Vibhor Bansal

Finding, Engaging and Monetizing Mobile Users

Blog Post created by Vibhor Bansal on Jan 14, 2015

by Mr Rohith Bhat @Robosoft and Ms Anila Andrade @99Games.

 Key tips for software product developers:

The Mobile remains one of the key trends shaping the tech sector today. It is particularly critical for India, a nation where the number of mobile and smartphone users is increasing by leaps and bounds.

Indian software product companies, especially those developing offerings for the mobile platform, therefore need to focus on how they can find, engage and monetize mobile users. Experts and industry watchers are of the view that increasingly, software product companies have to collaborate with mobile operators, seeking their support right from product conceptualization to commercialization. Companies such as Vodafone are already engaging with app developers, providing UI, UX support during early stage development, and device support and APIs for micro transactions and billing.

Creating mobile apps that are successful is all about grabbing the attention and capturing the imagination of users. Take the instance of Paytm, India's leading mobile commerce platform, which has struck a chord with users by making mobile recharge-a painful process for consumers earlier-easy. The company, which began by offering mobile recharge and utility bill payments, now provides a full marketplace to consumers on its mobile apps. It has over 20 million registered users and within a short span of time has scaled to more than 15 million order per month.

Improving mind share and enhancing the number of app downloads is also about getting the ‘right reviews' and being featured on reputed App stores. It is important for software product companies to forge strong relationships with platform providers, who can offer them the opportunity to get on to the radars of review teams. Getting good reviews and word of mouth enables apps to gain organic traction.

To consistently garner larger transactions and a high number of downloads, Paytm has been reaching out to app reviewers a month before every release, offering them free access and some credits to play around with. This gives the company credibility and downloads. Paytm, in fact, has ensured that reviewers cover its app on a weekly basis to maintain momentum.

Improving mind share and enhancing the number of downloads is also about getting featured on all leading Apps stores. A featured spot can translate into thousands of  downloads everyday for apps developers. Paid user acquisition can also be catalyzed when app developers work closely with ad networks that are transparent, have good UX and allow them to track and attribute data to build a better consumer base.

Another dimension that mobile developers need to focus on is on-boarding experiences. Apps should not take more than two seconds to launch since that's what most smartphone users expect. ‘Star Chef', a title from 99Games for example, has been concentrating on community, forum and social experiences within the game, which has resulted in users coming almost 15 times to the game everyday!

For companies that want to ‘Go Mobile first from India', it is important to
design an online experience for the mobile before designing it for the desktop or any other device.

Among the challenges associated with ‘going mobile first', is memory. Users are reluctant to download apps due to the lower memory on their devices. Also, since the attention span of users is low and screen sizes just about 4-6 inches, it is very important for software product developers to build apps that are absolutely simple Frequent update cycles on the mobile also need to be planned keeping the review timelines in mind. Regarding the verticals that have the potential to go mobile first in India, experts believe they include industries such as entertainment, retail and recruitment.

Building successful mobile apps is also about providing omni-channel experiences to customers. ‘Omni-channel' means the unification of the web, mobile and in store experiences. Lowe's, a home improvement store, for example, is offering an omni-channel experience to its customers. The company has separated its UX, UI design and content and taken into consideration the human element of who, what, when and where. Lowe's has planned ahead for iOS-8 and launched touch Id. It has armed its associates with 42,000 mobile phones not only for better operations but better connectivity with customers.

When it comes to monetization of apps, currently there are three models-paid downloads, freemium and ad integrated. Industry watchers believe the ad-based model is more suitable to an Indian audience. Several games apps in India for instance, derive the bulk of their revenues from ads, with brand engagements and In-app Purchases (IAP) playing a lesser role. Apps targeted at the global markets, on the other hand, typically derive their revenues through IAP.

(This blog is based on the views shared by Pratyush Prasanna, Vice President, Paytm, Anila Andrade, Producer, 99Games, Karthik Srinivasan, Head, Content Products at the Vodafone Group Consumer Services, Vodafone, Aakrit Vaish, CEO, Haptik Inc., and Accel Partners at the NASSCOM Product Conclave. Check out these sessions' videos: Startup 3.0 - Fundable Mobile First Ideas for IndiaGoing Mobile First From India and How to Find, Engage and Monetize Users on Mobile).

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