How to stand out in the competitive app market?

Didi Chinanurakchart
Didi Chinanurakchart
November 1, 2021
Didi Chinanurakchart
Gabriel Troiano
November 1, 2021

Standing out in the app market may seem like a very daunting task, with so many companies taking charge and using new technological features to their advantage. Adding social features and focusing on different facets of your business could help improve your online presence and make your platform extremely sticky. At the end of the day, all we want from apps is that they deliver quality services and that they focus on making customers’ lives easier. Here’s how you can transform your app and be a leader in your industry.

Creating a mobile app as part of your business strategy can be a crucial component of your businesses’ success. In a lot of ways, the app can be implemented for marketing strategy, building loyalty from your customer base, improving their user experience and establishing a solid brand identity.

With over 3.2 billion smartphone users worldwide, there’s no surprise that mobile apps as an industry are flourishing and will continue to grow.

And well, what's everyone doing on their phone? 88% of the time is spent on their apps.

This is great news for businesses and app developers that are looking to make their app stand out in the competitive market.

In order to stay afloat, making your mobile app 'sticky' should also be part of your strategy, especially if you're wanting users to engage on your platform on a regular basis.

Below, we’ll be sharing ideas on how you can stand out from the crowd.

Know how to target your potential users’ needs

In order for an app to be successful, it needs to be able to answer the needs of the current customer base and target market. Depending on the type of service your business offers, the app could be complementary, fun, and easy to use. Don’t hesitate to ask your customers to know which features could help ensure their brand loyalty and improve their experience. 

The first and perhaps most important step in really getting to know your users’ needs are to get inside their heads and understand their lived experiences. What types of people do they associate themselves with? What do they enjoy doing during their free time? What are some main challenges that they are facing in relation to the service you are offering? What brands do they go to for advice on this specific topic and how can you offer something different than all these other competitors? These are some of the questions that, if applied correctly to your strategy, will greatly increase your chances of building a successful app and growing a loyal digital community. 

A great example of a successful and competitive app can be seen in TrueID’s mission to become Thailand’s no. 1 super app by engaging users with immersive content and community features. The company was in need of something that would make their platform extremely sticky and that would make their users access the app on a regular basis. In a competitive market such as the media sector, that meant finding a unique solution, but most importantly, it meant getting to know what customers really wanted and desired for. By adding social features such as Live Chats and Feeds, TrueID’s customers would be able to engage straight away and not have to go to another app for entertainment and content. The company quickly realized that their customers needed something that would make them stay, something that would give them a reason to use the app for their favorite entertainment purposes without having to switch to another platform. By implementing these features, TrueID managed to skyrocket their number of active users and claimed the spot for the leading super app in Thailand. 

Focus on design

First impressions are important – paying attention to your app’s visual appearance should be a top priority, both when developing the app and during future updates. A design that is eye-catching and efficient will draw attention and improve the user’s experience. 

(via The Branding Journal)


Focus on good writing

Despite the fact that people have increasingly short attention spans and tend to skim through pages, written content on apps is important. Are instructions clear? Is writing catchy enough for users with minimal time or reading ability- they won't be scrolling past if your words speak directly at them! If you're struggling as an author yourself, collaborate with experts who can help make sure each sentence speaks volumes about what needs to be done next in order to get things moving forward quickly so we don't miss any deadlines.

The importance here should not just lie within visuals such as images because without good information presented through text there would hardly be anything worth looking.

Mobile App development

It's really hard to maintain a good user experience. It doesn't matter how much traction you gain with your users, there will always be room for improvement and it can take years of iteration before we get somewhere close enough where our apps stop being annoying or frustrating under certain conditions - this goes double if they're designed poorly from the start! The key here is not just testing but also collecting feedback that helps us improve over time rather than forcing change at once through an emergency release because things aren’t working as expected (and then probably having people revert back). 

Make your Mobile App Stand Out through Marketing

To make your app stand out from the crowd, you'll need to use every available resource. That means building up an online presence and a solid social network in addition to developing a website or landing page for users who want more information on what they can find inside of it.

