Promoting your App through Apple Search Ads

Apple providers Apple Search Ads as an advertising service to help developers promote their apps. Developers can set up ad campaigns with predetermined monthly budgets and have them displayed to relevant users. With over 2 million apps listed on the App Store, gaining visibility is extremely difficult. A paid campaign allows developers to showcase the best features of their apps. With a steady funnel of users flowing to download their apps, an app can generate a critical mass of users, which then puts it on the road to long-term sustainability.

Basic vs Advances

When developers create their Apple Search Ads account, they can either choose to use a basic or advanced option. A basic account allows a user to set up a simple campaign where they just select the app they want to promote and their monthly budget. Apple’s technology uses the app’s metadata to automate how and where ads are displayed. The account owner, though, still gets a simper dashboard to track campaign performance.

An advanced account places more control in the account owner’s hands. The advanced account is more likely to be used by advertising professionals and agencies on behalf of clients. They can choose to have ads placed on search results, on the Today tab, and in other places for greater visibility. Whereas ads on a basic account are charged at a cost per install, the advanced account would have ads charged per tap. As expected, the account has a more detailed reporting tool and a myriad of recommendations for campaign improvement.

Why Is Search Ads A Must for Developers

Apple Search Ads is a powerful tool in the arsenal of any developer regardless of whether their app is a mass market product or a niche one. First, the tool is powerful in increasing the discoverability of an app. By just using the app metadata, Apple Search Ads will place an app in relevant search results. Users who are on the lookout for specific solutions are therefore likely to install and try out your app.

The pay-per-tap or install model applied by Apple Search ads is also quite cost-effective for developers who have great products. Users who click or install an app are considered high-quality leads. They are more likely to end up as customers. Paying for such leads only means that the cost of customer acquisition will be low in the long run.

Using Apple Search ads is a great way to create synergy with your app store optimization strategy. While app store optimization increases organic visibility and discoverability, ads serve to maximize the number of eyeballs on the app.  The two can complement each other. By taking feedback on which keywords and visuals are performing better, this information can be used for such things as app descriptions and product pages.

Making the Most of Apple Search Ads

Finding success through Apple Search Ads is a result of sustained efforts and well-planned strategies to build a brand, gain visibility, and convert leads into revenue-generating customers. The rest of the article dwells on specific best practices for developers using Apple Search Ads to drive new customer acquisitions.

Carefully Planned Campaigns

Great campaigns must be well orchestrated from start to finish. There are multiple constraints in any marketing campaign, and the plan must consider this. A recommended best practice is to have multiple campaigns under one account. You could have a brand campaign, a category campaign. competitor campaign, a discovery campaign, and a generic campaign. You then could have keywords and ad groups attributed to each campaign group.

Brand campaigns will have keywords that are specific to your company. Category campaigns encompass keywords relevant to what the app does and the genre under which it falls. Competitor campaign keywords will be mainly focused on other apps that provide the same service as yours.

A well-organized structure ensures your ads have specific and measurable targets and they complement each other. The structure also allows for the effective spreading of the available budget so that areas with the highest return get the most while also ensuring no base remains uncovered.

Thorough Keyword Research

A common mistake Apple Search Ads users make is to slack on proper keyword research. The result is often inefficient use of their advertising budget. Proper keyword research involves using a keyword planner to find statistics on keywords. It also involves looking at the keywords competitors are ranking for and the ones they are bidding on.

There is a feature called Search Match within Apple Search ads that allows users to connect ads with queries. This feature is helpful when attempting to choose which keywords to prioritize for a particular campaign.

Lastly, the use of synonyms is a proven way to expand the pool of keywords. Through this, you may find high-volume search keywords that competitors may not be focusing on.

Negative Keyword Research

You can use negative keywords to add precision to your ad campaign. A negative keyword prevents your ads from being triggered if a person includes the keyword in their search. It is sometimes a good practice to include certain keywords as negative keywords in one campaign when they are the primary keywords in another campaign. This could help prevent an overlap between campaigns and possibly improve overall budget efficiency.

Curate App Metadata with Care

As a developer, it is important to ensure your app’s metadata reflects what exactly the app intends to fulfill. The title, subtitle, and descriptions should not be intentionally misleading. The risk is that the app may attract a large number of people who are not the true target audience. There has to be a balance between the attraction or engagement garnered from ads and relevance. It is not beneficial for an app to appear in search results that are not related to the app’s core functionality.

Carrying out multiple A/B tests for variations of the metadata could help decide on what to settle on. For instance, you could have two versions of an app’s description displayed to separate audiences. Both descriptions would carry the same keywords but have different results in terms of engagement. The same goes for the choice of a name for an app. It should be powerful and memorable as well.  Carrying out empirical tests before launch would be ideal.

Multiple Product Pages

Just as with metadata, it is possible to have different product pages displayed in ads for different target audiences. It is possible to create up to 35 different product pages and this is now seen as a best practice in app advertising. It allows the developers to capitalize on the versatility of an app by showing its different pages and functionalities to relevant audiences.

While creating multiple product pages may seem a daunting task, it ensures that the return on the advertising investment is higher than it would be with just a single page. It may be worthwhile working with professionals to create the different variations of the product page.

Optimizing the Campaign

Apple Search Ad’s reporting tools should be used to continually adjust and optimize your campaigns. Monitoring impressions will reveal well-performing ads versus non-performing ones while you could also adjust your bids on important keywords. The keyword volumes are also changing every so often. As such, keyword research must remain a continuous process within the team so that the available budget is directed toward the most effective areas.

The development team should also review performance from a creative angle. See what creative material yields the best results and double down on it. Normally, the team would have to go through multiple iterations of creative approaches until they settle on one that seems to work best.

Studying the Competition

The competition in the App Store is fierce and only a small percentage of all apps end up as viable and profitable businesses. As such, the space can be seen as a zero-sum game where your success might push a competitor out of the market. It is imperative to monitor what other apps in your category are doing, both in terms of advertising and design.

Find out which keywords they are ranking for because this may help you find gaps to fill. Study their creative assets because new trends are always emerging. Your creative designs should help your app stand out.

Lastly, settle and double down on a bidding strategy. With a big budget, you may decide to bid higher for keywords that your competitor is using. However, a more realistic approach would be to go for variations that allow you to still funnel customers to your app but at a lower cost.

Post Install Performance

One way to further track the performance of a campaign is to monitor the post-install events. Certain actions would signal that a user is likely to keep using an app and can certainly be classed as a successful customer acquisition. Launching an app, completing the registration process, or watching an in-app user guide can all be tracked for a more accurate estimation of the cost of user acquisition.

Post-install events could help to identify specific issues with app features or performance. For instance, if a lot of users do not complete the registration process, it could be a result of the process being too long or the registration feature not working as smoothly as initially intended. This is how an app’s development roadmap evolves organically over time.

Staying Updated

Slight tweaks in Apple Search ads policies and industry trends could make a huge difference in the app advertising landscape. Developers have a responsibility to keep up with the changes both within the platform and the advertising space in general. Beta-testing new features ahead of the competition could give you an unbeatable lead.

A need to strongly focus on return on investment cannot be understated. With multiple campaigns in one account, funds should go towards ad groups and channels with the highest return.

A world-class user experience within the app strongly compliments the advertising efforts. A smooth registration and sign-in process helps to ease any skepticism that first-time users may have about an app. Quick responses to concerns about glitches and bugs have a strong bearing on brand perception. No amount of brand campaigns can paper over poor user experience.

Combining Search Ads with Other forms of Advertising and Marketing

An app listed on the Apple store could benefit from other channels of advertising besides Apple Search Ads. Social media channels are particularly effective because a user who clicks on a post lands on the app download page. Some apps would benefit from awareness campaigns done through influencers. Mentions on podcasts and videos go a long way in building top-of-mind awareness for brands.

Throughout any campaign, all decisions should be data-driven. Behavioral targeting has helped to make campaigns highly nuanced. Users can be re-targeted based on past actions, such as having installed an app before but not using it frequently.

Work with NS804

Creating successful Apple Search Ads campaigns requires a lot of planning and exquisite implementation. Careful thought must go into planning objectives and the metrics to track. The team must determine the different campaign buckets to use and the keywords for the different ad groups. As highlighted, Apple Search ads complement the App Store optimization efforts.

Throughout the Search Ads campaign, the team has to monitor metrics, iterate different versions of ads, and study the detailed reports from Apple’s Search Ads dashboard. They must see audiences through different targeting lenses including demographics, device types, and customer types. It is prudent to have ads that target users based on the different existing segmentations.

All promotional efforts are likely to fail if the app itself fails to meet customer expectations. Building a truly world-class app is the only way to guarantee sustainable success for an app. Finding the right app development partner is the first step in this journey. At NS804, we pride ourselves in delivering world-beating iOS and Android applications for businesses in all sectors. With decades of experience in our team, we deliver projects on time and budget. We advise on every stage of the app development process, including launch and promotion.

To discuss your app development needs, reach out to us today.

Google AdMob: Understanding Mobile App Monetization

Developing a mobile app is difficult and often costly, so you must find a way to receive a just reward for all that hard work. One of the most efficient ways to do that is with Google AdMob, an advertising network that serves ads specifically for mobile apps. And while it is a popular Google service, it isn’t only for Android but also iOS devices.

But you may think that AdMob, or in-app advertising in the general sense, isn’t a great way to monetize your app. You may have heard horror stories of appreneurs and developers spending thousands of dollars on AdMob ads and receiving few downloads. Or they may have received hundreds of thousands of downloads, but revenue results were worse than expected.

The hard truth is that Google AdMob mobile app monetization is very tricky. If you implement the wrong strategy, you’re bound to end up with a shortfall in your ad budget — which you don’t want! That’s partly why so many digital marketing and advertising agencies have mushroomed over the past decade.

If you’re skittish about implementing AdMob, you should consider hiring an agency. Alternatively, you can partner with a reputable and multi-award-winning studio, such as NS804, to help you with your ad strategy. Getting that ad strategy right is crucial, as it will drastically impact the long-term fortunes of your app.

Whether you partner with NS804, an agency, or go at it alone, it’s best to understand what mobile app monetization entails. That’s why we’ve prepared this in-depth article that covers the benefits, drawbacks, and pitfalls of AdMob. We also reveal a few strategies to help you with the platform and alleviate some of your concerns and fears.

What Do I Need To Know About Google AdMob?

Google AdMob is hardly new at this point. On April 18, 2006, a business school student, Omar Hamoui, founded the ad network in California. In November 2009, Google began the acquisition process of the ad network that concluded on May 27, 2010. On May 16, 2013, Google announced during their I/O 2023 conference that they would revamp AdMob by integrating technologies from AdSense to assist developers in boosting their app businesses.

But has AdMob truly lived up to the promise of helping app developers with their revenue streams? Yes, the massive market share of the Google Mobile Ads software development kit (SDK) speaks for itself.

Near the end of 2023, developers integrated the Google Mobile Ads SDK in most mobile games. Approximately 75% of word games for Android and 32% of all iOS mobile games had an AdMob implementation. It also attained a respectable 55% for the fan-favorite casual genre on Android

While this doesn’t mean that every developer enjoyed huge revenues from AdMob, it does show confidence in the platform. Furthermore, in almost every metric, AdMob outperforms its main competitors like Appodeal, Meta Audience Network, and Unity Ads. But it’s not necessarily wrong to partner with multiple ad networks, as this may prove beneficial as part of your overall ad strategy. 

How Does Google AdMob Work?

Google AdMob lets developers display targeted ads within their apps for users to interact with. While the platform initially supported Adobe Flash Lite, Palm WebOS, and Windows Phone, those legacy platforms are no longer supported. Android and iOS still enjoy plenty of support and will likely remain at the forefront of mobile app monetization for the foreseeable future.

