What Makes a Mobile App Really Sticky

11 / Nov / 2016 by Shweta Sharma 2 comments


We all would agree that our lives are highly influenced by apps revolving all around us. Our day starts with an app and ends with one – Be it travel, expense management, shopping or work. There is an app for everything and there are multiple for one specific problem or purpose. For Instance, I remember using LiveTrekker a free travel diary app on a travel – With just a tap this app starts tracking user’s movements via GPS and allows them to document travel experiences through interactive maps, videos, pictures, voice, and text. It also allows them to share documented experiences in real time or upload them to a cloud for sharing later. The app was quick and simple to use with a great UI and most importantly it served the main purpose. Precisely, if an app has a clear purpose for its existence with a clear usability that a customer values, for sure the mobile app will have a higher acceptability. But, what is it, that makes a customer stick to few chosen apps and ignore the rest?

Here are some stats according to a Mobile Consumer Survey by The On-Demand Economy, 2015.

  • Mobile app developers are competing aggressively for installs, and only 1/4 of the apps installed on a smartphone are used each week
  • Smartphone owners are still hungry for great new apps
  • Mobile advertising is an effective tool for promoting app awareness and installs

If we go into the details of each industry type and app usability – the factors that bring stickiness can be really unique, however, there are some common ones that broadly define the acceptance of an app in the market.

User Value Proposition: Why should I use this app? What value does it hold for me? An app should have a valid rational to be carried and used on a smartphone. For Instance – Recently, I was struggling to keep an accounting of my expenses and was discussing it with a friend. He suggested me an app for the same, which was really great and served the purpose. It automatically categorized all my expenses by reading bank transaction alerts from messages and gave me a monthly expense dashboard, analytics on maximum spend categories and much more. The app now sits on my homepage and is accessed regularly.


Smartspends – An Expense Accounting App

Good User Interface & Experience: The UI is the first thing that a user comes across when he opens an application. The more engaging, intuitive it is, its acceptability goes high. For instance – ‘Find my Friends’ allows you to easily locate friends and family through your smartphone and is known for its UI Design. Another one is Instagram, which offers an engaging user experience. As per a report by Sourcebits, 35% of Instagram’s 300 Million active users access Instagram numerous times a day and use it for approx. 21 minutes every day.

Find my Friend

Friend Finding App

Personalization: Many mobile apps are doing a great job by offering personalization. Most users want an engaging app experience and prefer an app that speaks to their needs, wants and likes. The best example is of the popular music apps, almost all of them leverage analytics to capture user’s likes and preferences and tailor the content or offers accordingly.

Personalization of Mobile Apps

Personalization in Mobile Apps

Optimized Performance: There is no point in beating around the bush, we all know it is extremely critical for an app to perform seamlessly as the world is moving fast and a consumer has less patience to wait for an app to respond. Let’s take the example of Flipkart, in times when they run campaigns targeted to a huge set of audience, monitoring and optimizing the performance becomes critical. The traffic on the servers’ while running such campaigns increases causing latency issues. This can be very well handled through Infrastructure Monitoring Tools.

Mobile Apps Performance

Mobile Apps Performance

Feedback Mechanism: Feedback gives insights into what your users like in your app and what additional features or improvements you can incorporate to take your app to the next level. Again, don’t indulge in too complicated feedback styles – remember to have minimum clicks, make it quick, simple and easy for customers to give feedback.

Mobile App Feedback

Mobile App Feedback

Promotion and Marketing Strategy: Though, I would have talked about it in the beginning but I have saved the best for the last. Getting seen or heard is the first step for a mobile app success. A successful app is mostly dependent on marketing as compared to development, as an app can be highly useful, but – What if it doesn’t get seen or heard at all? Unless you have a brilliant mobile marketing strategy to tap your target audience, your app will get lost in the sea of apps out there. As per the Mobile Consumer Survey Report published in 2015 by On Demand Economy, states 57% smartphone users have intentionally clicked on a mobile ad for an app. It is clearly evident that a promotion is an attractive value proposition to get a user to make their first purchase through a mobile app. Aim to get in the eye of the customer first. Like google even on app stores, it is mostly the first – 2 to 3 options that get picked and downloaded. Other deciding factors are the customer reviews, star rating and references from friends and family. There can be numerous ways to promote a mobile app, such as – having a blog and a landing page, using videos and social media, app reviews etc. But remember, no matter how great you are at promoting your app if it has a painful navigation, UI, and UX – It will be abandoned soon.

Most of the mobile application development service providers who are providing iOS app development services or Android app development services are aiming to build great apps with stickiness in them and it’s only possible if the development happens by opting a customer first approach.


comments (2)

  1. Jake ferandes

    This is a really interesting article about sticky mobile app..I’m agree with you and your points.Keep it up.!!!!!!!!!!!


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