Have you ever wondered how some apps go viral virtually overnight? Everyone dreams of creating something that millions of people will find fun, useful, and downright addicting. What they don’t understand is that creating something so influential that people can’t seem to get away from actually has a science behind it. It is said that apps are born viral. But really, apps are born viral only if they are created with virality in mind.
It helps to know what “viral” even means. “Virality” is defined as “how many new customers will use the products as a consequence of each new customer who signs up”. There are a few basic principles to keep in mind when brainstorming your app’s functionality. These include finding your niche, connecting with emotions and vanity, drawing the user in during the onboarding process, and making sure that your app is trustworthy.
It is vital to fully know and understand who your audience is before commencing the creation process. Truly knowing your audience enables you to understand what your ideal user needs and wants before they even realize it themselves. It doesn't matter if your idea is not 100% unique, as long as it serves your niche audience better than your competitors.
Tapping into a user’s emotions may be one of the simpler roads on the journey to making an app viral. Whether we are excited, angry, entertained or anything in between, it is our nature as humans in a technology driven world to share our feelings. Congratulating your user or sending them funny push notifications may just bring a level of satisfaction to their life that keeps them coming back for more. Vanity aids in the sharing process as well because users want to share information that makes them look good.
It is important to draw a user in right from the onboarding process because this is one of the first experiences the user has with your app. Because of this, the process should not be boring, complicated or lengthy. The step by step flow should be an intuitive process. This is also a great time to gain valuable information about the user such as an email address or a connection to their Facebook profile. That being said, trustworthiness is another key feature that all viral apps should have, so make sure you prompt your user on what information of theirs is being shared.
The viral coefficient is the secret sauce in any popular app and can be calculated through the formula N x P1 x P2. N being the average number of new users each active user invites, P1 being the proportion of invited users who become active users and P2 being the proportion of users who invite other people. In order for an app to go viral, it must have a viral coefficient greater than 1. This will ensure that your app will have exponential growth. If, however, your app has a viral coefficient less than 1, your app will not experience much growth at all. Note that “timing” is one variable missing from the formula. Understanding the time range that it will take a user to share your app with their network is a key ingredient.
Once you have ensured that your app is solving a problem, providing value and appealing to a specific niche, it is time to start thinking about the viral loop. The viral loop is when users create more users that increase the engagement of existing users. As users continue to share and become more and more engaged with the app, the overall value will start to increase. The viral loop will allow an app to have a lower cost of user acquisition.
It would be a shame if the launch was not as successful as you hoped. Simply uploading to the app store will not ensure that your app makes it to the top charts. It is vital at this stage to improve your apps recognition. It is suggested that Tuesday is the best day to launch an app because it allows for four whole days before the weekend for the app to climb rankings. Aside from featuring an app on Apple and Google app stores, many developers forget to feature their apps on other stores like Amazon and Windows. Amazon even offers the option to make an app free on the first day of launch. This could help increase the initial download volume. Additionally, a little PR can go a long way if done properly. Pitching an app to popular review and technology sites for a mention could be of great help in getting the word out about a new app. Social media and video promotion are also useful tactics when marketing a brand new app.
Even though your app has been created with virality in mind, there are still a few tests that it will need to pass to ensure that it will hit the ground running. Your app needs to have something that is valuable to users that they will want to share with their network. This should make the consumer excited and should be something that they can easily share. The main functions should be simple. Sharing and onboarding should be designed with as little steps as possible and one click is preferred. Another resourceful option is offering rewards and incentives to encourage certain behavior such as sharing and referrals. Rewards can include free upgrades, themes, characters, discounts, etc. Notifications and reminders should be implemented to keep reward tactics and core features at the forefront. However, there is a fine line between useful reminders and spam.
It can’t be stated enough how important it is to keep virality in mind when creating your app. Virality is something that needs to be embedded in the core of your application. Gamification of the app will help create a need for belonging as well as incentives and competition between users. It is this community feeling that promotes shares by satisfied users and makes an app go viral. Speak with a MobileTek expert today to learn more how they can aid in the creation of your app.