To enjoy the benefits of AdMob, developers start by integrating the Google Mobile Ads SDK into their mobile apps after following several guidelines. The platform is free to use, but Google does expect advertisers, appreneurs, and developers to follow its guidelines closely.

The SDK allows banner, interstitial, rewarded, and native ads to appear within an app. Then, developers create ad units within the AdMob dashboard and set their optimal ad formats, placement, and targeting.

The AdMob platform is also where advertisers go to bid for ad space. They will pick the kind of ads that will engage users the most based on their demographics, interests, and consumption of app content. Developers earn revenue through AdMob primarily based on user interactions with the displayed ads, such as clicks, impressions, or ad views. 

But how does Google AdMob work out the revenue for appreneurs and developers? The platform weighs up advertiser demand, ad format, and user engagement. Also, the app category, user location, and device used impact revenue substantially.

The good news is that you’ll have access to a plethora of this information since AdMob offers you powerful analytics and reporting tools. These tools will help you stay current on your app’s ad performance, revenue, and user engagement. Having immediate access to this data will help you refine your ad strategy to increase your app’s revenue.

Why Is AdMob The Best Choice For Android Mobile Apps?

It offers seamless integration with the entire Android ecosystem, which is massive. Considering that Android runs on smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, Chromebooks, and Windows PCs, you’ll want to use a platform that lets you monetize across these devices, with some restrictions on PCs.

Furthermore, most integrated development environments (IDEs) and game engines allow easy integration with Google AdMob. So, if you’re using Android Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio, or the Unity Real-Time Development Platform, you won’t run into trouble implementing your ads. That’s not often the case with some lower-profile ad networks, as there’s often quite a bit of tinkering and back-and-forth with technical support to get things running.  

Since AdMob enjoys so much support, even from the development community, there’s always a solution readily available. There’s almost a never-ending availability of code, documentation, and plug-in solutions for integrating AdMob with your favorite programming language, framework, and tools. So, you’ll never be in a situation where you’ll waste time dealing with tedious integration issues when you could be fine-tuning your ad strategy.

Is AdMob Any Good For iOS Mobile Apps?

Yes, Google AdMob is just as good for iOS as its Android implementation. It could even be one of the better choices since Apple discontinued its ad platform, iAd, in 2016. However, it’s common practice for many iOS app developers to opt for ad mediation services like AdMob, AppLovin, and ironSource.

Ad mediation lets appreneurs, developers, and publishers access several third-party ad networks through a single SDK. It’s a powerful tool because it simplifies the integration process. It also helps to improve the effective cost per mille (eCPM) and advertisement fill rates by picking the most optimal network per ad request.  

But what is eCPM, and why should you care? It’s a metric that helps you determine what you’ll potentially earn after 1,000 ad impressions. On the other hand, cost per mille (CPM) is a metric that helps advertisers determine how much they’ll spend per 1,000 ad impressions. It’s crucial to keep tabs on these metrics, as they reveal conversion rates, the level of user engagement, and if ad campaigns are successful.

Be aware that a growing number of iOS mobile app developers prefer to use alternative monetization methods. Due to the App Store having more premium apps than its counterparts, developers will often focus on paid apps, in-app purchases (IAP), and subscriptions.

One of the main reasons why iOS developers choose this route is because there’s a greater tendency for iOS users to spend on apps than Android users. Some iOS developers and publishers have tried mobile ads but later found that the other types of monetization earn them more. As an appreneur or developer, you should always try different monetization strategies to boost app profitability

What Google AdMob Ad Strategies Should I Implement?

There are several AdMob ad strategies you must apply to increase revenue, which are as follows:

  • Strategic ad placement: Test different ad placements and monitor user engagement. Continue to tweak your ad placement until user engagement is satisfactory.  
  • Ad formats: Implement several ad formats and ensure to serve the optimal format for each target group.
  • Targeting options: Use the platform’s targeting tools to serve ads relevant to each user. Constantly fine-tune this process to increase user engagement and subsequent revenues.
  • A/B testing: Always conduct A/B tests soon after you implement an ad strategy to determine if it is succeeding or if it needs further fine-tuning.
  • Analytics: Use AdMob’s analytics and reporting tools to gain insights into your app’s ad performance, revenue generation, and user engagement. Be sure to use this information to help you further hone your ad strategies and boost revenues. 

What Can Cause A Drop In AdMob Ad Revenue?

Several factors can lead to a drop in Google AdMob ad revenue. One of the most common factors is ad fatigue. Users don’t enjoy watching the same ads continuously within short periods and will subsequently engage with them less. Unfortunately, this leads to declining click-through rates (CTRs) and poor ad performance.

A decrease in user engagement within the app can also impact ad revenue. That’s mainly due to a lack of new features, outdated content, and poor app performance. Another cause for concern is market saturation, which often leads to increased competition for ad space. Furthermore, this drives down ad rates and decreases revenue in tandem.  

The wrong ad placement and format will also negatively impact ad revenues. Furthermore, unexpected events, seasonal trends, and changes in user demographics often cause ad revenue fluctuations. 

What Mobile App Monetization Strategies Can Benefit My App?

Mobile app monetization strategies are essential to succeed in the app space. But it’s the most optimal strategy that will help you unlock higher earning streams from your app. Here are several mobile app monetization strategies you should consider:

  1. In-App Ads: Displaying targeted ads to your users is one of the easiest ways to earn revenue from your app. But you must carefully monitor all metrics in your analytics and respond accordingly when Google AdMob revenue drops off.
  1. Freemium Apps: If you release a free version of your app with restricted features, you can later persuade users to unlock those features by purchasing the premium version. Offering extra functionality or content is an effective way to drive revenue, provided your target audience is willing to pay.
  1. IAPs: If you plan to release a mobile game, consider selling additional content, upgrades, and virtual goods. Users unlock these by making small microtransactions, which eventually end up in large amounts, especially if you build a large audience.
  1. Subscriptions: More app developers are implementing subscriptions, as it’s an effective way of generating consistent revenue. Users will pay a monthly or annual fee to access additional content and features.
  1. Sponsorships: Partner with brands to sponsor specific content or features within your app. You will generate additional revenue, whereas your sponsors will build brand awareness. 
  1. Data selling: A monetization strategy becoming increasingly common is selling data to advertising networks. However, the process of selling data must be ethical, lawful, and transparent to avoid angering your users and drawing the attention of privacy advocacy groups. 

How Is AdMob Improving In 2024?

On March 12, 2024, during the online Google for Games 2024 Developer Summit, an announcement about AdMob generated some buzz. A new real-time bidding feature and an upgraded mediation toolkit for Google AdMob will launch soon.

Furthermore, publishers can craft more dynamic ads to appear in-game environments. These ads will blend seamlessly into these environments and become more immersive to boost user engagement. Currently, developers are experimenting with these via the AdMob closed beta.

Due to user privacy concerns, Google will focus more on geo-based solutions in specific countries. The goal is to help advertisers invest further in these efforts and to gain additional insights into the performance of Android and iOS campaign spend. Be sure to take advantage of these new features to serve more exciting ads to your users and be more mindful of their privacy.

The Bottom Line

If you’re considering implementing ads in your upcoming app, then Google AdMob is one of the better choices — if not the best. While there are no guarantees that you’ll strike it rich, a sound mobile ad strategy will keep you on track. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you integrate AdMob ads and derive high revenues from your apps.

What You Need To Know About Alternative iOS App Stores

If there’s one thing that Apple has done exceptionally well — it’s to lock down its ecosystem — especially the App Store. Unlike how things work on Android, there are no alternative iOS app stores that come close to what’s available on Android. Apple has taken this hard-nosed approach to ensure a consistent and secure experience for App Store users.

While we can’t necessarily blame Apple for taking this approach, it does seem a little shortsighted. On the positive end of the spectrum, the App Store does offer a more secure, privacy-focused, and quality-driven environment than anything on Android. But on the negative side, this does limit where users can download their apps and what they can and cannot do with their devices.

One of the perks of being an Android user is the sheer freedom to download apps from several digital storefronts. It’s also easy to sideload apps, allowing developers to share Android apps via their websites or email. In many ways, the Android experience isn’t much different from that of a Windows PC, where users can access apps from various sources.

But this level of freedom also presents some risks, like the transmission of malware, viruses, and botnet miners. The latter targets a user’s digital wallet to steal cryptocurrency, which is becoming a more common scenario.

Undoubtedly, all this sounds extremely scary, and some will side with Apple’s approach of locking everything down. So, does this mean we won’t see any alternative iOS app stores pop up anytime soon? No, because alternatives are on their way. Below, we’ll delve deeper into this matter and outline several ways you can access apps outside the App Store.

Why Are Alternative iOS App Stores Necessary?

We only need to look at how Android users benefit from having alternatives to Google Play to understand the appeal. While Google Play does a stellar job of vetting developers and their apps, users often feel limited. That may sound strange, considering there were over 2.43 million apps on Google Play at the end of 2023, according to Statista.

But it’s not that Google Play has a quantity problem. As massive as it is, it just can’t fulfill the needs of all its users. There are app niches that only alternative stores seem to handle well.

For example, those who seek free and open-source apps built from libraries that don’t track users prefer to download their Android apps from F-Droid. What this store does so well is provide its users with full access to the source code of their apps from a repository. F-Droid compiles the apps from the publicly available code. However, you can build these apps alone, provided you sign the APK files with your key.

The entire process is very similar to how the source code of apps is verified and later compiled on Linux systems. It seems complicated and additional work for the user, but it exemplifies the open nature of F-Droid and the Android ecosystem.

An alternative gaming digital storefront where it’s easy to grab free and experimental indie games is itch.io. It’s a multiplatform site offering Android and iOS downloads, but only with a link to the App Store for the latter. Android titles are available as standalone APKs or via Google Play.

Many Android gaming sites in Asia offer NSFW gaming experiences. Due to the risqué nature of some of these titles, it’s unlikely that Google Play will ever offer them for download.

What Alternative iOS App Stores Existed During The Early Days Of The Platform?

The early days of iOS saw the debut of several unofficial alternative iOS app stores. On February 28, 2008, Jay Ryan Freeman, aka saurik — released Cydia for jailbroken iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad range of devices. While Cydia isn’t necessarily an app store in the true sense of the term, it does have digital distribution functionality.

Cydia is an advanced package manager that allows users to browse and download apps from a repository. These apps aren’t available on the App Store and are mostly free, with a few for sale.

While a Cydia Store that accepted payments via Amazon payments and PayPal became a reality, the developer reportedly terminated the store after experiencing issues with PayPal’s token authorization. On December 16, 2018, the Cydia Store ceased to operate, and the last stable version of Cydia made it to market on June 24, 2020.  

A more accessible alternative to Cydia is AppEven. Several advantages AppEven has over Cydia are that it’s easier to use and install, no Apple ID is necessary, and jailbreaking is not required. Furthermore, AppEven was known to run on iOS 9 through 13, but now it runs on all iOS versions.

It’s possible to download modified and paid apps for free from AppEven. Unsurprisingly, Apple doesn’t endorse alternative iOS app stores like AppEven and likely never will. Apple continuously revokes the certification of AppEven and the apps available through it, so it’s not possible to enjoy the smooth functioning of these apps without workarounds.

How Flash Gave iOS Users More Avenues To Discover Great Content? 

Another avenue for iOS users to access apps — particularly games — outside the App Store was via the many Flash game portals. Sites like Armor Games, Kongregate, and Newgrounds hosted some of the most creative Flash games by small developers.

But what was so special about Flash? Flash, a platform owned by Adobe, made it easy for indie developers to realize their game ideas and other creative endeavors. The accessibility of Flash was due to its programming language, ActionScript, an easy-to-learn interpreted language that ran within the Adobe Flash Player.

