What to Expect at WWDC 2018

What to Expect at WWDC 2018

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2018 (WWDC) is steadily approaching and will be held June 4th-8th in San Jose, CA. This massive event will feature hundreds of sessions, labs, speakers and events, along with highly anticipated announcements on the latest products and software.

While WWDC 2017 shook up the app world by redesigning the entire App Store, WWDC 2018 surely won’t disappoint, based off rumors of new hardware, software and more. Here’s what to expect from WWDC 2018:

Product & Software Rumors

Rumors have been circulating about what Apple will announce at WWDC, leaving many to speculate what else the tech giant has to offer. In the past, WWDC has been the perfect platform to introduce the latest OS. WWDC 2017 introduced macOS High Sierra and the highly anticipated iOS 11 that came with a full App Store redesign, and even the 2016 show introduced macOS Sierra and iOS 10.

In true Apple fashion, we can expect to see announcements for the next macOS release and possibly the reveal of iOS 12, as well as watchOS 5 and tvOS 12. App developers should keep a close eye on the new iOS announcements, as they will need to prepare to update their apps accordingly.

In addition to software announcements, there is a chance that new hardware will be revealed as well. As previous events have unveiled iPhones 3G, 3GS and 4, the expectation is that Apple will announce a new iPhone SE or iPad Pro, perhaps even a new MacBook. While we do not know the specifics of what will be revealed, there is no doubt that WWDC will include big announcements for upcoming Apple products and software.

Special Events

The five-day event will also feature a number of sessions, labs, consultations and other special events. The schedule features a wide range of activities and events, including several app-focused sessions like Creating Apps for a Global Audience and I Have This Idea For An App… which should be excellent resources for app developers.

The jam-packed week of events is sure to help new and experienced app developers improve their skills and get their ideas translated into apps faster than before.

Where to Watch?

For those not in attendance, they can watch the keynote livestream on Apple’s website, which begins on June 4th at 10 AM. The livestream will continue to broadcast all the announcements throughout the week.

After the conference, check back here for our wrap-up article, where you can learn about the news and announcements from the conference, as well as what they mean for app developers and App Store Optimization (ASO).

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Why Small Businesses Need Mobile Apps

A common phrase known around the world is “there’s an app for that.” If there’s an app for nearly every need, why aren’t more companies making mobile apps? Well, big-name businesses like Starbucks, Macy’s, and more have successfully shifted their business platforms to incorporate mobile. Thanks to their efforts, they’ve managed to capitalize on m-commerce, which alone is forecasted to reach $284 billion (roughly 45% of total US e-commerce) by 2020.

Businesses big and small recognize that having a website alone is no longer enough. Apps are the future of communicating and engaging with customers, so businesses should start incorporating mobile apps into their business models sooner rather than later.

How Apps Benefit Businesses

In 2017, people on average spent more than 5 hours a day on their mobile devices. Knowing that users are actively engaging with their phones shows the importance of moving into the mobile space to increase a company’s visibility and drive sales. Additionally, there are some key benefits that come along with creating an app:

  • Instant access to companies’ products anywhere and on-the-go
  • Creation of an additional revenue stream that entices customers via Push Notifications of latest offers and coupons
  • Easy capability to highlight products or services your business offers
  • Maintain and acquire new customers with a new channel from which they can access your business and easily make purchases

Nearly 60% of shoppers use their mobile device to research products and make purchases, which makes having an app vital to remain competitive in the current market. Companies with an app can keep customers regularly engaged with a gentle but frequent reminder that the business is present. This encourages users to interact with the app and can help build a loyal customer base.

How Has the Market Changed?

The proof is in the numbers: there are roughly 4.2 billion global mobile users, and out of those, over 38% are global e-commerce users. $2.87 billion in sales were generated from Black Friday in 2017 and nearly 80% of those sales were online transactions. It’s clear that consumers are going mobile for their shopping needs, which makes it critical for small and large businesses to have a mobile presence.

With billions of users and sales at play, more businesses are developing apps to capitalize on the growth of the mobile market.

Having an app available does not always guarantee success. As such, it’s equally important to have an effective marketing strategy to drive in users in the app stores. Keep App Store Optimization (ASO) Best Practices in mind when developing an app to ensure that it’s visible to users.

Why Develop an App for Your Business?

Any business owner that is entertaining the idea of developing an app should take the plunge and create one to expand their business’s reach on potential customers. During the development process, developers should leverage an ASO strategy to make sure their app’s metadata is relevant and up-to-date on current user trends.

Business owners that focus their efforts on marketing their app with ASO can engage with their customers easily and immediately expand their company’s name faster. More importantly, having an app will increase their bottom line and maintain brand loyalty.

Consumer behavior continues to change with advancements in technology. The businesses that can thrive and succeed are those that not only adapt to those changes but leverage them for a competitive advantage. Mobile apps are now a key part of the consumer experience, so businesses that want to remain relevant need to develop accordingly or be left behind.

