In the first article of this two-part series, we talked about ten things developers can do to drive customer loyalty through their Ultrabook™ apps. We’re going to continue with that discussion in this article, and look at ten more things developers can integrate into their overall app strategy to encourage user engagement.
1) Push notifications: Push notifications are part of a messaging process in which an app can send information to an end user’s device, even when the app isn’t necessarily in use at the time. Push notifications can be a non-intrusive way to help customers stay engaged with a few gentle reminders and incentives. For example, say you’ve got a dating app with push notifications enabled. That app could send the end user messages from friends, pop-ups indicating potential matches, etc. Ultimately, the user is totally in charge of what notifications they do (or don’t) receive, so it’s imperative to make these messages relevant, contextual, and non-irritating. Since one of the Ultrabook’s most appealing features is AOAC (Always On Always Connected), push notifications are a natural fit since these can be delivered during even during sleep mode, popping up when the device is activated.
2) Range of devices supported: While consumers have many places from which to find and download their apps, one of the best hubs to find Ultrabook-optimized applications is the Intel AppUp® Center. One of the most engaging features of the AppUp Center is that consumers can install their downloaded apps on more than one device – up to five netbook devices, which makes it easy for developers to engage even more seamlessly with their users. People multitask across their devices, and apps that take advantage of multi-device platforms will follow the user wherever they are. You can find out more about AppUp here: Intel AppUp® Center.
3) Monetization: App monetization deserves its own series of articles, but for the purpose of this list, it’s essential when developers are looking to monetize their apps that they do so appropriately for their targeted demographic, usage habits, and relevance to the app. A recent study from mobile analytics firm Localytics suggest “the best way to make in-app purchase pay is to build loyalty and engagement, which can result in more revenue overall than a quick sell.” (source: GigaOm). What this means is that app monetization is based on trust. Consumers aren’t necessarily going to just throw money at an app, they need to know that it’s worth their time, especially if it’s an app that is meant to be utilized more than just an initial download and then dropped. Monetization is really best planned at the end of the entire development cycle after the full scope of customer engagement and potential trust/loyalty is surveyed within the app itself in order to make sure that the most effective route towards effective monetization is taken.
4) Design: Study after study shows definitively that good design has a direct corresponding result in customer trust and engagement. Users are instinctively drawn to good, unique design that offers a fresh look at known concepts and lets them interact with the app on an intuitive level. There’s a basic design framework that developers need to follow in order to create apps that offer easy navigation, deliver necessary content, and engage the user. To get an idea of what kind of design works with Ultrabook-specific apps, check out the Intel Ultrabook Community as well as the fantastic, pioneering work done by the contestants in the very first Ultimate Coder Challenge, a six week Ultrabook app contest.
5) Is there another app that does what you do better? Most apps are downloaded once and discarded. We’ve all done this: found something we think might work, download it, only to see within about one minute that the app doesn’t fulfill our needs, whatever those might be. There exists a very narrow window of opportunity to “wow” the consumer, and there are plenty of other apps out there that are willing to take your place if you aren’t up to the challenge.
6) User-friendly: If people can’t figure out how to use an app within a very short time, chances are that app is going to be dumped. Consumers aren’t looking for something that comes with a hefty user manual in order to make it work the way it’s supposed to; they are drawn to “out of the box” solutions that make them more productive, give them a little bit of entertainment, or solve a problem. One way to make your app more user-friendly is to consider building it in HTML5. The benefits from doing this is that there is no need to build a particular app over and over again since you’re no longer locked into a specific platform, plus, users are granted access to their content regardless of what platform it is developed on because access is based on subscription and not a download model. You can find out more about developing apps with HTML5 here: HTML5: A How-To Series for Ultrabooks, or here: Intel’s HTML5 Community.
7) Consumer ratings: It’s a fact: we are social animals, and we’re greatly influenced by what we see other people doing. This especially applies to apps. One of the most basic factors in what determines that initial download are the reviews from other people. Positive reviews and consumer approval can make an app wildly successful; on the other hand, one negative review can serve to undo a dozen reviews on the opposite end of the spectrum. Developers have zero control over what people are going to write about their apps (which is somewhat discouraging); however, they have 100% control over how well their app engages with the user to make an unforgettable, five-star-review experience.
8) Intrusiveness: Does the user need to jump through a lot of hoops to get your app on their Ultrabook? Do they need to allow access to personal profiles or fill out unnecessary forms? The more intrusive an app is, the faster that same app will go to the download pile. Some personal information is appropriate to ask for within an app, but be careful about it.
9) Have a website: Apps that really make their users love them will spark the need for further exploration, which means a web site. Consumers want to be connected to the apps that they use in ever more meaningful ways, which includes social and digital means of communication. A web site that is thoughtfully branded with the app itself will filter users to even more ways that they can interact with their favorite apps, and will create more opportunities for developers to improve the overall user experience.
10) The “It” factor: Remember that incredibly successful Old Spice campaign, featuring a muscular young man dressed only in a towel and a smile? That campaign had the “it factor”, an undefinable quality of coolness and fun that is instantly attractive. Apps that can bottle this kind of lightning will grow an incredibly large fanbase in a very short amount of time. Now, nobody is suggesting that you break out the tanning oil and beach towels for a (somewhat questionable) photoshoot, but there are a few things we can take away from the Old Spice campaign as related to encouraging customer loyalty through Ultrabook apps, including:
- Be responsive to your users
- Be entertaining
- Leverage the influence of peer and consumer review sites
- Make your app good enough to be shared
- Deliver a focused message
It's all about the consumer experience
In these two articles, we’ve gone through twenty different things that developers can do to encourage customer loyalty in their Ultrabook applications. It’s not just enough to develop a great app and release it into the wild. There is a very competitive landscape out there and consumers have a lot from which to choose from. Making your app the best it can be, and taking advantage of Ultrabook features to do so, will go far in securing a trusted place in the minds of consumers.