Website

You will certainly need to build an online presence for your app! Why? People will want to know that your app is legit, and that you’re fully invested in it as a business. Your app needs to be clearly featured across your website particularly your landing page, just take a look at the startup coffee chain from Jakarta - Flash Coffee.


Social media

To successfully promote your app - social media is absolutely essential! You can connect with your audience both ways - paid and organic. 

  • Organic: Organic promotion on social media comes simply by having a presence; e.g. a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page. To connect to your target audience in meaningful ways, use these accounts and start following people that align with your values and that operate in the same industry. Just remember not to spam and instead, post things that people will care about so they can join in on the conversation. For example, Food Panda’s Instagram account is full of mouth-watering culinary photos for their foodie audience to devour! 
  • Paid: According to a 2016 report by Kenshoo, mobile app ad click-through rates (CTRs) went up 32% YoY, while the inverse happened to CPC (cost per click), which decreased by 33%. Putting some money behind your promotions will make more people flock to your app. Facebook and Instagram are very effective at this – since Facebook owns Instagram, they make it incredibly easy to place app install ads on both platforms. 

PR

What’s worse than bad press? Not having any press at all. Utilizing media and influencer mentions can help a long way in terms of creating buzz and boost your business’ credibility. Here are several ideas you can go about doing so:

  • Press Release
    With press releases, your brand can benefit from greater engagement and public outreach. Whether letting people know about your latest product or offering a special promotion, having a space to share your updates can be incredibly beneficial to building a brand and an app that stays in people’s minds and is revered by experts and employees alike. 
  • Launch parties and events
    Did you know that ​​the majority (60%) of leaders believe that events are the most critical marketing channel for achieving business goals? Indeed, launch parties and events are great ways to make your brand stand out by introducing new ways to engage with the public. As parties and events are social in nature, you can expect lots of engagement and excitement from the public, giving you the chance to focus on all the good things that your brand has to offer. Also, the great thing about these ideas is that they don’t have to be in person! They can also happen online and by implementing a good PR foundation, you can advertise this digital celebration to others and expand your network. 
  • Interviews with local newspapers and bloggers
    Interviews are one of the best ways to engage your audience and make your brand look and sound credible. Because quotes and honest responses give people the chance to get to know your industry and brand inside and out, they are a great asset to have when wanting people to buy a certain product from you or just wanting to increase their knowledge on your brand’s history. Interviews also help build relationships with local influencers and create community around your product or service.
  • Blogging
    Blogging consistently can help boost your business’ online presence. It helps your audience acknowledge that you’re the expertise in your field - this in turn increases brand awareness as well as credibility. Sooner or later, it will help you expand your customer base.

App Store Optimization

App Store Optimizations (ASO) plays the SEO role in the mobile application world. When it comes to grabbing attention online, you’re not just competing with other apps, but also news articles, blog posts, updates from your social media profiles and much more. And this is why App Store Optimizations are so important!

  • Application name - consider how unique your app name is - a good name helps identify what your app does to prospective users and improves your ranking.
  • Use keywords wisely - include relevant keywords in both Google Play and Apple App, keyword research for both platforms are necessary respectively.
  • Description - Both Apple and Android app descriptions should be like your website’s landing page.
  • Screenshots and video - First impressions are everything! How your app store page looks is an important factor users take into consideration before making their decision, this is why you should upload either high quality screenshots or video. 
  • Encourage positive ratings - If you’re looking to get more reviews for your app, one of the most important ways is through positive ratings and reviews. These are what will make or break it when people see what’s on display! You can encourage users that use word-of-mouth advertising by telling them about how great an experience someone had with your product.


