There are many ways to measure the success and impact of a mobile app, a few being the number of downloads, revenue, reviews, feedback. All of these measures help developers to see the impact of their work, but the true measure of an app’s success in today's market is having it go viral.

What is a viral app?

A viral app is a mobile application that gains popularity through sharing on the Internet and creating an instant trend. It’s an app that spreads rapidly and people want to download- the excitement and hype that is created by the spread or rapid growth of the application creates a trend for a period of time that is more effective than paid promotion.

The app’s virality consists of two aspects - a technical one and the marketing of it. The two are dependent on each other. For example, if you built and developed an app - you wouldn’t reach the right audience without proper marketing and so your strategy would be ineffective for a low-quality app.

Unfortunately, going viral is incredibly difficult and only a few apps become viral overnight (think of Pokemon Go). In most cases, virality requires careful development, research, planning and strategy to reach your goals. If technical features are what really creates the app’s value, then an elaborate marketing strategy is what defines the way for the app to reach the target audience and thrive on the market.

Technical characteristic of a viral app

Your app should have something valuable for users to share

The main principle of virality is sharing, that's key to getting users to spread the word about their experience with your apps, such as their achievement in a game like Candy Crush or a new review on TripAdvisor.

It should be easy for users to invite friends to join and share their experience

By simplifying the process, you eliminate the extra effort that may put off users from sharing. If they need to go through a 10-page registration form, they might feel reluctant to use the app. So the simpler the process is, the easier it is for users to tell others about it.

It should reward users for sharing, inviting and using the app and create incentives to use it more

It is human nature to follow an incentive. If the true value of the app can get them started sharing, incentives are what keep them doing it over and over again. Incentives don’t have to be monetary, but they give users something that they will feel proud they will feel valued for what they do.

It should increase value for the users the more they use it

Opening up new options is a great way to reward users who dedicate a lot of time to your app. The functionality and features are what make your mobile app valuable in the first place, so make that value a lasting one to help users return to it.

Marketing tips for going viral

People share things that they can connect emotionally with - it can be something valuable or funny or unusual. It’s basic psychology - emotions are used widely in almost any kind of business to create connections with the users, and positive emotions help drive shares.

There are plenty of tactics that can improve the chances of your app going viral, but you won’t find a one-size-fits-all strategy that can ensure your chances of success. Here are 4 tactics that can help you improve your app’s position in the market:

Create limited access

Limited access or a waiting list creates a sense of suspense and our curiosity starts to crave it more. The ones who receive access feel special and valued, the ones who have to wait are anxious to find out what they’re missing out on. You can play with emotions and expectations to create interest among your target users.

Reward both users and the people that they bring in

Working with a referral system is a great way to encourage your customers to bring in their friends by sharing. It doesn’t have to be a monetary reward - for example, DropBox offers free space as an incentive for new users, some other apps give limited access to their premium option. Depending on the nature of your application, you can choose a compensation that is attractive to your users based on your particular business.

Encourage social sharing

Apart from helping your app going viral, social sharing can benefit your brand, your marketing practices and your customers. Pair it with social listening and you will get indepth insights and feedback on your product, which can help you adjust and update the app to tailor the users' experience.

Notify users about new rewards, competitions, and promotions

Don’t stop engaging your user during the sign-up phase, but give them a reason to return. After a while the same routine gets boring and all the excitement goes away (where is Pokemon Go now?), so it is important to be delivering tailored content to your users by introducing new thrills or experiences through your app. It doesn’t have to be complex new features or major technical changes, but simple contests will keep your users curious and happy.

To sum up

The success of an app can’t only be measured by the number of downloads. To get a full picture you need to keep in mind engagement, user retention, revenue and many more factors. It is the app’s value that makes the users download it as well as the ongoing engagement processes that keep them coming back to it.

To make your app go viral, you need to keep both marketing and technical parts of app development in mind. At Trio, the best software engineers can help you bring your vision to life and develop a mobile application worthy of the number 1 position on the charts. If you want to know more contact us here.