The importance of app design in safeguarding a business’s reputation
Mobile app adoption has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Consumers downloaded a staggering 130 billion apps in 2020, and consumer spending in app stores rose by 25 percent. Yet, app abandonment has also soared to 25 percent.
With the app market becoming increasingly saturated, the end-user experience has become one of the most important drivers for success. If a customer’s app experience does not align with their needs or expectations, they are becoming increasingly likely to hit the uninstall button, to the reputational detriment of the brand in question.
Houseparty, for instance, went from an overnight viral success story to a crippling failure due to the app constantly crashing, draining battery life and sending users irrelevant notifications. To foster greater customer loyalty, optimizing the post-acquisition experience is therefore essential, but so far, only the most digitally savvy businesses have acknowledged this fact.
So, where do businesses need to concentrate their efforts if they are to safeguard their reputation and leverage the potential of app optimization strategies?
Onboarding and Accessibility
Today there are an abundance of mobile apps, so it is no surprise that many organisations primarily focus on user acquisition to stand out above the crowd, but these efforts will be in vain if the user experience isn’t given equal consideration.
From the very first moment a user engages with the app, they will expect their experience to be slick and convenient, and this starts with the on-boarding process. These initial interactions will help to develop habits for the user and create a lasting impression of the business. It’s therefore crucial to consider smaller details such as soft opt-ins, hints and tutorials.
In many respects, simplicity is key. If you make the onboarding experience too complicated, you risk alienating users. Equally, too many authorizations or options can make users frustrated and trigger them to delete the app altogether. Instead, focus on creating an onboarding experience that is intuitive to the users’ needs and reflects your brand or business ethos.
If users are abandoning your app during the onboarding stage, it is not only your revenue stream that will suffer, but your reputation as well!
Today, the performance of a mobile app reflects directly on the brand itself. According to a recent study, over 70% of users believe that app performance is crucial to a business’s image, and also affects customer loyalty. Every second counts, so it’s vital that businesses prioritise app performance.
Instead of leaving users with long loading times or ‘glitch-y’ apps, businesses must implement performance management solutions to mitigate against these flaws. They must also test their apps during peak usage times and across all applicable platforms and iOS versions. An iPhone 7 performance and experience won’t be the same as an iPhone 12 for instance.
Developing an app isn’t a one-and-done process. Businesses need to ensure there is an active communication channel between the developers and app operators to guarantee that any crash reports are being looked into and that the app is constantly being optimized to suit the user’s evolving requirements, as well as embracing the latest iOS and Android technologies.
Communication and Personalisation
Users are expecting more from their apps than ever before and, as part of this, expect brands to facilitate a personalised experience. As a result, unique messaging and unobtrusive interactions have become core elements of a positive user experience. Anything less, and there are countless other apps waiting to take its place on their home screen.
Whilst push notifications, for instance, can be a great way to communicate with your users, when used excessively, or inappropriately, they can have a negative impact on a business’s reputation. Ensure you are sending dynamic content relevant to the exact day, time and location a user interacts with your message, rather than bombarding all users with a torrent of generalised notifications. Also, consider the format of the interaction. For example, push notifications with action buttons and video can be more effective than text alone and app inboxes have 100 percent reach compared to email.
By analysing user engagement with your notifications, you can amend your messaging to better suit their preferences. This will not only help to retain existing users, but also prevent customers from getting frustrated with an app and ultimately, the brand itself.
Technical Flaws and the User Experience
Mobile apps have become the new interface for brands and businesses, acting as a virtual shop front with a footfall of billions of people. Alienating customers through a poor user experience as a result of technical flaws will not only have a detrimental impact on the brand’s reputation, but will also have significant knock-on implications for revenue streams and the longevity of the business.
One study found that 53% of users have uninstalled or removed an app from their phone due to technical flaws including crashes, freezes and update errors, and 20% of users will delete an app if it requires excessive data consumption.
Businesses therefore need to address these concerns in equal measure if they are to retain users and ensure the long-term success of their mobile apps. Whilst mitigation strategies will be crucial to circumvent these problems, it also pays to be transparent when any technical issues do arise and to notify the user of the steps you are taking to remedy the situation.
Monetising your app
The majority of users will appreciate that many apps are free and supported by in-app advertising, particularly in the games and publishing sectors. As a result, they are happy to accept these adverts as part of the app experience, but, as with all transactions, they will have their limits.
Whilst in-app monetisation strategies and mobile advertising can open up access to new revenue streams, businesses must always prioritise the customer experience ahead of anything else. Intrusive adverts which are persistent and do not have any relevance to a target audience can leave users annoyed and push them to abandon an app all together. It is important to think strategically when it comes to in-app advertising and apply content streams that will resonate with your users and make them feel more engaged.
Moreover, if your app monetises through subscriptions or in-app purchases, consider optimising the conversion funnel. This involves events post-install which might include registration, adding items to a basket and eventually a checkout. This funnel needs to be examined in detail from the user’s perspective to optimise and streamline the process. Remember, a 5% improvement to your conversion funnel decreases your Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) by 5%, which amounts to an incredible saving for businesses!
Today, customers expect their experience with a business or a brand to align across all channels of interaction, whether that is in a physical store, online or on a mobile app. It’s crucial for businesses to have a comprehensive app strategy that aligns with their wider brand ethos and to provide a positive user experience that supports ongoing customer loyalty.
A poor user experience will impact on a company’s finances and can have a detrimental impact on their reputation. Once users have abandoned your app, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to get them back. So, rather than investing heavily in user acquisition, prioritise getting the app experience right to maximise the return on your advertising spend and protect your brand.