Released as a web plug-in, the Adobe Flash Player allowed users to enjoy games and other multimedia content in the browser. Undeniably, it was one of the most versatile cross-platform technologies available. It was also one of the few technologies that lived up to the write once, run anywhere (WORA) paradigm.

Thus, Flash games could run on a desktop PC, an Android smartphone, and any iOS device, provided there was a browser with the Adobe Flash Player plug-in. But not everyone was happy with this, especially not the late Steve Jobs. 

Why Steve Jobs’s Open Letter Killed Flash?

On April 29, 2010, the Apple co-founder and CEO made several scathing remarks about Flash in an open letter. Steve Jobs lamented the poor battery performance, security issues, and redundant nature of Flash in light of modern alternatives. Of course, given Steve Jobs’s prominent position in the tech industry, everyone took notice. After the open letter, there was a slow-going shift away from Flash. 

On January 12, 2021, Adobe began blocking all Flash content from running in the Flash Player and requested that users remove it from their systems. It’s sad to see the sunsetting of a technology that helped game developers and creatives build their careers. But Flash still lives on thanks to the Ruffle emulator, which runs natively on modern platforms and features a high degree of ActionScript compatibility. 

Nevertheless, the open letter by Steve Jobs changed the trajectory of Flash forever. Apple users soon lost several avenues to discover and enjoy content outside the App Store. Many Flash developers soon shifted to HTML5 and WebGL game development, but some of the magic and camaraderie of the Flash community was gone. 

Why Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) Caused Backlash?

Until now, the chances of legitimate alternative iOS app stores hitting the market were dire — and that’s putting things lightly. Apple had no plans to allow these stores on its platforms due to security and privacy concerns. But things will soon change due to pressure from advocacy groups, developers, and the European Commission.

Apple already faced scrutiny because of its policies on PWAs. Many developers and businesses that want to bypass the App Store will create and distribute PWAs. Developers build these using web-based technologies and languages like CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Once built, the PWA is distributed on web servers and accessed via HTTPS.

That means any developer or business can distribute PWAs directly on their websites. The user will access the website with a desktop or a mobile browser. And with only a few clicks or taps, the user will download and install the PWA on their device. The process is so frictionless that it’s usually faster to download and install a PWA than an app from the App Store.

Furthermore, PWAs appear on the Home Screen with functionality like persistent authentication and notifications. It’s also common for PWAs to use fewer resources than native apps, which is advantageous for developers or businesses that want to distribute simple page-based apps.

Apple restricted PWAs from appearing on the Home Screen during the second beta release of iOS 17.4. However, there was some backlash from the Open Web Advocacy group and the European Commission, causing Apple to ease its stance on PWAs. Apple will now allow PWAs to appear on the Home Screen, provided developers use WebKit and adopt best practices as those for iOS native apps.

When Will Alternative iOS App Stores Be Available?

On March 6, 2024, the European Union (EU) implemented the Digital Markets Act (DMA), requiring Apple to let users install third-party stores and browsers. But this regulation only applies in EU countries and from iOS 17.4 onwards. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost to EU users who wish to use PWAs, as Apple will remove support for these in the region.

The introduction of alternative iOS app stores that closely mimic the stores on Android appears slim. Since Android runs on devices from different manufacturers, it’s common practice for each manufacturer to have an official app store. For example, Samsung has the Galaxy Store, Huawei has the AppGallery, and Xiaomi has the GetApps store.

Another big player in the Android space is Amazon, which has branded Android-compatible devices like the Fire range of tablets and TV sticks. Amazon serves users with apps and games via the Amazon Appstore, which runs on Android, Fire OS, and Windows 11 devices.

In a nutshell, many leading alternative Android app stores are so big and mature that anything similar will not appear for iOS. But iOS users can expect smaller app stores similar to APKMirror, APKPure, and Aptoide. There are also many game-specific Android stores and HTML5 game portals that may pursue the iOS EU market.

Will Third-Party iOS App Stores Appear In North America?

Apple has not revealed any plans for alternative iOS stores for the North American market. And it’s doubtful that Apple will change its position on this matter as it did with the EU.

But is this a hopeless situation for North American iOS users who crave alternative stores? Not necessarily, as rumors abound that Epic Games, the developer behind Fortnite, may push forward with an alternative store. While it’s purely speculative now, Epic Games is one of the few companies willing to land a hard blow on Apple’s tightly controlled ecosystem.

It’s no secret that Epic Games filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple back in 2020. The game developer accused Apple of taking anti-competitive and unlawful steps against users by necessitating them to use the App Store exclusively. Epic Games also claims that the App Store charges a 30% commission on all in-app purchases, and why Epic Games attempted to make Fortnite available outside the App Store.

Unfortunately, this move caused Apple to block Fortnite on the App Store. But users can play an older version of Fortnite natively or the current version via cloud gaming channels. Epic Games recently announced they will bring their game store and Fortnite to the EU for iOS devices. While there’s no news of an American store for iOS, some tech insiders and enthusiasts claim that it will appear in the foreseeable future. 

In Conclusion

Alternative iOS app stores are on their way, at least in the EU. While this is a positive first step, it would be great to see a similar move in North America and other territories. 

However, we understand Apple’s concerns about protecting user data and privacy and providing a consistent user experience across the board. A locked-down ecosystem isn’t necessarily a negative if users and developers see the value. Contact NS804 today to learn how we can help you build high-quality iOS apps that run natively!

App Store Submissions For iOS Developers (2024 Guide)

The App Store is undoubtedly one of the most successful digital storefronts ever conceived. And that’s proven by a barrage of App Store submissions, ultimately leading to approximately 36 billion iOS mobile downloads in 2024. Interestingly, Google Play’s 129 billion mobile app downloads overwhelmingly surpass the App Store’s download figures. But that’s due to the higher number of Android devices in circulation. 

Even with this notable difference, no appreneur, business leader, or developer should ignore the iOS marketplace. Consumers in the US and Western European territories prefer iPhones over all the Android alternatives. The brand recognition, better security, and premium quality of iPhones have won over these consumers over the long haul. 

Furthermore, App Store users spend more on apps via in-app purchases, premium app purchases, and subscriptions. Whether we like it or not, iOS users are significantly more valuable to appreneurs and businesses than their Android-using counterparts. Unfortunately, this has led to a degree of elitism within Apple’s user base, but it’s best to ignore this sentiment and focus on what it takes to succeed in the App Store. 

Creating a marketable and high-quality iOS app should always take precedence. It’s usually your second step after planning your app or your third step if you’ve already built a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP). 

But what do you do once you’ve completed your app — do you hand it over to Apple and call it a day? No, App Store submissions are a more complicated affair requiring about as much professionalism, foresight, and dedication as your app development procedures. You can’t cut corners if you want to enjoy a smooth submission process in 2024, so we’ve compiled this handy guide to help you succeed with your iOS app launches.

Why Are App Store Submissions So Important? 

Apple built its reputation by delivering a computing experience that often exceeds anything similar by rivals. The computing giant’s world-beating product design and no-nonsense approach to quality leave many competitors far behind or trying to emulate the Apple formula. In most cases, these competitors fail since Apple has amassed the resources and top talent to remain in the lead.

But Apple hasn’t set the bar high only for itself and the industry; it has set the bar high for you as well. If you want to partake in the Apple ecosystem — especially the highly lauded App Store — bring your A-game to make it worthwhile. While the App Store was once a place for newbie developers to launch their careers or try out all sorts of quirky app ideas, this is no longer the case. 

Like many popular digital storefronts, the App Store has no shortage of apps of varying quality. As is the trend with most app releases, the higher-quality apps do better while their low-effort counterparts languish behind.

Inevitably, the more successful apps bring home more revenue, which also benefits Apple since it charges a 30% commission on in-app purchases and subscriptions. However, Apple offers other rates for small businesses and the European Union (EU). In either case, Apple earns more from its chart-topping apps like Roblox, TikTok, and Uber. 

Not every iOS app will set the App Store charts on fire, and Apple doesn’t necessarily expect this from developers. But it does expect them to meet their significantly stringent app review guidelines. The App Store is much more curated than rival storefronts, so iOS developers must meet a certain quality threshold when making App Store submissions

Why It’s A Prerequisite To Join The Apple Developer Program? 

Apple wants you to deliver your best work, so they’ve created the Apple Developer Program to help you with all the ins and outs of the development process. Enrolling in this program is mandatory if you want to develop for Apple’s platforms and release your apps on the App Store. There’s an annual fee involved that will set you back US$99. Apple also offers a program for enterprises for a fee of US$299 per annum.

Do note that enrolling in this program is legally binding, and Apple expects the following from you:

  • Apple ID with two-factor authentication activated.
  • Full legal name and address, and you must be of legal age.
  • Provide a D-U-N-S Number if you enroll as an organization.
  • Your organization must be a legal entity and have a publicly visible website under a domain name registered with your company.  

What Are The Benefits Of The Apple Developer Program?   

Apart from allowing you to make App Store submissions, membership will grant you access to the following tools: 

  • The latest operating system (OS) betas and software development kits (SDKs): iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, visionOS, and watchOS.
  • Apple’s proprietary integrated development environment (IDE): Xcode. 
  • Additional tools to facilitate quicker and easier development: CreateML, Reality Composer, and Xcode Cloud.

The Apple Developer Program also includes the following services for better app integration and a more meaningful user experience (UX): 

  • AirPlay: Allows users to stream across all their Apple devices. 
  • CloudKit: Access Apple’s iCloud service to store all your app’s data.
  • Core ML: Easily implement the latest machine learning (ML) models into your iOS app.
  • DeviceCheck: This helps keep the services running on your app and devices safe from bad actors. 
  • Face ID and Touch ID: Allows users to access your app with safety and usability in mind.
  • Handoff: Allows users to work uninterrupted when moving from one Apple device to another. 
  • HealthKit: This feature regularly provides users with the most up-to-date fitness data on their iPhone and Apple Watch devices. 
  • HomeKit and Matter: Users can control all connected devices in their homes. 
  • In-App Purchase and Subscriptions: By implementing the StoreKit framework, it’s possible to unlock additional app features and content when users pay. 
  • Push Notifications: Inform users of the latest content updates and events to retain or increase engagement. 
  • Sign in with Apple: Make app and website access simpler for users by allowing them to sign in with their Apple IDs. 
  • System Extensions and DriverKit: Enhance app functionality and security with Apple’s wide range of extensions. 
  • WeatherKit: This handy framework lets users access up-to-date information to help them stay safe during rapidly changing and adverse weather conditions. 

What To Check Before Making App Store Submissions?

To ensure that all your App Store submissions proceed smoothly, be sure to follow the points in this checklist: 

  • Rigorously and regularly test your app for any bugs and crashes.
  • Provide accurate and comprehensive app information and metadata before submitting. 
  • Keep your contact details current so the App Review team can contact you when necessary. 
  • Ensure that the App Review team has full access to your app, so provide a demo account if it relies on having an account to access features. 
  • All your app’s backend services must be live when under review.
  • Provide additional documentation to detail all your app’s more advanced or cryptic features. 
  • Regularly refer to Apple’s development, design, and brand and marketing guidelines to ensure your app complies with all these. 
  • If you’re a European developer, review the guidelines and notarization for iOS apps in the EU. 

Which Safety Rules Does The App Store Enforce?

