Global spending on apps exceeded $100 billion in 2020. It probably comes as no surprise that app usage is up — way up. They make our lives so much easier, allowing us to track our fitness, read the news, order food, shop online, and watch TV shows and movies.
But with so many apps available, not all of them can succeed. The competition for users’ attention is fierce. That’s why in 2021, you’ll need a solid, cohesive strategy for developing and perfecting great apps.
#1 Expect Fluctuations
Your app usage statistics won’t always be consistent. Your app will have ups and downs during different times and seasons. Unexpected events can affect usage, too. In order to persist through unforeseen circumstances, you need to prepare and have an in-case-of-emergency strategy in place. Part of this should be the ability to accommodate surges of users, as well as drop-offs, without crashing.
#2 Do Extensive Market Research
What do users want? As you set out to build a new app or perfect an existing one, you’ll need to gather intel on your user base through extensive market research. Through tools like focus groups, surveys, and other resources, you can gather data on customers’ pain points and needs as they pertain to your product. The goal is to figure out how you can solve their problems with your app.
#3 Look to the Experts
As with all areas of your business, you should put projects in the hands of people who are experts in the particular niche. In this case, that niche is software development. If you have experienced, knowledgeable, and highly skilled developers on staff, then they can lead the initiative. Otherwise, look to an outside company to help you create a standout product.
Even if you have developers working for you, you might also benefit from extra assistance with certain aspects of the software development process, such as quality assurance testing or implementing key features.
#4 Make It Smart
The Internet of Things (IoT) has fundamentally changed our way of life. It’s used to power smart devices of all times, from home appliances to entire cities. And at the center of it all is the mobile app. If you can leverage smart technology to develop an app that makes people’s lives more convenient, you’ll set yourself up to be a competitive player in the global app market.
#5 Always Have Compliance in Mind
As part of Apple’s iOS 14 update, users will now have to opt into Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), meaning that users must give permission for apps to collect, track, and share data about them.
This is just one of the many ways businesses must alter their marketing and overall strategies to remain compliant with the laws and regulations governing apps and software and in general. Before you develop or make alterations to an existing app, ensure that you or your legal team have thoroughly investigated any rules that apply to your business.
#6 Think 5G
5G is becoming more ubiquitous. As it is rolled out, it will affect app usage and the way they’re developed. Developers should be mindful of the best ways to leverage the network to improve their products. For example, with lightning speed on their side, developers can explore new media that depend on efficiency, like videos and augmented reality (AR) experiences, which must load quickly to satisfy users.
#7 And AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now long-established as a pivotal tool for engaging users. In 2021, software developers will continue to explore new ways to incorporate AI into their apps, from giving chatbots greater functionality to helping customers leverage voice assistance technology to make their experience more convenient and efficient. Increasingly, businesses will be able to automate facets of the services they provide to accommodate and satisfy more users.
#8 And Beacon Technology
Developed less than a decade ago, beacon technology takes apps that utilize location-based services to a new level. Beacons, wireless transmitters that leverage Bluetooth technology, can inform you about who is engaging with your product and enable you to better target campaigns accordingly. Many different industries, including healthcare, retail, construction, and others, are using beacon technology to provide superior location-based services to users.
#9 Make the User Experience Easy and Engaging
What kind of experience are your users having when they open your app? User experience (UX) has become such an important facet of app development that it now has its own specialists attached to projects — UX designers. These professionals ensure that the user has a smooth and engaging journey with your product, from being able to see clear, compelling visuals to navigating the app seamlessly to taking advantage of interactive elements like buttons.
With so much competition, the user experience will be even more paramount this year, as more contenders enter the market and search for ways to engage users.
#10 Prioritize Security
Hacking has seen a surge in recent years, with cybercriminals attacking apps in all industries, from healthcare to banking to social media. Since apps collect so much personal often sensitive data from users, this has been harmful and, in some cases, disastrous to businesses.
To prevent the worst from happening, you’ll need to prioritize security when developing your app strategy. Consider, for example, bringing in an outside specialist or white-hat hacker — also known as an ethical hacker — to spot and patch vulnerabilities and generally ramp up your cybersecurity efforts.
#11 Consider Different Types of Apps
Google Android instant apps emerged a few years ago, but they’re steadily gaining popularity. We’ll see a surge of these native apps that don’t have to be installed to try out, and in the future, we’ll see their popularity grow even more.
Progressive web apps, meanwhile, can run on multiple platforms, including mobile devices, while offering an experience that mirrors that of a native app.
These are just two of the many types of apps you can explore to stand out in 2021.
As the app market becomes increasingly saturated, developers and businesses will need to up their game to appeal to users, who have an enormous array of choices at their fingertips. Take the time to study the market, your current, and prospective user base, and trends that are both emerging and have stood the test of time in order to craft a plan that will make you a competitive player.