10 tools to make a mobile app that goes viral

The biggest trophy a developer can get today is a good rating on App Store or Google Play. Nothing else compares to the joy of seeing your app shining bright on the ‘featured’ section of app stores.

10 tools to make a mobile app that goes viral

However, it takes a lot of effort to make your creation go viral. In the developer’s world, user reviews are deem an important marketing option, because 90% users spend their time on apps, rather than mobile web. What else do app developers swear by? Take a look at these 10 most important tips:

1. Understand the viral loop
To acquire users nowadays is like spending hundreds of dollars on a doubtful investment. Chartboost reports that the average cost of acquisition is $2.69 for iPhone and $3.30 for iPad. Not to mention if the app isn’t launched in a region, it may go up to $5.20. There’s only one way out of this: turn your users into a sharing medium, and invite a new wave of apps users via them. That’s where the viral loop comes in. It is a very simple and old strategy:

 See>Install>Desire to share>Share>See

It works like a loop because every new user brings in a new set of users, because people are most likely to download an apps when someone suggests them, rather than trusting an app enough to get it. That’s where virility comes in. Users have to like an app a lot to send it to top charts, thus making an app viral. Once an app is viral, it’s everywhere automatically.

2. Create content worth sharing
Does your app have something that strikes the emotions of users? Evoking emotions and touching the heart strings of users often gets your content popular. Apps are also going viral like memes, because they have some unique point people can’t stop talking about. The simple app 2078 earned billions of downloads last year because it was highly interactive. Remember Flappy Bird? All you need is a brilliant idea that just can’t stop amazing people, and goes viral by word of mouth.

1 interested user shares >1 download, 2 interested users share> 2 downloads

And it keeps going on and on.

3. Make your app work effortlessly
Ever installed an app that gives you such a hard time logging in, that you ended up deleting it? That should be a big NO for your app. Make logging in easy as a breeze. Give users multiple options to log in via Facebook, Twitter or Email. This will make their entry to your app smooth, encouraging them to explore. Add a step-by-step tutorial for users that makes them feel at home.

4. Reward your users on sharing
One way to hold on to your users is to reward them often on sharing the app. Gaming apps teach that best. “Get 5000 coins on sharing your apps on Facebook or Twitter” or leveling up when user shares your app. Give your users in app currency, additional storage, a free upgrade or some new features in exchange for a share. It is very annoying when you install an apps and it keeps bugging you to add friends. Do not be that spamming app. The very famous Circle app was also tricking its users into adding contacts in one tap, leading the app to be on app store’s top lists. Social media, however, didn’t forgive the sin and lots of criticism was fired at the app.

5. Use sharing buttons wisely
Sharing buttons are your weapons towards organic publicity. Don’t take them lightly. Provide the option of sharing a post across multiple platforms in one tap. Instagram does this. When sharing an Instagram post, you can just tick the platforms you want to share the post at. It will benefit your user. Include platforms most relevant to the nature of your app. The Air app includes sharing to WhatsApp and Instagram, because users usually share their flight details with these two platforms, thus it is driving 40% downloads from the two platforms alone.

6. Keep making your users come back
A survey by Google reports that 25% apps aren’t used after installing, and 26% are not used again after one time. To make sure that users come back to your app, send them timely reminders in the form of interesting notifications. The more you customize notifications according to the nature of your apps, the better. The infamous Stardom app that lets users play as celebrities, pulls them back by sending them notifications, titled ‘your fans miss you, please make an appearance’. Clever notifications drive the audience back.

7. Be open about user privacy
In the growing debate of privacy and content usage, don’t avoid the question of privacy. Transparency is very important to you as an app developer. Put out the terms and conditions and make them available for people to see. Give users full control. If your app users don’t have full control, or see their content on various social platforms, they will give you negative reviews on iTunes and might put a bad word about you on their social media profiles. The fitness app Teemo tells its users it won’t post on behalf of them. So does the app Sonar. It’s good to keep your users in the loop.

8. Offer users their gems
There can be no better example of this than Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram. These apps give users their personal space, and a fame that boosts their self-confidence. Popular Pinterest boards have thousands of followers, attracting business and PR opportunities. Provide your users with their little gems that they can post and brag about. Gaming apps also do it, like the Big Barn app. So do photo editing apps like Prisma. The Faces apps lets users make funny faces and provides a sharing option to users. When users get special content from your app, they will have no choice but to share it with the world.

9. Indulge users in competition
Candy Crush is a great example of this. The higher your level, the more prestigious your impression to others. Candy Crush also gives an option to users to call out for help when they get stuck. Various popular apps adopted this strategy, which actually helped in getting them more popular. Memes are made on app invites and their annoyance. To a common person it’s a joke, but in the developer world it’s no less than a blessing.

10. App Design
Designing an interactive app is the key element to making it likeable. You never know how viral your app goes because of its design (Angrybirds is a great example). You need the app to be ‘cool’ and very attractive to a potential user of today. Take Instagram as an example. Instagram just came out with an update that makes it look a lot like Snapchat, but they went ahead with the design. Once the users deem your app credible, they will stick to it through thick and thin.

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