The App Store places user safety and satisfaction front and center. Thus, objectionable content of any kind isn’t welcome. To avoid failed App Store submissions, be sure to comply with the following rules: 

  • Don’t add discriminatory, distasteful, or offensive content to your app. Be mindful of any content that aims to harm, humiliate, or defame users of any specific race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic group. 
  • Avoid content that aims to shock and disgust users. 
  • Cut out any realistic or overly violent scenes from your iOS app or mobile game. 
  • Pornographic imagery of any sort is unacceptable, and so are any so-called hookup apps that lead to exploitation, human trafficking, and prostitution. 
  • Provocative and falsified religious messaging is not allowed. 
  • No depictions of illegal behavior, drug usage, or dangerous use of weapons must appear in your iOS app or mobile game. 
  • Never submit an app with false features or information or attempt to trick or defraud users. If your app tries to prank users via calls or the SMS/MMS messaging features, then the App Review team will reject it. 
  • Don’t submit an app to profit from human suffering due to wars, terrorism, and pandemics. 
  • If your app relies on user-generated content (USG), make it easy to filter and block abusive users and objectionable content. Be sure to publish your contact details so users can notify you of any related issues.
  • If you’re creating a children’s app, you may submit it for the Kids Category under specific conditions. Your app must not entice children to make purchases or have any external links. 
  • As an iOS developer, you must protect user data and disclose which third parties you partner with that collect user data.

Why Performance Matters During App Store Submissions?

The App Review team first looks at the overall completeness of your iOS app. So, you must submit a fully functional app that includes all metadata, even during the pre-order phase. If you submit a demo, ensure that it fully showcases the functionality of the finished product. Never submit an app with placeholder content, text, and non-existent app and company website links. 

The overall performance of your iOS app is another aspect that the App Review team will scrutinize. To ensure you submit a relatively polished and bug-free app, you must beta test regularly before releasing it officially on the App Store. Use Apple’s excellent TestFlight SDK for beta testing, and ensure that you submit these builds to TestFlight App Review.

Keep in mind that you’re not permitted to offer any form of compensation to beta testers. Also, you may not release your iOS app to the public during the TestFlight process. 

A big part of App Store submissions includes the correct and accurate completion of app metadata. Never leave this task to the last minute, as there’s plenty of metadata you must carefully evaluate and complete. You must include an app description, privacy information, screenshots, and previews accurately showcasing your app’s core features.

Every time you update your app, you must include new metadata that reflects these changes. Never misrepresent your app and its features in any way, as you risk being banned from the Apple Developer Program if you’re deemed untrustworthy.

Be sure to test your app on several iOS devices to determine whether it runs well on a wide range of Apple hardware. Moreover, ensure that your app runs smoothly on the latest version of the OS (currently iOS and iPadOS 17). 

Which Factors Will Impact Approval Of An iOS App? 

The App Review team will expect your iOS app to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Smooth functionality: Your iOS app must perform flawlessly and work as detailed by the notes and documentation you provide. 
  • Overall usability: Ensure that your iOS app complies with the Human Interface Guidelines set by Apple. The App Review team wants to see a well-designed user interface (UI) with consistency on every page of your app. 
  • App accessibility: Make your iOS app usable for those with disabilities. 
  • Easy navigation: Use recognizable UI elements for the buttons, tabs, and gesture controls of your app. New and longtime iOS users should feel right at home when running your app for the first time. 
  • Satisfactory performance: Your iOS app must load quickly and be responsive at all times, regardless if it’s running on newer or older devices. Ensure that your app keeps battery drainage and memory usage to a minimum to avoid rejection by the App Review team. 
  • Tight security: Ensure that your iOS app complies with Apple’s guidelines regarding app permissions, data encryption, and privacy. 
  • Legal compliance: Your iOS app must comply with all relevant regulations, copyright, and trademark laws in your region. In some cases, laws applicable in other territories may impact your app, so seek legal advice if necessary. 

In Conclusion

If you closely follow the pointers we’ve provided, your App Store submissions should go smoothly in 2024 and beyond. Expect to hear back from the App Review team in about 48 hours after you submit your app. On the off chance of a rejection, the App Review team will provide feedback and guidance on what you need to fix before submitting again. 

But you can make life easier for yourself by partnering with a reputable mobile app studio. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create iOS apps that will please the reviewers and your users! 

Custom Mobile App Development: How To Benefit From The Latest Trends

As a forward-looking business leader, you want to utilize mobile technologies to put your organization in the lead. But where do you begin with all the options currently available — do you pick an off-the-shelf solution or venture forth with custom mobile app development

The first option seems cheaper and hassle-free since you can use the product soon after registering your account. But with the latter option, a custom-built app will require a significant commitment from you, which will involve an initial cost outlay and consultation time with a mobile development studio.

Considering the mere accessibility of the first option, it should be the way to go, right? That may be the case if you only have a surface-level view of your organization’s short-term and long-term requirements. 

For example, you may be running a startup with a limited budget, so an affordable off-the-shelf solution suits your needs now. But how robust is this solution when you decide to scale your business or require features that this solution doesn’t offer? Will you jump to another ready-made solution to fill these gaps, or do you opt for a mobile app custom-built to your exact requirements? 

If you end up with several off-the-shelf solutions, you’ll add complexity to your organization’s existing tech infrastructure. Furthermore, your staff will require training to use these additional apps. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it’s seldom possible to train staff when you need them to perform mission-critical tasks required for the smooth functioning of your organization.  

Fortunately, you can do away with these issues by embracing custom mobile app development. Your organization will enjoy several key benefits from the latest trends custom-built apps bring forth, which we’ll discuss below.  

Custom Mobile App Development Solves Problems Exclusive To Your Business

Primarily, you want to approach custom mobile app development to solve problems that exclusively impact your business. Off-the-shelf solutions seldom do this because they attempt to solve issues affecting organizations in general. Since your business is unique, you can’t always rely on tools that all your competitors are using. 

Let’s assume you’re operating a chain of bakeries that use wood-fired ovens. But all your competitors are using either commercial electric or gas-powered ovens. Thus, how you stock your inventory and prepare your baked goods will differ significantly from competing stores and chains. 

The unique methodologies in preparing your goods will inevitably impact your tech infrastructure. You may need to create an inventory management mobile app to keep track of your stock levels based on your dough preparation and baking rates. Since your wood-fired ovens require skilled artisans to operate and bake slower than electric or gas ovens, your custom-built management app will work with this scenario.

If you had to use a similar solution to your competitors, you’d end up over-ordering or under-ordering on the wrong days. And this would impact the efficiency and profitability of your chain of bakeries. 

But why create a custom-built inventory management mobile app when you could go with a desktop or web-based solution? A mobile app is often the better choice since all your employees have mobile devices and will be in different areas of your stores. Your chief baker can check inventory and place orders without leaving the bakery floor, especially if a desktop PC isn’t available here. 

A Custom-Built Mobile App Offers Stellar Data Security

Not a day goes by without a major data security breach making the news. Sadly, the world’s most popular websites and cloud services are usually at the front lines of these data breaches. Whether it’s Alibaba’s leak of 1.1 billion chunks of user information or Microsoft’s Azure cybersecurity breach impacting executive accounts, no mainstream online product is safe from hackers.

But where does that leave mobile apps; are they safer? Yes, mobile apps are often safer if users download them directly from the App Store or Google Play. Both app stores have raised the bar on what they expect from developers regarding app security, user data, and privacy. However, unscrupulous developers and bad actors still manage to publish dubious apps on these stores, which poses a significant security risk to users. 

The good news is that custom mobile app development allows you to lock down your security on all fronts. And enjoy peace of mind due to having a higher level of app security than any off-the-shelf solution can offer your organization. Moreover, you can integrate your custom-built app with a hybrid or private cloud service, giving you considerable control and data protection. 

Take Advantage Of The Latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) Trends

Trailblazing large language models (LLMs) like Claude, ChatGPT, and Gemini are integral to the modern AI landscape. There’s a good reason for this since these LLMs radically improve the productivity and efficiency of users and organizations. And like all modern organizations, you want to take advantage of these LLMs if you haven’t done so already. 

All the most popular LLMs offer application programming interfaces (APIs) that integrate with desktop, mobile, and web apps. So, you can easily tap into the power of these LLMs without requiring expensive hardware or knowing the minutest details of how these language models work. All your staff needs to do is learn how to enter prompts that will output the desired results from the LLMs you’ve integrated.

It’s also possible to build custom mobile apps that don’t use prompts but rely on other forms of user interaction, such as voice and context-based inputs. If you embark on custom mobile app development, consult a reputable studio like NS804 to help you plan and implement these inputs to suit your needs along with LLM integration.

Improve Staff Productivity With A Custom-Built Mobile App

Since you’re the leader of your organization, there’s no one better placed to understand your staff. You know how productive they are, their workflows, and what motivates them to perform at their best. You also know who the team players are and who are unengaged. 

Ideally, you want your unengaged staff to step up by emulating the behavior of your best employees. But that largely depends on how well you convey your organization’s culture, expectations, and goals. Leading by example and initiating discussions with staff members who are lagging behind will also help.

Even if you take all these actions, your staff still needs the right tools to produce optimal results. If you’re relying on a mix of disparate apps from different vendors, you’re making things more difficult for your staff. And that’s because they’ll have to contend with differing user interfaces (UIs), workflows, and app usability.  

Worse still, you’ll often encounter one or two apps within your suite of apps that create bottlenecks. These bottlenecks may be due to apps with poor performance, lack of updates, and unsupported features, ultimately making them redundant. Nevertheless, your organization can adopt a better app strategy by creating one or more custom-built apps that address all bottlenecks your organization currently deals with.

Thus, approach custom mobile app development with the intent to offer the features and workflows that will help keep all your staff members productive. Moreover, ensure all your custom-built mobile apps are fully compatible and integrate with your existing tech. In time, you can consolidate all the most crucial features into a singular mobile app, reducing complexity and maintenance costs.

Custom Mobile App Development Enhances Business Competitiveness

World-renowned brands like Domino’s Pizza, IKEA, and Nike rely on custom mobile app development. Also, NS804 has delivered custom-built solutions for leading brands like CarLotz, Dominion Energy, and Luck Stone. All these brands understand that custom-built apps offer them an unprecedented amount of control, efficiency, and security.

Another reason custom mobile app development is popular with brands is that it helps them stay competitive. They prefer using bespoke apps that align fully with their needs and goals instead of relying on off-the-shelf solutions that have little to do with their businesses. It’s not that brands will never use the latter, but tailor-made solutions will always play a central role due to their holistic design and implementation. 

But how can a custom-built mobile app give your organization a competitive edge? If your organization is a startup or a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), you’ll have a tool designed specifically for your business processes. That won’t be the case for most of your competitors who opt for off-the-shelf solutions, as these won’t adequately cover all their day-to-day operations.

Increase Customer Engagement And Satisfaction

While custom-built mobile apps usually address internal business needs, you should also consider customer-facing scenarios. Nowadays, most existing and potential customers will seldom visit your website unless you have an e-commerce store or are regularly running special offers. So, you’ll need to consider a more effective avenue to reach and engage customers if your online presence isn’t having an impact.

An effective way to form a more meaningful relationship with your customers is with a custom mobile app. The app must make it easy for customers to learn about your products and services and receive round-the-clock assistance via AI-assisted chatbots. 

To make it easy for them to make purchases, ensure that you integrate the most popular payment gateways into your mobile app. Apple allows third-party payment processors for iOS apps distributed in the European Union (EU) as of March 2024. Android developers enjoy more freedom in this regard, as they can integrate leading platforms like 2checkout, Stripe, and WePay for most territories. 

Your customers will use mobile devices with different aspect ratios and screen sizes, and a growing number will use Android flip phones. Obviously, supporting these various screen configurations complicates matters from a development standpoint. But you want to give all your customers a satisfactory user experience (UX), and that’s only possible by implementing responsive design so that your mobile app adjusts its UI for each target device.

But to substantially increase your customer-facing app’s engagement, consider integrating the most favored social media platforms. Make it child’s play for your customers to share all the coolest products and services you offer across all their favorite social media accounts. Furthermore, this will help build awareness for your brand and its offerings without any marketing cost for your organization.

