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Friday, 29 May 2015

Three pre-requisites to build a successful app in India

1) Think Light

While I was putting together a presentation on Digital Trends in Asia Pacific, a blog post written by LightSpeed India Venture Partners caught my attention. It makes an observation that while the ideal app size is 10-15 MB globally, in India and other emerging markets, it is less than 5 MB. Conversion rates dip by 50% for games and apps larger than 15 MB. And that is not surprising, in a country where 2G connections outnumber 3G, and according to a graph by the International Labor Organisation, it takes 17 hours work at the minimum wage to pay for a 500 MB data plan.

(Source : JANA Blog)

It is the age of the 'light web' when apps need to be otpimised, cloud based and play nice with low/slow/intermittent data connections.

2) Think Brand Building

It is not a co-incidence that chat apps like Line and WeChat with millions-strong user bases, are into horizontal diversification. Line has piloted a grocery ordering service in Thailand and WeChat, a beauty services location business in South Africa. Uber has launched UberCargo in Hong Kong as a logistics business to hire vans to transport your goods.

There are more than 1 million apps apiece in the Android and Apple App Stores and app discovery is increasingly becoming a challenge. Brand building, through capitalising on the existing user base, is a great way to reduce the cost and risk of app discovery and keep engaging with current users.

With Indian online startups going the mass media route, and tying up with celebrities for promotion, it seems reasonable to assume that they will also look at brand building strategies similar to those in other Asian markets.

3) Think retention
Research from Appetetive shows that after  install, the average app retention rate is around 57% if the app reaches out to engage the user in the first week after install. By the second week, it drops by more than half to 25% if the app does nothing.

Retention strategies are crucial for apps because as we know from our own experience, we download apps, get bored, or forget about them, or delete them to make way for new apps.

User engagement depends on collecting detailed analytics on user behaviour and interests, which is more easy with mobile apps, than with the web. But this information also needs to translate into effective strategies and actions that prompt users to come back and use the app more often.