Image of App Store Optimization
Figure: App Store Optimization - Author: Seobility - License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Ensure your Mobile App is safe

Security is a sensitive topic; the majority of apps require users to share a sensitive amount of data in order to operate more efficiently. Think about healthcare providers or fintechs such as United Healthcare and Revolut that have streamlined their services into an app: They need to implement security measures more than anyone since their data deals directly with the livelihood and well-being of their customers. One way that you can make sure that users are being cared for in the most important way is by going through the regulation guidebook. Are you HIPAA compliant if dealing with customers’ personal history and data? Do you follow GDPR regulations and hold space to further develop those in your business strategy? These are some of the questions and guidelines that can help you get ahead of the competition and gain the trust and respect of your customers because nowadays, people value companies that place importance on the wellbeing of their audience. 

Introduce new features

Expanding your mobile app by introducing new social features gives you a reason to make your app stand out from the crowd. You start with the initial set of features that satisfy most people, and if you’re looking to increase in-app engagement, retention and maximizing your platform for monetization, adding social features in your mobile app would definitely be beneficial.

Mobile Apps Social Features:

Groups

You can easily promote community engagement through public and private groups in your app. Implement these features to encourage users to engage with each other and post their ideas. This is a great feature if you’re looking to push exclusive content and offers to your community. 

Feeds

Your app will be more engaging than ever with a personalized feed! Users can aggregate posts, reactions, and comments in one place. They'll also feel like you're paying attention to their interests by showing promotions that are relevant for them specifically based on what they've liked or commented on recently.

1-1 Chat

1-1 Chat provides you with one-on-one interaction between users, this enables users within the app to exchange ideas with one another and create deeper connections through shared interests.

Group Chat

In-app group chats enable users to share their experiences and talk about their shared interests. Through community-based conversations, you can connect everyone in communities on your platform by enabling group-based messaging for more efficient and organized in-app discussions. 

Live Chat

Live chat on your app can make an excellent way to improve customer service. Live chat happens to have the highest consumer satisfaction rate at 92%, they are becoming more popular, with time efficiency playing a large role in this trend's success.

Chat Bots

Studies have shown that over 50% of customers expect a business to be available 24/7. Up to 80% of people who have previously interacted with bots said the experience was positive. Bots can answer 80% standard user questions, allowing you to allocate trained human live agents for more complex inquiries, and provide more efficient customer service.

In-App Notification

Sending push notification increases app retention rates by 3-10 times, and boosts engagement up to 80%. You can tailor in-app notifications to provide any upcoming promos or information that fits your users’ needs and preferences. This way, they won’t miss any upcoming updates from you or other users.

So, how would all of these strategies be translated into a real-world application? Let’s take the example of AirAsia and how they transformed their app from an airline platform to a lifestyle and entertainment hub.  

Successful Mobile App Solutions: AirAsia - 1-1, Group and Broadcast Chats

AirAsia already knew their audiences, but they wanted to step in and rise above the competition. Their objective was to boost engagement and create more loyal customers. So, how did they do this? 

They realized that Live Chat could translate into real time experience. With the help of chat SDK, the app can hold up to 500,000 concurrent users per chat room per second. By integrating Amity’s Chat function, AirAsia found solutions to entertain their in-app communities. Each channel serves as a broadcast system where customers can hop on different chat rooms and discover their favorite AirAsia offers and content. And more, there are communities – places where users can access chat rooms specific to their destination and explore topics that they might rely on for their journey. Plus, users have the option to chat directly with like-minded members.

These social experiences through chat communities, Broadcast Chat Channels, and 1-1 Chats helped AirAsia improve their in-app experiences and boost engagement. All of this has resulted in a complete evolution for AirAsia, as they go from being only a digital airline to a comprehensive lifestyle platform for everyone. 


In taking these steps, your app is guaranteed to stand out and transform its growth strategy. Being a leader in a saturated market is not easy and requires a lot of effort, creativity, and innovation, but with the right tools, you can use technology to your advantage and get users to stick around. At the end of the day, we all want an app that delivers quality services and that cares about its customers. No matter the industry you operate in, there are always ways to improve your business and cultivate a mentality of constant growth. 

Need more information on how to stand out in the competitive app market? Talk to our community specialists!

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