Connect With The Surrounding World More Effectively

The increased adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices offers businesses of all sizes countless opportunities to boost efficiency. IoT devices come in all forms, such as affordable single-board computers (SBCs), industrial sensors, and even security systems. The best part is that you can build an app that can communicate with all these devices and even automate specific tasks.

Now, consider a practical application for your organization’s office management procedures. You want to keep track of staff activities in the office related to their attendance, interactions, and movements. Why you should do this is to ensure that your office facilitates a safe and productive work environment. 

While you can spend weeks or months monitoring the office environment in person, you can gather more meaningful data by installing IoT devices in the right places. These include an automated attendance clock, desk sensors, and room occupancy monitoring devices. Then, your custom-built office management app will draw data from all these devices and provide you with real-time analytics.

With this data-driven approach, you can quickly pinpoint troublespots in your office layout and even identify errant employees. And with all custom mobile app development endeavors, you can add additional features when required. For example, you’ve identified that staff members spend their lunch breaks at the office lounge and avoid the cafeteria. 

You could remodel the cafeteria to make it more appealing. Alternatively, you can install vending machines in the office lounge to dispense drinks and snacks. And make it easy for employees to make purchases by introducing near field communication (NFC) payment via a newly-introduced feature in your office management app.

The Bottom Line

Custom mobile app development is the way forward for all businesses that want to perform at their best, especially when presented with harsh economic conditions. A custom-built app is designed to exclusively serve your organization’s structure, goals, and business processes. It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach like many popular off-the-shelf apps that usually run on a Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription model. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you build a custom app to help you stay ahead in your industry!

Strategies for Effective Mobile App Marketing in a Crowded/Saturated Market

In mobile app marketing, a saturated market refers to an environment that offers more or less similar apps with the same features and capabilities, and all apps target overlapping demographics of users. This unhealthy competition creates rivalry, making it hard for new entrants to gain traction.

In such a competitive market space having the right and the most effective marketing strategy can make a difference and help you stand out. Without the right strategy to target and attract potential consumers and users, even the most robust and the highest quality app can fail to succeed.

The right and the most effective marketing strategy can not only improve the app’s visibility but can also help the app influence user perception, lead to customer acquisition, and promote the overall success of the app.

Strategies for Effective Mobile App Marketing in a Saturated Market

1. Conduct Market Research to Identify Your Target Audience and Their Needs

Market research is the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy for an app, especially in a saturated market. It involves gathering information about your target market and clients, their needs, preferences, locations, and perceptions. By understanding your audience, you can tailor your app’s messaging, features, and marketing efforts resonating with your audience.

Demographic Analysis

Start by identifying the demographic traits of your target audience like their age, location, gender, education levels, and income. This information helps create user personas that represent different segments of your audience.

Psychographic Analysis

Psychographic analysis primarily deals with analyzing your clients’ and potential users’ interests, values, lifestyles, and buying behavior. Knowing you’re the psychology of your users helps you craft messages and communications that resonate with their aspirations and motivations.

Needs Assessment

Identify the specific needs, pain points, and challenges your audience faces and explore how your app can overcome those challenges. Conduct focused groups, interviews, and surveys and gather information from potential users.

Analyze your Competitors to Identify their Strengths and Weaknesses

Competitor analysis is vital for understanding the market and identifying opportunities for expansion and differentiation.

  • Identify competitors. Identify direct and indirect competitors. Direct competitors are players with similar offerings as yours, while indirect competitors refer to players whose products and offerings can easily replace yours.
  • SWOT analysis. Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market. Strengths may include a strong brand and unique product features and weaknesses may entail limited market presence and poor user experience. Opportunities may capture emerging trends and market gaps, and threats may entail changing regulations and new entrants.
  • Differentiation Strategy. Look for areas where your app can provide added value. You can focus on strengths that your competitors lack and identify weaknesses that you can improve.

Use Data Analytics Tools

Use data analytics news to gather information about your user behavior, measuring the effectiveness of the marketing campaign and measuring its effectiveness. Leveraging data analytics tools to collect client and consumer information may help you tailor effective marketing campaigns and optimize the app’s performance.

  • User behavior analysis. Use tools like Firebase Analytics, Google Analytics, and in-app performance to track navigation paths, user interactions, and engagement levels. Analyze this data to identify trends and areas of improvement.
  • Conversion funnel analysis. Analyze the conversion funnel from app discovery to conversion to optimize conversion rates and identify bottlenecks at every stage.
  • A/B testing. Conduct A/B tests to experiment with different app features, messaging, and marketing strategies. Measure the impact of these variations on user behavior and iterate based on data-driven insights.

Using data analytics tools helps you collect insightful information, helping you build knowledge and insight about your marketing efforts.

2. Develop a Unique Value Proposition

Define what makes your app stand out from the competition. This could be its innovative approach, features, niche market, or a combination of all these. The goal here is to define what makes your app special and unique and why should consumers choose your app over others.

One of the most unique value proportions is unique features. For your app to stand out in a competitive marketplace or saturated market, it must exhibit unique features and functionalities. This means your app must be different and must provide distinct benefits and capabilities that are specifically unique to the app and not to other apps in the same market.

Innovative technology is another distinguishing feature for developing a unique value proportion. Apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Slack, and Microsoft Teams are innovative because they represent innovative technologies in their respective industries and fields. Similarly, to stand out in a competitive marketplace, your app must provide an innovative technology that’s unique in its way.

Your app must provide an exceptional user experience for it to stand out in a competitive market. The apps must focus on delivering an intuitive, smooth, and speedier interface that responds at the slightest touch. Emphasize how your app saves time, simplifies tasks, and enhances productivity for its users.

Another aspect of creating a unique value proposition is creating a specialized niche focus. If your app caters to a specific industry, market, and user segment, you must emphasize and highlight the specific value it provides to that target market. Highlight how your app addresses their challenges, unique needs, and interests better than other apps.

Crafting a Compelling UVP

There are various strategies you can use to craft a compelling unique selling proposition:

  • The unique selling point must be clear and easy to understand.
  • The USP must communicate the relevance and ease of use of the new app.
  • The USP must contain an emotional appeal.
  • The app must communicate its benefits and value to the end users.

It is important to note that your unique selling proposition is an opportunity to sell your product to your target audience by communicating the features, benefits, and overall value of your app.

3. Optimize Your App Store Presence

To make your app stand out in a crowded or saturated market, it’s important to optimize your app store presence. If your app is designed to run on IOS, it is important to take advantage of app store optimization. Some apps are cross-platform, meaning they’re designed to run on both Android and IOS. Regardless of the IOS, it’s important to leverage your app store to reap maximum benefits.

Use appropriate keywords

It’s advisable to use appropriate keywords in your app’s title, description, and meta-description. Using the right combination of keywords strategically in your app’s metadata will help to improve its visibility in the app store and hence improve adoption and retention.

Some of the strategies you can use to ensure appropriate use of keywords include:

  • Keyword research
  • Natural selection and incorporation of keywords
  • Optimizing app title and description
  • Metadata optimization

Keywords improve searchability and visibility, ensuring you’re at the top of the search engine and easily visible to a large target audience.

Design Eye-Catching Icons, Screenshots, and Videos

Visual elements play a crucial role in capturing users and encouraging them to explore your app even further. Invest in creating visually appealing assets that showcase your app’s unique features and capabilities.

  • App icon. Design a visually appealing and striking app icon that stands out on home screens and the app store. Ensure the icon reflects your brand identity and communicates the essence of your app.
  • Screenshots and videos. Create high-quality promotional videos and screenshots that highlight the benefits, functionalities, and user experiences of your target audience. Use clear captions, engaging visuals, and annotations to demonstrate the app’s value and encourage downloads.
  • Preview videos. Pay attention to the preview video feature in the Play Store or App Store. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your app’s unique features, user interactions, and app functionality clearly and compellingly.

Encourage positive reviews and ratings

Encourage positive reviews and ratings to encourage downloads. Positive reviews not only influence user perception but also contribute to higher app store rankings and visibility. Implement strategies designed to encourage users to leave feedback and give ratings on the app’s user interaction and speed.

Some of the strategies that you can use to encourage positive reviews and ratings include:

  • Prompt user feedback.
  • Ethically incentivize any reviews.
  • Address any negative feedback.
  • Maintain app quality and functionality.

By encouraging feedback and ratings, you can engage with potential users better and shift their perceptions.

4. Leverage Social Media and Digital Marketing

Social media provides an excellent platform for connecting and reaching out to your target audience. Social media allows you to build meaningful connections, obtain feedback, and provide continuous improvement to your mobile app. In a highly saturated market, here’s how to use social media to build an app that stands out.

Platform selection

It’s advisable to select platforms most frequented by your target audience. Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, or X are all potential social media channels you can leverage to build meaningful connections with your target audience.

Profile optimization

Optimize your profile with the appropriate colors, logos, and messaging to ensure it communicates your values. Provide clear information about your app, its functionality, and benefits.

Content strategy

Create content that resonates with your audience. It’s advisable to use catchy phrases, captivating colors, and designs to attract user attention and influence adoption. Create a mixture of content types, including videos, audio, polls, stories, images, and quizzes.

Develop engaging content

Engaging content plays an instrumental role in attracting and retaining your social media followers while promoting the app effectively. It’s advisable to consider the following formats of content.

  •  Videos. Create captivating videos that showcase your app’s story, features, and benefits. Include animation, visual storytelling, testimonials, and behind-the-scenes footage to amplify your app.
  • Blog posts. Develop informative blog posts that explore topics relevant to your niche. Include industry guides, how-to guides, case studies, and industry trends content. In addition, it’s advisable to blog posts for search engines to attract organic traffic.
  • Infographics. Design visually appealing infographics that communicate tips, key information, statistics, and comparisons related to your niche. Infographics are highly valuable and can attract attention on social media platforms.
  • User-generated content. User-generated content UGC encourages users to create and share content related to your app such as testimonials, user reviews, success stories, and feedback. User-generated content adds credibility and authenticity to your marketing.

Use targeted ads

Use targeted ads on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Targeted advertising allows you to reach your audience based on their interests, behavior, likes, demographics, and online activities. Here’s how to leverage targeted ads effectively.

Audience segmentation

Segment your audience based on gender, age, demographics, location, interests, app usage, and app preferences. This will help you create targeted ads that target users based on these specific user preferences.

Ad formats

Leverage various ad formats offered by different platforms such as Facebook (lead ads, video ads, and carousel ads), Google ads (app install ads, display ads, search ads), and Instagram ads (video ads, carousel ads, and story ads).

Ad creative

Develop compelling ad creatives with attractive and attention-grabbing visuals, clear and concise copy, and thought-provoking calls to action. Test these ads on different platforms to optimize performance and improve conversion rates.

Budgeting and optimization

Set realistic marketing budgets based on your marketing goals and monitor ad performance through metrics such as click-through-rate CTR, cost per acquisition, and retention rates. In addition, leverage ad campaigns regularly to maximize reach and returns on investment.

5. Leverage Collaborations and Partnerships

Identifying and establishing collaborations and partnerships with the right organizations and individuals can significantly boost your app’s credibility and visibility. Here’s how to identify potential partners and collaborators.

  • Alignment with your target audience. Identify influencers, brands, and organizations who share the same target audience as yours. Consider factors such as user behavior, demographics, interests, app preferences, and gender.
  • Complementary services. Look for apps that offer complimentary services or products like yours. Collaborating with partners whose offerings complement yours can provide mutual benefits to both parties.
  • Influencer identification. Research and identify influencers in your niche who have a significant following and engagement with your target audience. Look for influencers who align with your brand value and who can authentically promote and grow your brand.

It’s important to note that partnerships and collaborations play an instrumental role in ensuring your app stands out in a highly competitive marketplace.

NS804 – Building Apps That Stand Out

NS804 is a trusted provider of custom mobile app solutions. The company focuses on both iOS and Android apps, providing excellent mobile app solutions for businesses of different sizes and industries. We believe that marketing is crucial for the success of any app.

