In the last few years, the mobile app market has exploded. As of June 2013, it is estimated that 900,000 apps populate the Apple App Store. With such a vast amount of apps to choose from, how is a customer to choose which one to download? Once they’ve decided on your app, how do you keep them interested? Recent research has shown the average shelf life of an app is only 30 days. Standing out and retaining customers in the market is certainly one of the biggest challenges facing developers today. However, there are solutions, such as the optimised use of push notification services, available.
Think of the last time you downloaded an app or game. What made you keep coming back to it? Most successful games right now follow a certain template in their design. There are clear goals for the customer to follow, with appropriate rewards when they are reached to make them feel accomplishment from the task. There are also rewards given every day when the customer opens up the app. Also, many apps include seasonal content, for example at Christmas, which is available for a limited time only.
In addition, there are social elements used to keep friends playing together. If one person is stuck at a certain part of a game, they can reach out to their friends (usually via their Facebook friends list) through the game for help. This can bring a player back to the game who may have been neglecting the app themselves. Also, goals within the game often focus on adding or contacting friends through the app, thereby spreading word of the app in a very cost effective manner.
The apps that use this model, such as Where’s My Water? and Minion Rush, are successful because they are designed with the customer in mind. A game will get boring and stale very quickly if the consumer is asked to repeat the same tasks day in, day out. Achievable goals and rewards mean a player will come back again and again and get the most out of your app. Since both the Android and Apple App Stores are now factoring the ‘stickiness’ of apps in their rankings, how do developers achieve this with their own apps?
This is where push notifications come in. These Apple and Android notifications act as a ‘nudge’ towards the player, reminding them to play your game. In most games, push notifications are used to remind players to perform an action, usually within a specific time frame. However, they can be used in much more creative ways, to allow you to keep your players involved in your game and increase your Frequency of Visit ratio. Why not use them to alert players when their friends have visited them with gifts? Share short term rewards if the player opens your app in a specific time frame? There are multitudes of ways to use push notifications that haven’t been fully explored yet.
Services such as Dojit Notify can be used to create these kinds of push notifications. Using the system provided, the developer can create personalised notifications for their players, sharing tips and rewards that are geared towards each individual. The whole process is done online, through a simple interface that allows the developer to create notification recipes in seconds.
This means that the consumer receives a much more personalised, involved experience from your app. When they receive push notifications that are meaningful to them, they are more likely to stay with your app and keep logging in everyday, keeping your app successful!