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Is This the End of Google Play’s Feature Graphic?

Google has been quietly removing the feature graphic from their Google Play Store, as seen by devices running the latest OS and play store versions. While the update began in late April 2018, more users are reporting that the feature graphic has been removed completely. While it’s uncertain if all Android devices are affected, it’s presumed that the change will soon appear.

Since the feature graphic is essential for converting users, its loss will have an impact on all developers. How should they update their ASO strategies to prepare for the change?

What’s the Impact?

The feature graphic plays a vital role in driving user downloads on the Google Play Store. Our internal research has shown that the feature graphic accounts for up to 30% of all conversions. The removal of the feature graphic could have a detrimental effect on apps that do not update their other creative assets (icon, screenshots and preview video) accordingly.

In the absence of the feature graphic, the role of converting users will heavily rely on the app’s screenshots and video, which now position higher on the screen to compensate. Additionally, to fill the gap left from the removal of feature graphic, Google has lifted the restrictions on screenshots sizes, giving developers leeway to add landscape or portrait images of any size to their Google Play Store product page.

What Does the Update Look Like?

Presently, the feature graphic accounts for the top third of the product page, meaning that it’s the first creative asset users see. Users are immediately drawn to the image and understand the app’s purpose while being encouraged to download. Many apps, mobile games in particular, use the feature graphic as the poster frame for their preview video.

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Following the update, the app’s icon, star rating, and “Install” button now take up the top part of the page. The preview video, which was often displayed as a play button in the middle of the feature graphic, now resides in the same area as the screenshots. All creative assets serve the same purpose despite the cosmetic redesign. Now that the preview video and screenshots are in the same area, developers should A/B test their creatives to ensure that they’re still converting users.

What Developers Should Do to Compensate

The loss of the feature graphic means that the other creatives will be even more important than before. Be sure to follow ASO best practices for screenshots and creatives, so that they’ll:

  • Catch users’ eyes
  • Demonstrate the app’s functions
  • Encourage users to download

As the roll out continues across devices, developers should not discard their feature graphics yet. The change is being seen on multiple devices, regardless of whether users have downloaded the latest updates, but it is still a slow transition. Until the feature graphic is gone on all devices, it still serves an important purpose.

The change is coming, and all app developers should be prepared for it. Make sure your creatives are up-to-date and optimized with best practices in mind. For good measure, you should A/B test them and get ready for the impact that the loss of the feature graphic will have.

Good App Store Optimization requires constantly adapting to the new app landscapes. This is a big change to the Google Play Store, and one that will impact all developers on Google Play, so the time to prepare is now.

Instant Apps

Instant Apps: What Are They & Will They Benefit Developers?

Have you ever wanted to try an app before downloading it? Developers are constantly looking at new strategies and tools that will help them improve conversion and retention, but many suffer from users that download their app and either open it once and uninstall, or never even open it.

In order to improve conversion rates, Google released Instant Apps, also known as Google Play Instant. This feature, first introduced at Google I/O 2016, allows users to try an app or game before installing it. At the Developer’s Keynote at Google I/O 2018, the tech company announced their latest plans for Instant Apps, and that the feature is now available on 1.2 billion devices worldwide running Android 5.0 or higher.

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The number of apps annually downloaded is steadily increasing, and in 2017 alone, 82 billion apps were downloaded on the Google Play Store. Similarly, the number of developers that reached 1 million installs grew by 35% since 2017. Developers that immediately jumped at the opportunity to utilize Instant Apps are surely a contributing factor to the numbers above, but is there any real promise that they’ll benefit developers in the long-run?

Are They Available to Everyone?

When Google first announced the concept to developers, some questioned whether they could be made for all apps or only a select few. They released the Instant Apps SDK to all developers in May 2017, and gave game developers a gift of a closed beta right before GDC 2018. Six games sported a new “Try Now” button right next to their “Install” button. The placement of “Try Now” is a strategic maneuver to encourage users to demo the game before deciding to download. As of now, Instant Apps are available for all mobile games.

Instant Apps Candy Crush

On May 10th, 2018, Google later stated that they would be integrating ARCore into Instant Apps. The example Google provided was for shopping apps and detailed how users can operate their device’s camera to look at products. Looking at the shoppable item then displays a link to an Instant App that would allow them to purchase items without installing the app.

The possibilities are endless with Instant Apps, especially now that AR will be integrated into the experience. Even though AR will most likely be used through search more often than not, it still shows that Instant Apps are beneficial in other areas other than the Google Play Store to improve app discovery. While Instant Apps seem favorable for users, can they help developers engage a larger audience?

How Will Instant Apps Help Developers?

The concept of Instant Apps is a promising one, and Google has enticed developers with success stories of apps that have already begun utilizing it. Apps like Hollar and Wego have increased their purchase conversion by 20% and 27% respectively thanks to Google Play Instant. Additionally, game developers like King and Hothead Games have also improved their player acquisition by using the Instant App APK.