We believe that businesses must invest exhaustively in developing effective marketing campaigns that educate and inform people about its features and benefits. As part of this realization, we help businesses align their app development efforts with the needs of the market, ensuring that our apps answer the needs and interests of the target audience.

Contact NS804 today for superior and custom mobile app solutions.

 

 

Android Gaming: 6 Most Popular Mobile Game Genres In 2024

Android gaming offers the most accessible way for users to enjoy trailblazing games without requiring expensive hardware. Unlike PCs and consoles, low-spec and mid-tier Android devices are powerful enough to run most hit games on the platform. And if you’re a mobile game developer, publisher, or investor, that’s a compelling reason to build your next game for Android

With over 3 billion devices running the Android operating system (OS) in 2024, your potential worldwide market is enormous. Moreover, you’re not limited to smartphones and tablets since Android games run on Android TV devices, Chromebooks, and PCs. Then, there are many app stores where you can publish your games, like Google Play, Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, F-Droid, Itch.io, Aptoide, and Amazon Appstore. If you plan to release in Asian markets, your app store choices increase substantially. 

All these digital storefronts make Android gaming incredibly ubiquitous. But you’re probably wondering what mobile game genres are truly popular with Android gamers in 2024. If you’re itching to create your first or next masterpiece, you already have many exciting ideas. You may want to make a boomer shooter with rogue-lite elements or a racing game with a level-up system. 

But are such ideas feasible, or should you be less enthusiastic about their potential success? It’s difficult to predict the next big genre or hit mobile game. Yet, it’s possible to gain some valuable insights by delving deeper into the genres that Android gamers enjoy playing.

And given the dynamism of the Android platform and the Google Play store, game genre popularity seldom remains static. Thus, we’ll focus strictly on the genres that remain profitable, popular, or are trending upward in 2024. Below is our list of six genres that you should consider for your upcoming Android game. 

1. Role-Playing Games (RPGs)

Dungeons and Dragons, the world-famous tabletop RPG series created by Dave Lance Arneson and Ernest Gary Gygax, set the groundwork for all computer RPGs to follow. Initially, RPGs served a small but dedicated following who loved the high fantasy settings, heroic exploits, and detailed narrative of the RPG genre. A few other draws of the genre are the ability for players to customize their party of heroes and engage in turn-based or action-oriented battles against numerous monsters and unforgettable larger-than-life bosses.

Another reason why players enjoy RPGs is due to their longer-than-usual play lengths. Older RPG titles could take 10-20 hours to complete, but newer titles can reach or exceed 300 hours. And that’s significant because the longer play time ensures that developers interested in creating RPGs will enjoy a high average revenue per user (ARPU). It’s realistic for RPGs targeting the Android gaming community to hit an average ARPU of $7.22, far higher than many other popular genres. 

While that figure makes RPGs worth pursuing, they’re expensive and time-consuming to develop due to the large amount of content required. Furthermore, you’ll have to compete with established RPG developers from China, Japan, and South Korea. Several of the most successful and highest-earning Android mobile RPGs come from Asia and include the following: 

  • Genshin Impact (miHoYo / Shanghai Miha Touring Film Technology Co., Ltd.)
  • Fate/Grand Order (Lasengle / Delightworks / Aniplex)
  • Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle (Akatsuki / Bandai Namco)

2. Simulation Games

Simulation games offer players a more cerebral and slow-burn Android gaming experience than most genres. Similarly to turn-based RPGs, simulation games seldom require quick reflexes or force players to make hasty decisions. Instead, players will build and manage cities, factories, or farms. But the genre is near-limitless in scope, as business scenarios are also popular, as in Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon and the many other titles it influenced. 

The genre rose in popularity on the PC due to how well the platform’s mouse and keyboard make control and navigation intuitive. Fortunately, the touch controls found on all modern mobile devices allow for a fluid gaming experience. And that’s helping with growth on Android devices, as the simulation genre trended upwards by 7.27% on Google Play over the past year. 

But does this mean you should tackle a simulation game as your next Android project? Simulation games are much cheaper to develop than RPGs, making them ideal if you have a limited budget and staff. But they’re challenging to make, especially if you don’t have any prior experience in the genre. If that’s the case, consider partnering with an established studio like NS804 to help you with the development process.

Another upside of releasing a simulation title is that you won’t have to limit yourself to Android (or even iOS). Due to the genre’s substantial traction on the PC, you can port it for additional revenue. Some of the most popular and profitable simulation games on Android include the following:

  • Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe)
  • My Time at Portia (Pathea / Nuverse)
  • Game Dev Tycoon (Rarebyte / Greenheart Games)

3. Arcade Games

Traditional arcade games hit their stride in the late ’70s and rapidly became the primary way electronic gaming gained mass appeal. Arcade titles like Atari’s Asteroids, Namco’s Pac-Man, and Taito’s Space Invaders became massive global hits — ultimately influencing the wider culture. A combination of addictive gameplay, accessible controls, and bold graphics led to the success of these titles and many more.

While these older arcade games seem archaic, they still appeal to retro gamers and those who grew up with these titles. So, it’s unsurprising that updated versions of older arcade games have hit Google Play to scratch that omnipresent nostalgia itch. Perhaps a few of the lower-quality titles in the arcade genre are shameless cash grabs, but there’s no denying that Android gaming enthusiasts can’t get enough of these action-packed titles.

So, how popular is the genre on Android nowadays? It’s one of the most popular genres, with over 56,000 arcade games on the Google Play store, comprising 9.81% of downloads globally. Since many arcade games are relatively easy to develop compared to other genres, many smaller indie developers prefer to focus on these.

However, easy-to-develop doesn’t mean you can pump out arcade titles and find immediate success. Arcade games require plenty of play testing, tweaking, and game balancing to satisfy the demands of Android gamers. 

Furthermore, Google Play’s recent app policies require that new developers who plan to publish on the platform have their apps or games tested by a minimum of 20 people. If you want to compete in this genre, you must release a game that meets or surpasses the standards of the following titles: 

  • Downwell (Moppin / Red Phantom Games / DevolverDigital)
  • Golden Axe Classics (SEGA) 
  • Geometry Dash (RobTop Games)

4. Action Games

Android gaming is synonymous with the action game genre. Several of the most impactful titles on the platform deliver fast-paced gameplay, intense set-pieces, and phenomenal graphics. The player often assumes control of a heroic character that can pull off moves like jumping, wall running, and hand-to-hand combat.

It’s common for action games to adopt a shooting element, often straddling the fine line between the action and shooting genres. However, if a game relies on a third-person perspective (TPP), it falls squarely in the action genre. Most shooters (apart from top-down or horizontal-scrolling shooters) are in the first-person shooter camp, popularized by Doom and its many clones.

Hack-and-slash titles, where game characters wield swords, lances, or other piercing weapons — are also part of the action genre. While these can be mistaken for fighting or beat ’em ups due to some gameplay similarities, there are notable differences. Most fighting games offer duels between two combatants, whereas beat ’em ups often adopt a belt scroll side view to display the action.

Action games can be 2D or 3D, but most modern gamers prefer 3D TPP games due to their more realistic blockbuster movie-like presentation. They can also be single-player or multiplayer, with the latter increasing in popularity due to better bandwidth on recent Android devices. And their popularity doesn’t end there, as there are currently over 34,000 action games in the Google Play store, comprising 15.2% of downloads globally. A few of the leading titles in the action genre for Android include the following: 

  • Overdrive II: Shadow Battle (GEMMOB Adventure)
  • Grimvalor (Direlight)
  • PUBG Mobile (Lightspeed & Quantum / PUBG Corporation / Level Infinite)

5. Racing Games

As one of the oldest video game genres, the racing game has been a mainstay of the games industry for at least five decades. In 1973, Atari released the world’s very first racing game, known to all as Space Race. It was an incredibly rudimentary title that caused Atari’s Japanese rivals like Namco and Taito to offer players more improved and refined alternatives.

But the racing genre truly wowed players when Sega released Out Run (often written as OutRun) in arcades in 1986. Sega had incorporated advanced super scaler technology into its arcade boards, which left the competition in the dust. These boards could create convincing 3D visual effects by scaling and manipulating 2D bitmaps at jaw-dropping speeds. 

Super scaler graphics remained in vogue for several years, but the industry shifted to actual 3D polygon rendering technology in the early ’90s. It’s also the decade that defined and set the groundwork for modern racing games. Stylish racing titles like Wipeout by Psygnosis and Ridge Racer by Namco helped sell PlayStation (PS1) consoles to the masses.

Fortunately, much of the fun and spirit of these early 3D racing games remains intact today. Today’s Android gaming enthusiasts have embraced the genre due to its high-speed thrills, stunning presentation, and cool factor. In a way, it’s as if the PS1 era of racing games never went away due to the continued support from Android users. 

Moreover, racing games trended upwards by 2.93% on the Google Play store over the past year and received 2.6 billion downloads in the US market alone. A few good examples of the genre for Android devices include the following:

  • Horizon Chase (Aquiris Game Studio)
  • Riptide GP2 (Vector Unit)
  • Rally Horizon (GRAYPOW)

6. Hyper-Casual Games

We can’t talk about Android gaming without covering the hyper-casual genre. Casual games have always enjoyed prominence due to their accessibility. And that’s because the average mobile user prefers to play titles that offer fun in short bursts and have simple controls — the simpler, the better!

In fact, many casual titles are so simple that they offer players a passive-like experience. Search the top-trending titles in the Google Play store, and you’ll find many idle games in dominant positions. A typical idle game only requires simple actions from the player, like tapping on an icon continuously to generate currency. 

Quite often, it’s not necessary to tap at all, as the game will play itself while it runs in the background. But to add depth, the game may offer the player additional ways to generate income at incremental intervals. These options often come in the form of farms, factories, and rental buildings — giving the idle game a more simulation-oriented gameplay loop. 

However, this additional depth doesn’t make the idle game genre appealing to hardcore gamers or those seeking something more substantial. But don’t let this discourage you, as the hyper-casual genre remains in the lead in the US with over 16.4 billion downloads. While this sounds good, you must avoid releasing a hyper-casual title in an oversaturated subgenre.

We mentioned idle games earlier, but you may want to pursue more diverse subgenres and themes. Creature collection, survival, and dress-up games appeal to hyper-casual gamers seeking something different. A few outstanding hyper-casual games available on Android devices include the following: 

  • Antistress – relaxation toys (JindoBlu)
  • Hyper Trainer: Gym Games (GenI Games)
  • Kick the Buddy: Second Kick (Playgendary Limited)

The Bottom Line

Android gaming is one of the most enthralling segments of the games industry now. If you plan on making your dream game that will be momentous for the industry, then there’s no better platform to target. But choose your genre wisely by considering all the aspects we covered above. If you’re a small startup or tackling your first game project, it’s best to keep things more manageable by focusing on an arcade or hyper-casual title. Also, don’t forget to build a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) to test the validity of your game idea. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create the next Android gaming hit!

6 Reasons To Use Artificial Intelligence In Mobile Apps

AI or artificial intelligence in mobile apps has many appreneurs, businesses, and developers asking questions. Many of these questions surround the feasibility and implementation of this trailblazing technology in today’s apps. There are also concerns that artificial intelligence is currently in a hype bubble. 

The good news is that leading large language model (LLM) platforms like Bard, ChatGPT, and Copilot make implementation easy via their well-documented application programming interfaces (APIs). But the bad news is that there’s significant hype driven primarily by AI evangelists and the media. This hype often misleads users, developers, and business leaders into thinking that AI is a silver bullet to their problems.

