How do I make my app successful ?


Short Answer : You localize it and you use more permissions (wisely of course).

As the number of apps within platform ecosystems  such as Google Play, iTunes, Windows app store begin to cross the million apps mark, there’s a question that’s increasingly of concern to developers (individual and coporate) – How do we make our apps successful ? The notion of app success can refer to both financial success of an app (amount of revenue generated) or simply number of downloads, depending on the business model of the app and the goals of the developer.  The interwebs is full of anecdotal and practical suggestions regarding app success such as  those from adweek (partnerships, promotions, and better distribution can improve app financial success) and forbes (built-in virality, great user experience, market segmentation can improve success). Many of these suggestions hint at the importance of marketing, promotion and “virality”. Many times, developers struggle with non-existent marketing budgets and virality can have a huge element of luck. To further understand factors influencing success, I conducted a study (using data from the Windowsphone mobile app store) that sought to examine what application attributes (which developers could implement apriori) were related to success.  I identified app diversity/localization (the number of geographic locales an app is built to support) is of particular significance as a potential driver of app success  and app cohesivity (a measure of integration with the platforms services) is positively associated with app success (its download count/rank within the platform). Interestingly, both relationships appear to be moderated by the pricing scheme (free vs paid) adopted by publishers for that app. And that’s what this post is all about.

Minimizing Search Costs with Increased Diversity (Localization)

Here, I consider app diversity as the number of geographical locales which a given app supports. As software platforms are globally available to vast user audiences across such multiple locales, it is important to consider the effect of such a variable. From a related perspective, diversity of open source project teams has been identified as a driver of the success of open source projects . In the case of users within platform ecosystems, the transaction costs required to successfully install an application resides primarily with the search and information costs of finding the applications usually within the platform distribution channel.

Maximizing Utility with Increased App Cohesivity (Permissions)

Apps delivered within platform ecosystems can be designed to implement varied levels of integration with their respective platforms, and this integration holds great potential to provide extended value to the final user. We refer to the extent of this integration as app cohesivity. The existence of these integration options represent boundary resources that serve to both support application publishers in the design of new apps as well as help platform operators control the evolution of these platform ecosystems. These integration options also formulate the basis for publishers to create innovative applications unforeseeable by original platform designers.  For example the Android platform allows applications access to platform services such as location based services, payment services and social media services. In this regard, publishers can improve the richness of their applications, boost user engagement and build trust when they integrate services made available by platforms. From our knowledge of traditional microeconomic theory which informs us that consumers are involved in a utility-maximization process and work to allocate their limited resources in amongst available options, we conjecture that applications with platform integration will provide higher utility.

Data Collection Context

Data was collected from the Microsoft Windows Phone Store which is the primary distribution platform for windows based mobile devices. The Windows App Store is still in its growth phase, provides relatively more information on its apps compared to other apps stores, making it a suitable test bed for studying the dynamics of apps within such distribution platforms. As at the time of this data collection the Windows Phone Store was host to over 175,000 apps  and games . With over 1 billion application downloads, the Microsoft Windows Phone  Store serves windows phone users in over 191 countries . It offers a variety of services to developers including app upload functionalities, app release management tools, app dashboards and other project management tools. We have selected a cross sectional slice of the top free downloaded apps (N=600) and top paid downloaded apps (N=500) from the Windows App Store as our sample of apps. A software agent was designed specifically to crawl the application web pages on the Windows App Store and extracted relevant pieces of information associated with each sampled app.

Data Analysis

About Vykthur

Mobile and Web App Developer and Researcher. Passionate about learning, teaching, and recently - writing.
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