The Life Cycle of a Mobile App

The Life Cycle of a Mobile App

It’s a fair bet that every mobile app developer alive daydreams about hitting the mother lode, that magical app that makes millionaires and lets you quit your day job.  It’s no secret that the mobile app market is exploding, of course, but unfortunately it’s becoming more and more difficult to get that one app through that will rock the industry.  Success is still the goal, of course, and in order to have a better shot at achieving that success, it’s important to understand how mobile apps move through the market once they’re launched.

Fortunately, MTV Networks recently commissioned a study that does exactly that.  It isolated four discreet steps in the life cycle of a mobile app, and understanding them can be extremely important for mobile app developers.

  1. Discovery:  Traditional marketing techniques haven’t served the mobile app industry well, but this isn’t necessarily bad news.  Most apps that succeed do so primarily through user reviews and word-of-mouth, a process that can be better achieved through a more mobile-friendly marketing strategy.  Speaking of discovery, check out the picture of Engineer Mountain (north of our home town of Durango) – if you ever get the chance to discover Engineer Mountain, jump on it!
  2. Adoption:  Whether or not a mobile app is “adopted” depends in large part on the monetization model it uses.  For free apps, user reviews are the driving force behind successful download volumes.  For paid apps, the availability of a free or lite version—known as the “freemium” model—is the determining factor
  3. Trial:  Mobile app users are clearly an impatient lot.  As many as 40% of entertainment apps are deleted within three weeks, and while the grace period is a bit longer for game apps, ultimately 75% of those disappear from users’ phones
  4. Abandonment or Long Term Usage:  It turns out that an app’s category is substantially less important than its utility and ease of use.  “Fun and function” are the driving factors for lasting customer loyalty.  It might be a bit frustrating to developers to know that the most important factor for lasting use is that an app “feel good,” but it’s useful to know that thorough testing, content writing, and graphic design are every bit as important as what the app actually does.
Got an idea for a mobile app?  Send me an e-mail and we’ll get you started on developing it!

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