While there’s little doubt that AI can radically boost efficiency, productivity, and workflows, it won’t necessarily deliver the desired results. You can use ChatGPT to write an elaborate blog post about any topic imaginable, but it won’t always be factually accurate or contain the most up-to-date information. You’ll still need to fact-check all the information in your post, read through it a few times, and make several edits before you have an article that’s worth publishing.

As you can tell, some level of human intervention is still necessary regardless of how well LLMs have advanced. But you should still use artificial intelligence in mobile apps to deliver solutions that will make life easier for your customers, employees, and users. The solutions will automate arduous tasks, minimize business costs, and help users boost their creativity.

Mobile apps that facilitate the right mix of human interactivity and generative AI output will change the game in 2024 and beyond. Here’s why you should use AI in your upcoming app project.

1. Stay Ahead By Implementing Artificial Intelligence In 2024

The media may make you think generative AI is enjoying wide adoption, but this isn’t the case. It’s still an emerging technology that had a breakout year in 2023 but hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. Will 2024 be the year that this happens, or will the pundits be proven wrong?

Forrester analysts provide several predictions and arguments in favor of adopting generative AI soon:

  • More than 90% of enterprises plan to implement generative AI for internal uses and customer service. 
  • Almost 50% of enterprises predict that generative AI will help them attain their productivity objectives. 
  • Approximately 60% of employees will undergo prompt training in 2024. 
  • Bring your own AI (BYOAI) will become commonplace in many enterprises in 2024. 
  • AI will heavily impact the human resources (HR) departments by analyzing employee data. 
  • AI bots and tools will continue to enhance developer productivity, but companies should not ignore potential security issues.
  • Data protection and privacy will play a central role in 2024 as authorities push for legislation to deal with the risks associated with AI. 
  • Governance is essential to deal with copyright violations and to ensure a safer and more ethical environment involving generative AI. 

2. Artificial Intelligence In Mobile Apps Facilitates Efficient Content Creation

Businesses, marketers, and influencers must post regularly on social media to build and sustain a reasonably-sized following. Back in the early days of social media — this was easy — due to the minimal availability of feasible mainstream platforms. Just posting on Facebook and Twitter (now X) was enough to gain visibility. 

Nowadays, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have become indispensable for targeting Millennials and Gen Z consumers. So, you must be constantly active on at least five platforms to maximize your reach. But that’s demanding, as you must also post quality content relevant to your audience. Can you do this consistently while running your business or leading a team?

You’ll likely burn out wearing multiple hats during the workday, negatively impacting your health and productivity in the long term. One solution is to hire social media marketing experts to handle all your social channels. They’ll create content, post regularly, and engage with your audience, but all this is costly. Expect to pay between $500 and $5,000 monthly for these services. 

If you’re a small business owner or starting as an influencer or creative, even a $500 monthly fee may cause you to overshoot your budget over a long period. However, generative artificial intelligence in mobile apps can lead to a remarkable content creation and social media posting solution. If you team up with a reputable studio like NS804, you can build a generative AI-powered app custom-built to your needs. 

You may use multiple generative AI platforms to train your models based on your own text, images, and videos. Then, by inputting a sequence of prompts on your custom-built app, you can generate and post on-brand marketing copy, images, and videos across all your social channels with minimal work.

3. Create High-Quality Videos With Generative AI

We’ve already discussed why you should utilize more social media platforms, particularly the newer impactful ones. But you must create distinctive and humorous short-form videos to make it on TikTok and more in-depth and professional-level videos to captivate YouTube fans. For professional results, you must invest in video production equipment and lighting. Then, learn the skills to use these effectively with video editing suites. 

But that’s not enough, as you’ll still need to write a video script, build a set, and hire a cast and a crew. Of course, you can outsource most of this work to a professional video production company. Depending on the quality and length of your videos, you could pay as little as $500 and possibly over $100,000. Some production companies will work with you on yearly contracts and charge between $15,000 and $100,000.

As you can tell, it’s cost-prohibitive to compete with top trending video content creators and deep-pocketed enterprises. However, things have changed, especially after OpenAI announced Sora — a trailblazing text-to-video tool designed for generating intricate scenes. 

Sora shocked and amazed the entire video production industry and even caught the attention of Tyler Perry. The world-renowned filmmaker decided to stop the expansion of his studio since this would no longer be necessary with generative AI tools like Sora. He reportedly claimed that these tools save costs but will cause many job losses in the film industry.

While this sounds grim, Sora and similar tools will democratize professional video production soon. And this is an excellent reason to use artificial intelligence in mobile apps aimed primarily at video generation. These apps will find traction in most business environments but also with content creators seeking cost-effective solutions that simplify the entire video production process.

4. Generative AI Enhances The Employee Experience

As a business leader, you want your employees to perform at their best, even when facing organizational change or unsatisfactory task distribution. In more extreme cases, you want employees to perform adequately when key staff members aren’t available. So, you’ll need to implement the tools and methodologies to ensure all your employees stay on track under these scenarios.

Implementing communication and project management platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Trello is a first step. But your business is unique, so you still need a custom solution that addresses all its needs and covers the blind spots other platforms miss. That’s why you can’t ignore the power and versatility that generative AI brings forth. 

You can train your generative models on employee data by including their work roles, productivity, and skills. Your AI model will help you look at your employee data holistically and help you pinpoint any potential productivity bottlenecks or staff shortages early on. Be sure to comply with data and privacy legislation in your region when collecting and analyzing employee data. 

Another benefit of analyzing employee data is you’ll detect notable workforce trends that impact your organization. If you employ a large workforce, it’s often difficult to accurately determine employee retention rates and the overall success of your human resources (HR) department. Traditionally, you’d hire expensive consultants to figure this out for you — but now — your generative AI model will deliver detailed reports in record time and at little cost. 

Building a custom internal app allows your employees to collaborate and complete all their tasks, and you can pull all this data in real-time. The app can also let your employees provide feedback that will help you improve work conditions and the overall employee experience.

5. Use Artificial Intelligence In Mobile Apps To Transform Customer Service

It’s no secret that AI chatbots are very effective at offering customer service around the clock. But how well do they resolve customer complaints and deliver satisfactory service to rival a human agent? It ultimately depends on the capabilities of the AI chatbot platform you decide to use. 

You can choose from several notable chatbot platforms available today, like Botpress, Dialogflow, and UChat. Botpress is ideal for creating conversational chatbots for organizations of all sizes. Dialogflow is Google’s feature-rich solution for building versatile and scalable chatbots and voicebots. Then, there’s UChat, aimed at digital marketers and small business owners who want a simple solution that integrates with all their social channels.   

Of course, there are many more AI chatbots in the marketplace. But instead of trying to find a solution that’s a good fit for your organization, you could always build a custom solution that addresses all your needs. Moreover, you can avoid the monthly fees and limitations these chatbot platforms will subsequently impose on your organization. 

More importantly, you have some control over the intelligence of your custom AI chatbot solution. Before the availability of generative AI chatbots, traditional chatbots weren’t particularly smart since they followed set rules. Thus, these could never convince anyone that they were nothing more than customer-facing bots. 

Once the GPT-5 LLM is available, convincing human-like interactions will become the norm. But you can achieve impressive results depending on how well you train your AI chatbot using GPT-4. You’ll need to collect large datasets of human interactions and then prepare these for training by removing unnecessary datasets. After you train your model, evaluate the results before deploying to all your customer-facing channels.

6. Improve Order Fulfillment With AI

While your organization doesn’t have control of the entire supply chain, it can impact the order fulfillment process. And this segment of your business should run like a well-oiled machine that responds to all types of scenarios like delays, stock shortages, and logistics issues. As a first step, you must implement an order management system (OMS) that’s right for your company structure. 

Then, you’ll need to pick an order fulfillment strategy your organization can handle. For example, if you have enough storage space, employees, and skills, you’ll go with an in-house order fulfillment. But if you don’t have these resources, it’s better to outsource fulfillment to a third party. 

Regardless of your strategy, you should become proficient in forecasting and planning every step to avoid wastage and costly interruptions in order fulfillment. However, you can drastically reduce the guesswork by integrating AI into your order fulfillment operations. Of course, it’s best to do this from day one of your operations, but there’s little harm in integrating AI in due course. 

Using artificial intelligence in mobile apps that aid order fulfillment will help your staff quickly ascertain all current and future inventory levels. They can accurately predict when they’ll run low on inventory and when to order from suppliers. Thus, your company won’t have to turn away customers due to unavailable stock. 

AI-powered order fulfillment is essential for large organizations, but small retailers benefit also. For sustainability reasons alone, retailers must reduce inventory waste. A well-trained inventory model will alert them when they’re ordering too much or too little of a specific item. They can further improve the accuracy of this model with sales and store visitor data.

The Bottom Line

The hype surrounding generative AI is astounding, but so is the technology. We expect future iterations of LLMs to improve and impact even more industries. Also, we expect the use cases to grow exponentially as appreneurs, businesses, and users embrace AI in 2024. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you build and use artificial intelligence in mobile apps that will drive growth from now on! 

Android App Development Trends 2024

The year has barely begun, and we’re already seeing significant shifts in the mobile app space. Moreover, 2024 promises many exciting Android app development trends that will turn heads. But how can we be so confident that notable changes will occur on the Android platform this year? We see a stronger emphasis on quality, a greater adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), and a higher number of foldable smartphones hitting the market.

The Android platform has matured and is no longer the avenue to push out low-effort cash grabs. Recently, Google updated their app testing requirements for all developers with new Android personal accounts. These requirements force developers to take the production and testing of their apps a lot more seriously before submitting them for publication. 

While these requirements will help increase the quality of upcoming Android apps, it’s not the only significant trend of 2024. Apps powered by large language models (LLMs) will hit the market with more ferocity this year. 

In 2023, ChatGPT and other LLMs managed to amaze, excite, and even scare many with their near-otherworldly capabilities. But in 2024, many developers will capitalize on these LLMs by integrating them into their Android apps. Some of the mystery and hype surrounding LLMs has diminished, so there’s a greater focus on their practical use in mobile apps.

Another trend that will further impact Android development is the rise of foldable phones. While these are not new, they’re enjoying wider adoption, so developers can no longer avoid developing apps for these devices. Of course, Android app development trends don’t end here, so we’ll delve deeper into what you should expect in 2024 below. 

 

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Low-Code and No-Code Solutions Will Enjoy Rising Popularity

If you’ve dabbled in Android app development, you’ve come face-to-face with a high learning curve in building apps for the platform. And that’s because Java and Kotlin are complex programming languages that require several months of your time to learn the basics and years to master. But the challenge doesn’t end there since building, testing, and deploying to a wide range of Android devices is a nerve-racking experience. 

Fortunately, Google has made Android app development a bit easier with their latest tooling. Yet, even these tools won’t diminish the need to gain competency in Java or Kotlin to build quality apps. As a studio that builds native Android apps in these languages, we highly recommend you take the time to learn these languages. Alternatively, consider partnering with a studio like NS804 to create your Android app that will comply with Google’s best practices and guidelines. 

If you can’t hire a studio when your team doesn’t have the necessary coding skills — what then? You can rely on the myriad of low-code and no-code development platforms that have hit the market in recent years. Platforms like BuildFire, GeneXus for Super Apps, and Moxly help developers build cross-platform mobile apps rapidly. 

But will you enjoy the same results as that of native-built apps? While these platforms promise impressive results, it’s unlikely that they’ll deliver the performance, consistent user experience (UX), and scalability of their native peers. Therefore, we only recommend you use these solutions if you have tight budget constraints or plan to build a prototype or a minimum viable product (MVP).

Stricter Requirements Will Bring About Better Quality Apps

One of the Android app development trends that will massively impact the Android ecosystem may have caught many developers by surprise already. Google Play and many third-party Android app marketplaces have become inundated with buggy, low-quality apps that hurt the user experience. Given the accessibility and low bar of entry to develop Android apps, many freelancers, hobbyists, and unscrupulous developers have pushed out apps of dubious quality onto Google Play.

