Meyer’s Top 10 Tips in Mobile/Social Apps
By Patrick Meyer
President, Sourcebits Technologies
Smartphones and Mobile/Social Apps are beyond a doubt the hottest area with consumers–and smart marketers. Here are learnings from Sourcebits’ developing 200+ apps and 4 years of mobile/social work including our December Knocking Live Launch ( #3 Social app in 48 hours behind Facebook):
1. Avoid Novelty Apps–Create Brand/Business Driving Apps (or forget it)! :Avoid the non-savvy marketer inclination to do a “poser” app. Focus on what drives/builds your brand sales or transaction-wise. Build it as a marketing move not a nice-to-have app you and your agency can point to. Fact: 65% of marketers have plans to do a first app in 2010.
2. Build A Brand WOW App . There 100,000 iPhone apps now and total Apple/other smartphone apps will be over 250,000 by 2011. Yet most apps will never be downloaded by more 20,000 people. The key is the Brand WOW! idea that intrigues the cyber press and app influencers, then millions of people download it. No WOW… no go! ( Btw, your partner needs to deliver innovative ideas/technology that capture emerging video, animation even Augmented Reality).
3. 1-2-FREE! Nothing beats free if you can do it. It will drive 10X the downloads versus PAID apps. The consumer will pay for a great app if your create initial demand. The best way to do that is to drive your app into the App Store Top 100. So you need go FREE with a Lite version to drive demand and then have a companion “platinum” version with rich content that everyone will gravitate to after Lite trial.
4. Go Cross Platform: By the end of 2010, there will be 125mm smartphones in the USA and double that globally. So you need to develop the iPhone and at least 2 major phones (70% of marketers will do iPhone), then Google’s open software Android is coming fast on 7 different phone brands (30% of marketers to do). Blackberry and Nokia are next based on your target’s profile.
5. Exploit The Dynamics of Each Phone/Platform: The iPhone has vibe, touch, feel, blow, compass/magnet, GPS, video, etc. The Google Nexxus 1 has the voice recognition search engine. The Sony Ericsson Android XT has its “spline” (a spline holds recent activity) and High Def video. Your app needs to be designed to create the WOW based on these varying dynamics.
6. Use Intuitive Design: Apple masters this: design so simple and intuitive you need minimal instructions. The UI (user interface) should be attractive, user friendly and smart. Seek out Apple award winning designers that can work across multiple platforms. And remember your 1.1 Update: everyone knows you might not get the overall app and design right out of the gate and they allow you to do so with your first update (within 4 wks of launch).
7. Build A Facebook Or Social Connection Into Your App: Gear your app and its launch for the social effect (1 person loves it and invites 200 friends to share the experience). This can make or break your apps being successful (our Knocking App shot to top 10 social apps thru this friendship viral thinking).
8. Build-in Mobile insight Tools: Not only should you beta test up to the launch/initial updates, but also evaluate your app versions via online/on-cam research and then mobile tracking software.
9. Be Ready For Global Demand: If you are USA or market/country focused, it doesn’t matter. App use goes everywhere thru word-of-mouth, tech-blogs and even “jail-break” phone users. So dial in your international counterpart and be ready for global response. At minimum, be ready for English-speaking countries (and it will still end up circulating in Spanish/Chinese/Hindi, etc.)
10. Catapult Your App With Mobile/Social Launch Plan: If you have never launched an app, understand that you and your agency(ies) traditional marketing think won’t work. You need a 3 month launch plan (for each app) that uses a different set of tools and techniques: from app store strategies to cyber/tech PR, from viral tactics to mobile media, you need an App marketing budget and expertise. (Goods news: less than $250k will get it done).
One senior marketing friend asked, “How are other companies handling mobile, social, gaming, etc.? It is all over the board: digital agencies and select PR firms are doing social. Mobile and gaming are usually being outsourced to a specialty firms. Not a simple solution–but usually not done by the ad agency.
Last thought: my company Sourcebits is one of the leaders in mobile/social app, gaming and digital solutions, working for the big tech players, Fortune 500 brands and even behind digital and mega-agencies. Let us know if we can help.
Patrick Meyer is President of Sourcebits Technologies (www.sourcebits.com) and can be reached on his iPhone at 646-620-6618. He posts on Twitter as PatrickMeyer.