Google has also been testing Google Play Instant with AdWords. They revealed at their annual conference that their ads have driven 10 billion app installs, and that more users are engaging with playable ads. These examples demonstrate that Instant Apps can help developers increase user engagement and revenue. Given the level of competition on the Google Play Store, it only makes sense for developers to create an Instant App for themselves to boost their bottom line and expand their audience.

Should Developers Make Instant Apps?

Being able to use and play an app or game without installing it sounds beneficial to users because they won’t need to worry about using up precious space on their devices. The concept of Instant Apps is still also increasingly tempting to developers as it can ultimately help to increase user engagement, session duration, conversion rates and more.

Instant Apps are incredibly beneficial to developers and users alike, making it key to success on the ever-growing Google Play Store. If you’re an Android developer, you should consider using Google Play Instant to aid your ASO efforts.

Lifetime Value of Users

Understanding the Lifetime Value of Users

Not all users provide the same value to an app. Multiple casual users provide different benefits than a few dedicated ones who constantly use the app, for while all users are important, the ones that continually use it provide more to an app’s success than those who just download it.  This is why it’s necessary to understand the lifetime value of app users, from those who download an app and never open it to “super users” who use it on a daily basis.

This lifetime value is determined by looking at three important benchmarks:

  • How much they spend
  • How long they use the app
  • How many new users they bring in

Each benchmark is important for determining an app’s success and long-term value.

This does not mean that short-term users aren’t valuable. Users that spend nothing but bring in several new downloads can still provide value. This is also true for a user who spends a great deal but stops using the app after a few weeks.

Average User

The value of the “average” user is the mean value from all users, ranging from those who never spend a thing to the few who provide the vast majority of profits. This is the baseline from which all other values are determined.

While the numbers will fluctuate based on the company, Forbes estimates that the average revenue per app user comes in at around $3. However, this value is offset by apps that bring in a large amount of revenue, such as Google. The median value, which is closer to what most apps will see, is less than $2.

When considering these numbers, the app’s cost per user must also be deducted, which makes the value significantly lower. Successful apps can see millions of users on a daily basis, causing a large quantity of these “average” users to contribute at a high value.

Despite having so many average users, their combined lifetime values will most likely never amount to the value of a single “super user.”

Super Users

The highest-value users, referred to as “super users,” are those who use the app on a daily basis and constantly spend money on it. These users contribute most to the app’s success in terms of profits and bringing in new users.

Super users make a small fraction of the app’s users, based on the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 Rule. This rule states that 20 percent of users will create 80 percent of the profit within an app. Super users themselves are a small percentage of that 20 percent, yet they create the majority of the app’s profits.

In terms of monetary value, super users will spend far more than the average user. Microtransactions create the biggest divide in this regard. The super users are those who will frequently make in-app purchases in addition to using the app consistently, with some paying tens of thousands of dollars to unlock everything. They also tend to invite their friends to join, thus providing more value.

The super users provide the highest lifetime value. A single one may spend more than hundreds of other users combined, even though they only make up a fraction of an app’s user base. This is why it’s important to pay attention to these users, but still not neglect the other, more common users, who provide their own value.

Frequent Visitors, Infrequent Spenders

The two most common users are those who use the app often but rarely spend anything on it and those that use the app rarely but tend to spend when they do.

These users are ones who browse a shopping app but wait for a sale, or those who use the app only when they know what they want to buy. They’re the users who play a mobile game but don’t buy any microtransactions, or listen to a music app and sit through commercials rather than upgrade.

There is value in these users. Having active users is important to the success of an app, even if they make purchases less frequently. Their numbers still count towards total users and can compensate for their lack of activity with high spending or vice-versa.

It is possible to convert these users into higher value users. Special discounts and deals can encourage them to spend more per visit or to visit more frequently. Using limited time offers is a great way to attract infrequent users.

While this group may not provide the same value as super users, they still contribute to the 80% of users that help make an app successful.

Download and Delete

Unfortunately, some users who download an app do not stay long enough to contribute to its success. They’re the ones who use the app once then forget about it, or worse, delete the app without even using it. Since they do not spend any money on the app and they’re not active or bring anyone new, these users provide no value.

In order to limit these users, it’s imperative to have strong user retention strategies. This means providing them with good service and an easy flow from the start. Make the onboarding process smooth and quick, provide value early on and give incentives to use the app.

Without focusing on retention, you may find more users slipping into the “no value” category. Even those who provide a good initial value can have a lower lifetime value overall if the app fails to keep them coming back in the long run.

To Conclude

The lifetime value of a user is determined not only by how much money they spend but also by the time they expend on the app and how many users they bring in. While super users provide the greatest value in all three benchmarks, they make up only a small percentage of an app’s user base. The remainder of an app’s value comes from the average users who should not be neglected. This is important to ensure long-term success and a steady retention rate.