Guest Post: 5 common problems every app developer faces

by Stefano Sassu, a vp with Ask Partner Network

App development has grown exponentially in the past few years, with new apps hitting the market every day. Such saturation means that developers are facing new and harder challenges throughout the development process. Here are my five common problems that app developers face and how to remedy them.

Poor adoption and download rates

A great app is nothing unless people are using it. Because of this, one of the most pressing challenges for developers is promoting their apps.

The following initiatives are best practices that all developers, from the highly-funded to independent, can utilize to push for high adoption rates: -

  • Have a web page promoting your app that is optimised for both desktop and mobile use
  • Utilise social media channels as free promotional tools
  • Boost your search rankings in the app store by creating a name and corresponding description that includes search terms
  • Include screenshots of key features of your app in the app store
  • Engage with multiple app stores to increase distribution and exposure

Lack of ad click-through rates & conversions

Another challenge for app developers is the ability to select the advertising format that is best suited to their app and engages their audiences.

A best practice is to test different ad formats, as well as ad networks, to see what performs the best.

Apps that are heavy in content, such as a news app, may benefit from using native, in-stream advertising where the ads blend in with the page content, while a game might be best suited for interstitials.

“Knowing what types of ads to use is only half the battle”

The other half consists of targeting the ads to your audience’s demographics and preferences. Work with your ad provider to ensure the ads they serve are best suited to your users.

User Experience Comes First

If developers must follow one rule, it should be – user experience comes first.

App developers should first perform research to determine who they want to target, what the audience expects and what their preferences are.

User testing is an important step because developers often think differently than consumers.

For example, the developer may want the navigation buttons on the left side of the screen, but after user testing, results may show that users prefer the navigation at the bottom of the screen.

By knowing their users, what they expect, and making sure the user experience comes first, developers are more likely to create a compelling app that will be used again and again.

Surviving unexpected growth

While creating ‘The next Angry Birds’ is every developer’s dream, there are challenges with growing too quickly.

Some challenges of going viral include weak company leadership, insufficient app infrastructure, an inability to support high volumes of users, and limitations with customer support.

Developers that are successful during expansion have shown that the following actions are essential:-

  • Have a clear understanding of your revenue model and how you plan to become profitable
  • Employ re-engagement tools to maintain users
  • Know the most effective channels for building an audience, and keep acquisition cost per user below revenue per user

Be honest on privacy policies

Privacy matters are a top concern for consumers, and app developers must be clear on how their apps are tracking information.

As part of this, developers must take the time to read and understand how any third parties they work with are collecting and using information, and what that means for the consumer.

As a best practice, all privacy policies and end-user license agreements should be presented and accepted before the app is installed on the device.

The increased saturation of the app marketplace means that successful developers need to be more marketing savvy, cater to user preferences and continuously innovate.

Though developers face several challenges along the app development journey, those who overcome these five challenges will have a clear advantage against competition and will be positioned for further growth and profitability in the future.

Author biog

Stefano Sassu, is vp for product development & marketing with Ask Partner Network. Stefano is a well respected leader in mobile entertainment who has built innovative businesses in the USA and Europe for over fifteen years. In this role he is responsible for overseeing the effort for all mobile initiatives, setting overall strategy, and maximising mobile search and advertising opportunities for the group. Prior to Ask Partner Network, Stefano held a Vice President Position at FOX Mobile Group, where he provided result-oriented product management for multiple entertainment brands while developing profit-driven mobile services and applications for FMG’s customers. Before joining FMG, Stefano started his career in the mobile space as Head of Product Development at Dada (acquired by NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese provider of mobile voice, data and multimedia services). He was responsible for the management of on-deck and off-deck partnerships with international mobile carriers, aggregators, OEMs, as well as media partners, overseeing all lines of operation and financial performance for the B2B division of the company.

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