is resonating with which user segment. Armed with this information, they can continuously optimize content to perform better and test new content based on data-driven hypotheses in places where the current content is not effective.

Which content performs best for your top segments? Why?

Why are customers leaking from the funnel?

Conversion funnels, by definition, have users abandoning at every step (if they didn’t, they would not be shaped like a funnel). Much like decreasing DAUs, leaking funnels are par for the course.

Successful apps do not convert every single customer. They do, however, understand the why behind each abandonment. They understand the persona and the psychology behind the behavior.

Why are your shoppers leaving?

What steps lead to a crash?

Software has bugs, and successful apps are not immune. Even Google’s YouTube crashes occasionally. The difference is that successful apps understand the steps that led to each crash scenario. They can then duplicate the behavior, isolate the bug, fix it, and create unit tests.

What caused your app’s latest crashes?

How is the experience different for different users?

The options are endless. There are countless devices, a wide range of connection speeds, different mobile and WiFi networks. It is impossible for your QA team to test every feature on every possible configuration. Pokémon Go was not tested on every phone model on every network around the world, either.

Successful app developers understand the different user experience nuances of different configurations. Not because they test every possible combination, but because they have app experience analytics that give them granular visibility into each segment’s behavior.

Answers come from understanding users

Successful apps can answer these six questions. If you do not know all the answers yet for your apps, the reason may be due to a gap in your tool stack. Zuckerberg’s team doesn’t learn the necessary insights by osmosis. They have a toolset that gives them insights about leaks, crashes, VoC feedback, and segmentation comparisons.

Product Managers of successful apps are stealthy and resourceful, just like Ethan Hunt. They use app experience analytics to add an extra value layer to their app analytics by obtaining visual insights that enable them to experience the app from the viewpoint of their users.

To better serve your users, you must first seek to understand their pains, frustrations, and motivations. You must be able to see your app through their eyes. Only then can you create experiences to thrill them, retain them, and turn them into loyal advocates and evangelists.