Are you interested in building the next viral mobile application? Did you know you now need to get in either 23K free daily downloads, or 950 paid users each day (approximately $12K daily revenue) to be in the top 50 iPhone apps, according to TechCrunch.
How do we do even begin to think about creating viral mobile apps that can achieve this level of success? The easy answer is we take lessons from those who have successfully launched mobile apps in the past. You do not need to reinvent the wheel.
Five Lessons 0n Building A Viral Mobile Application
1. Make sure your app works on multiple platforms.
This article will not discuss the Android versus iPhone debate that users love. When you are developing an app, you can create it for one specific platform, but in today’s segmented market you probably need to create an app for both major platforms, or better develop it for all major Smartphone OS.
The reason for this is simple. Check out mobile phones manufactures, and you will see the vast majority of phones exist in both platforms. This means for you to hit your target audience, you need to place your information where the clients are spending their time. Optimize your chances for success.
2. Keep your app simple.
No one wants to go onto their phone to play around with an app that does not work unless you fill out a ten-page registration form, and then have to sit through 5 more pages of instructions to get started. User interface is crucial here. You want to make sure that new users can quickly use the application without much fuss.
Inc Magazine recently wrote how some, “…companies are in such a hurry to launch a new mobile app that they forget to consider the entire user experience flow, starting with discovery in the app store.
Think about your favorite applications? Why did you start using them? Why do you use them today?
The first time you used Angry Birds, did you spend an hour figuring out how to use a slingshot to shoot down the pigs? No, you downloaded the app, and 2 minutes later you were deeply engaged in the game. You kept playing, because you understood how the game worked.
3. Make your key feature repeatable.
Going back to Angry Birds, have you noticed that the system is the same no matter what level you are playing? Sure, they add some challenges to each level, but the concept is the same throughout. The idea here is that if you are alone you can turn on xyz app, and start using it whether someone else is online or not.
Think about Pandora, the internet radio station on your phone. On my Google Play app center, the description for the app is free, personalized radio that plays music and comedy you love.
They do have sharing features, so you can share cool music with your friends on Facebook. However, you do not have to, if you do not want to share the music. As I write this article, Sweet Home Alabama is playing on my Pandora station. The only person I shared this with is you. Otherwise, I will be listening to the Beatles station all day long while I am working.
4. Integrate sharing into your app.
Now, let me add a caveat to the repeatable user, who uses your app all by their lonesome. For you to get the app out there, you need to have a sharing feature. How do you expect to build a viral mobile application if you do not have a way for people to share your app with their connections?
This might sound basic, keep in mind that the shareable part of the app should not be an obstruction to users. Instead, you should incorporate it as part of the application.
TechCrunch put it best when describing Words With Friends sharing feature. “The premise of ‘Words‘ is simple: you fire it up and are playing a Scrabble-like word game against one of your friends in seconds. There’s no single player mode — the entire experience is built around multiplayer.”
The entire game revolves around sharing the application with friends, so you can play online with them. If you do not have a friend to play with, then you need to go on Facebook to invite them.
5. Reward your users!
Your users shared your application with their friends. Great! Now, how do you treat the person sharing your app afterwards? On Quora, you get points for answering questions. FourSquare is famous for their quirky badges you get for participating in various events. The key here is to reward your users for what they do to help you.
Not everything is monetary rewards. Think of giving them something they can appreciate and brag about to their friends. I was mayor of a few places when FourSquare came out. People wanted to know more about the application from me, because I was the mayor after all.
Creating A Viral Mobile Application
Creating a mobile app starts with thinking about what your target market wants. When Evernote created an online cloud note service, they realized that people need a space to take notes wherever they go. You must determine why people would want to use your app, or it will go into the dust pile of apps that have come before you and failed. Creating a popular mobile application is all about finding out what others want, and presenting it in a simple way.