A Mobile App Developer’s Biggest Holiday Challenge

What do mobile app developers want this holiday season? The answer is loyal users.

Countless mobile app developers have load tested their apps to prepare for the spike in downloads that holiday shopping and gifting will bring. While load testing is essential, if downloads are all that developers are after they will see an intense drop off once the holidays have concluded.

Steve Patterson of NetworkWorld says that a developer’s challenge lies in user data and loyalty:

“The mobile app developer’s challenge isn’t acquiring sheer volume of downloads, but downloads from users who will become loyal users. User loyalty means repeat engagement with the app and it is measured in terms of cost per loyal user (CPLU), compared to the expected lifetime revenue forecasted from the user, which should drive profit. A data-driven approach that tracks usage gives the app developer insight into the best marketing alternatives and helps determine where to invest development resources to enhance the product and capture new users. The compressed holiday season makes it more challenging.”

Patterson is right- simply developing an app is no longer enough.  Developers need to have insight into their target users, and have a plan to keep them engaged. Patterson also adds that a mobile app update right before the holidays can help to drive loyalty:

Daniel Ruby, Localytics’ director of marketing, says mobile apps updated just prior to the holiday season produce an increased level of engagement measured by the number of sessions. This effect is especially prominent with Android apps, which experience a 129% increase in engagement.”

Developers planning to update their Android apps (or any apps for that matter) should test thoroughly. Android, in particular, has the most complex array of handsets, versions and carriers of any mobile platform. In addition, unlike most closed operating systems, Android is an open-source platform which makes it extremely susceptible to malware. Trying to develop a secure but also feature rich app update that maintains device consistency is extremely difficult. Luckily, testing can help prevent a buggy, vulnerable update.

Mobile developers – what’s your biggest holiday headache? Let us know in the comments section?

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