Webvisions notes: Good App Bad App by Jason Glaspey


Good App / Bad App
Jason Glaspey
  • Audience Survey
    • How many have smartphones - All
    • How many downloaded at least 5 apps -- Half or more
    • 10 or more -- a quarter or so.
  • Companies are saying...
    • What’s our mobile strategy?
    • Should we have an app?
    • We NEED to have an app.
  • Mobile has exploded
    • 10 billion app downloads
    • over 350k apps on iOS
    • 30-50 apps per person
    • mobile app revenue > $15B this year
  • Your app has competition
    • 40 hours per month spent in-app
    • people download 15 apps per month
    • but, on average, 1 month lifespan
    • 26% of apps never opened a second time
  • An app isn’t enough. Even a GOOD app isn’t enough.
  • If people don’t have the problem, and aren’t searching for the problem that your app is solving, then you have to go through a lot of work just to reach those people.
  • Brand Loyalty
    • How many of you have loyalty to a brand?
    • Do you search for an app for a company?
      • Example: Guy searched for VW app, hoping that there would be an app to provide an experience of what the new car would be like.
    • But this is exceeding rare that people are looking for an app so a company can market to them.
  • Most loyal brands in America
    • Ford, Facebook, Apple, Dunkin Donuts, Sam Adams, Cheerios
  • Do you need an app?
    • People are coming to Urban Airship because their boss said “we need an app”.
    • What should it do?
      • Don’t know, don’t care, it just has to be good.
  • Would a mobile website be enough?
    • Sometimes an app can be really lightweight - for search, the Google app does voice recognition.
    • Sometimes it doesn’t need to be. Google doesn’t have a Gmail app, just a really good mobile app.
    • Google uses apps when apps make sense, and web content when web makes sense.
  • Pros of an app: 
    • You can have a badge on your homescreen. Can promote engagement.
    • Can have push notifications, e.g. getting an alert when someone mentions you on twitter. Hard to do with web apps, easy with apps.
  • Cons
    • It’s expensive. Are you going to be on iOS? On Android? Which Android? On Windows? On Symbian? On Pre? Well, no one is on Pre.
    • It’s easy to find people to code html. Harder to find good web developments.
  • Sometimes your mobile strategy is: “We don’t need one”.
    • An air-conditioning company asked “What should be their Facebook strategy?”
    • “You don’t need one”
    • They don’t believe it.
    • They spent thousands of dollars trying to get to the 100-friend requirement just to have a vanity URL.
    • It was really about covering your ass: the marketing manager didn’t want to say to her manager “we don’t have a facebook strategy”.
    • Unless you have a product that a customer will be looking for on their phone, you probably don’t need a mobile strategy.
  • Know Your Audience
    • Do they identify with their phone?
    • Or are they just trying to solve a problem?
    • The people who identifies with their phone may spend half the day trying to find the coolest new thing. But the person who just uses it to solve problems just wants to do that, not be bothered with app updates and complexities.
  • Your App Needs to Tell a Story
    • Breitling: Make an app that shows their watches. Totally pointless. You could have just put the content online. The app is about the company.
    • Weber’s: their app helps you find recipes that are specific to the BBQ. The app is about making the customer more powerful. It makes you the perfect BBQer.
      • And it makes sense... you don’t want your laptop sitting on the BBQ. You can pull up your phone.
    • (Note to self: Get Weber app.)
  • Toyota Example
    • Web app to totally configure, price out, and order cars on the website.
    • But people aren’t going to do all that on their phone.
    • But, what about an app that lets you take a picture of your VIN number. And then the app alerts you when you need an oil change, gives you a coupon, and tells you when they have a bay open.
  • Don’t create barriers to your app. It’s hard enough just to get them to your app.
    • Coke came up with an app called Lifecycle.
    • The first thing the app did was make your log into Facebook. They didn’t even know what the app would do.
    • No one used the app. They didn’t trust Coke enough to blindly log in via Facebook without even seeing the benefit.
    • Then they added a “skip this step” button. Usage went up.
  • Know Your Apps and the MotivationsBehind Them
    • Revenue: Angry Birds
    • Branding: Weber On-the-grill
    • Utliuty: ESPN score center
    • Product Extension: xfinity remote dvr control
    • Storytelling: Democrats
  • Howe will they use it?
    • Drive-thru apps: 15 second usage: word play. 
      • Don’t make a long loading sequence or require saves if the user will use it in tiny increments.
    • waiting apps: 1 to 5 minute usage
      • Angry birds, YouTube
      • opening quickly, closing quickly
    • Entertainment: 5+ minutes
      • plenty of time
    • Utility: 
      • make it fast.
  • Why Would Users Download?
    • Does it have a clear valuye proposition?
    • Are people asking for it?
    • Will you have to market your marketing app?
  • Why Would Users Return?
    • Keep track of how people use it, and add to that.
  • The best apps have deep content.
    • TripIt
    • Nike Training Club
  • Push Best Practices
    • Don’t spam or over-send, or they will turn off notifications.
    • Track active devices to see if you’re oversending.
    • You want users to LOVE getting your messages.
    • Give lots of control to the user.
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