Google has identified and addressed this issue by introducing new app testing requirements. All personal developer accounts created after November 13, 2023, must comply with these new rules. And one of the most controversial requirements includes an elaborate closed testing process. Thus, it’s now necessary to test an app with over 20 users who have opted-in for the closed test for no less than 14 continuous days. 

Only once developers meet this requirement can they submit their app for production access. It seems like an extreme measure, but one that we’ll welcome if it means that better and more secure apps will reach Google Play from now on. It forces newcomers to recruit and engage with testers and no longer treat the testing process as an afterthought. Furthermore, developers who comply with these requirements will significantly reduce low ratings and bad reviews. 

AI-Powered Android Apps Will Proliferate During 2024

If you followed the news in 2023, you probably felt overwhelmed by all the hype and fear-mongering surrounding AI. Either AI will bring forth a golden age where humanity no longer has to do any drudge work, or AI will inevitably take over most jobs and make us redundant. The latter is a scary thought but a plausible outcome if governments don’t implement regulations to limit the damage AI may have on job markets. 

Fortunately, we’re still in the early stages of the AI cycle, which inevitably presents numerous opportunities for savvy Android developers. While AI-powered apps are not new, LLMs are still novel in the mobile app space. But Android users love their LLM apps, with ChatGPT enjoying over 50 million downloads and a rating of 4.8 at the time of writing. Other popular alternatives include Bing, Chat AI, and Perplexity. 

But are LLMs only appropriate for chatbot functionality? This functionality is only the tip of the spear, with writing, image generation, and code generation enjoying wide adoption within a short span of time. You can build all types of generators and analysis tools with ChatGPT and other similar LLMs. Then, you’ll train your AI models using your own datasets, images, and code to avoid litigation from the original copyright holders. 

After you’ve trained your AI models, you should test these thoroughly via an internal testing process. Once you’re happy with the results, integrate these into your Android app via ChatGPT’s (or your preferred LLM) application programming interface (API). The process is involved but will make your app more engaging and profitable since users can generate text, images, and music that exceeds their capabilities.  

Deploying Android Apps To PCs And Chromebooks

What makes the Android ecosystem so compelling is its sheer dynamism and versatility. Most users engage with Android apps on their tablets, smartphones, and via Android media players and TV boxes to a lesser extent. But lately, more users enjoy the same apps on their PCs and Chromebooks.

Microsoft and Samsung’s close working relationship helped integrate Samsung’s devices with Windows. That’s a wise move because many of Samsung’s flagship mobile devices are used extensively in enterprises.

Furthermore, Amazon Apps, which are Android apps — can run on Windows 11 PCs via the Windows Subsystem for Android. And recently, Google launched Google Play Games (beta) for PC users who want to enjoy their mobile gaming fix on their desktops. So, one of the hottest Android app development trends is ensuring your Android apps or games make their way to the PC.

Don’t stop there, as there’s another growing market that you can no longer ignore. Google’s ChromeOS and Chromebook laptops have already captured much of the US education market and even the small business community. As of December 2023, ChromeOS has penetrated 3.13% of the North American market and overtaken Linux, a far older operating system (OS). 

You can deploy your Android apps to supported Chromebook devices. There’s some setup and tweaking involved, especially if you need to deploy your app across multiple devices in your organization. But once done, you have a secure pipeline to deploy custom business apps that must run on mobile devices and Chromebooks in tandem.

More Affordable Foldable Smartphones Will Hit The Market

Android foldable phones have been around for several years, but they’ve always been pricey for most consumers. It’s not uncommon to pay between $1,800 – $2,000 for a flagship foldable device nowadays. That price point is acceptable for executives and power users who require a powerful yet compact computing device for productivity. But for the average consumer, that’s way too expensive when lower-end smartphones under $500 offer adequate functionality and performance.

However, the foldable smartphone market is growing and maturing, leading to a greater diversity of products. More manufacturers are offering budget foldables like the Motor Razr at $700, which makes it affordable enough for the average US-based Android user. So, one of the defining Android app development trends of 2024 is a focus on apps designed for foldables. 

It’s crucial to create apps that run perfectly on single-screen devices and utilize the additional screen real estate of foldables. These apps must make the most of adaptive and responsive design to adjust the user interface (UI) and screen page for every type of screen size. Moreover, it’s essential to offer multi-window support so that users can run multiple apps on their foldables since this is one of the core features of these devices.

Of course, if you plan to target ChromeOS, you’ll have additional screen sizes to consider. But making your apps run smoothly across multiple devices and screen formats will expose your app to a higher number of Android users. And if you add a cloud component to your app, you make it easy for users to switch between the foldable and ChromeOS versions without losing their work. Thus, they always stay productive and satisfied with your app and won’t seek alternatives that offer this functionality.  

Android Mobile Game Development Beyond Unity

Most Android mobile game developers use Unity to create their eye-catching hit games. Unfortunately, their overreliance on this game-making software wasn’t a smart move, especially after Unity Technologies announced their runtime fee late last year. The fee drew the ire of game developers and forced Unity Technologies to backpedal and revise their pricing policy. Developers weren’t willing to pay possibly business-crippling fees accrued by each installation of their games. 

But even with Unity Technologies making concessions to their users, many developers lost trust in the company. There was a sudden exodus of developers to competing game engines like Construct 3, Godot, and Unreal Engine. The biggest winner of the three was Godot, which enjoyed a sudden spike in users and even received a $100,000 donation from Re-Logic, the developer of Terraria. Also, cross-platform game frameworks like FNA and MonoGame received funding soon after the Unity installation fee controversy. 

Apart from FNA, you may use any of the engines mentioned here to develop Android mobile games. And since Godot and MonoGame are open-source with liberal licensing agreements, you don’t have to pay anything or risk facing litigation.

But what if you want to avoid complicated cross-platform game engines and want to develop exclusively for Android? If you have C or C++ coding skills, you may opt for Google’s Android Game Development Kit (AGDK). It consists of tools and libraries that integrate with Visual Studio via the Android Game Development Extension (AGDE). It also integrates with existing popular engines like Cocos, Unity, and Unreal Engine if you prefer to take that route.

 

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Passkeys Will Make Android Apps More Secure In 2024

Ordinary passwords are no longer safe, and two-factor authentication (2FA) isn’t hack-proof. Nevertheless, we always recommend you secure your apps and websites with 2FA as a minimum precaution. So, what should you do to offer a significant protection layer for your users? The good news is that Google has partly solved this issue by introducing passkeys for Android and Chrome. 

If your apps run on Android 9 and higher, as they should, then you’ll have passkey support via the Credential Manager. The Credential Manager offers users multiple sign-in options and is available as a Jetpack API. We recommend you become acquainted with this API to understand its safety features and prerequisites. 

Users no longer have to sign in by inputting complex passwords they’ll likely forget. Instead, they can sign in via the biometric sensor, pattern, or smartphone PIN. It’s a far more seamless method for signing in that will keep your users returning to your app, even if they’ve forgotten the password.

Android App Development Trends That Will Define An Entire Year

We’ve covered some of the most significant Android app development trends you’ll encounter in 2024. The Android market has matured but has not peaked yet, with many unique and innovative apps still to appear on the horizon. 

Many of these apps will have some LLM implementation, while others will offer advanced features geared towards foldables. But there will also be a greater emphasis on security, which passkeys will solve to a certain extent. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you with your Android app development goals!  

Mobile App Maintenance: The Importance Of Regular App Updates

Few first-time appreneurs and developers consider mobile app maintenance when laboring away on their debut projects. And that’s reckless, to put it mildly, as app development is a long process that doesn’t end at launch. Users and the app stores expect apps to receive regular updates months or even years after their initial releases. 

But why are app updates such a pertinent issue that appreneurs and developers must never ignore? The primary reason is that no app is perfect on release and will likely never be during its lifetime. There is a certain quality threshold that an app must meet before it offers a satisfactory user experience. Not meeting this threshold will cause users to uninstall the app and leave negative reviews and low ratings, hurting the prospects of the app. 

That’s why the savviest appreneurs and developers have a mobile app maintenance plan from day one. They know that they must set aside resources for the continuous upkeep of their apps. These resources often include the funding, staff, analytics, tooling, and training required for app maintenance. Furthermore, it’s necessary to have dedicated staff or contractors to handle communications, compliance, documentation, user experience (UX) testing, quality assurance (QA) testing, and user feedback. 

Now, that’s a lot to unpack and only drives through the message that app development is a long, costly, and challenging endeavor. But we don’t want to dissuade you from trying your hand at app development, especially if this will be your first attempt. Instead, we encourage you to move forward, partner with an experienced and reputable studio like NS804, and consider the helpful pointers listed below. 

 

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What Does Mobile App Maintenance Entail?

Mobile app maintenance is an ongoing process that involves multiple tasks that result in the continuous improvement of apps. These tasks include gathering user feedback, data, and analytics. These factors will let developers know whether or not their apps meet changing customer expectations. 

If apps don’t meet customer expectations, developers must modify their apps to bring them in line with these expectations. However, this is only possible by rolling out app updates at regular cadences. In the case of app-breaking bugs or security vulnerabilities, developers must release patches timeously. 

And even if an app runs smoothly and reasonably bug-free, it’s still necessary to respond to current market trends. For example, 2023 was a big year for artificial intelligence (AI) that the market couldn’t ignore. Soon after the launch of ChatGPT and other similar services, mobile app developers quickly launched new AI apps or implemented AI features in their existing apps. 

It’s not uncommon for appreneurs and developers to abandon apps if they’re no longer feasible. The app stores are incredibly competitive — if not downright brutal — making it difficult to justify the cost and effort to maintain underperforming apps. 

Yet, this is not the case with custom apps, especially those aimed at internal company tasks and business-to-business (B2B) applications. Mobile app maintenance is crucial for custom business apps, as regular security and feature updates are essential for the smooth functioning of organizations of all sizes.  

Why Do Users Care About Regular App Updates?

Today’s smartphone users are app-wise and can easily discern a good app from a bad one. Moreover, today’s users are part of a mature market gradually reaching its growth limits. We only need to look at the US smartphone market to understand the staggering difference between today and a decade ago. In 2013, there were approximately 173 million smartphone users in the US, but today, it’s edging closer to 315 million.

While we may be reaching the peak of the smartphone era, this doesn’t mean the app market is going away. It only means that there’s an increase in user demands that you must respond to if you’re going to succeed. But how can you succeed in such an overwhelmingly crowded market where users uninstall apps on a whim? The first step is to create an app that addresses a problem that users have and to make it sticky.

Of course, that’s not easy, and few developers get this right on their initial attempt. But let’s assume you are addressing a problem users are experiencing, but they’re still uninstalling your app — what now? 

That’s where your mobile app maintenance plan comes in, as you’ll focus tightly on your app’s performance and user data. Your analytics will let you know if your user journeys and flows are succeeding or failing. You’ll also know if technical issues make your app function inadequately. These are the most common reasons why users drop apps like hot potatoes and why post-launch analytics are so crucial.

Once you know what’s holding your app back, you can address all relevant issues. Then, plan your roadmap to release the necessary fixes and updates. And establish an effective communications pipeline to gather user feedback and inform users of new updates.

Why A Lack Of Updates Will Hurt Your App? 

Even your most diehard users will lose interest in your app if you don’t update it regularly. They will assume that you no longer have the interest or resources to roll out updates and will eventually move on to apps that seem more promising. There’s nothing worse than losing users due to not providing them with the features competitors have provided already. The current state of the app market requires that you respond to user needs rapidly. 

Look at the leading mobile apps in your segment, and you’ll find that all these receive regular updates. Every app update helps to reinvigorate interest, especially with those users who have started to drop off or become bored. But it’s also a great way to draw new users and media attention when app updates include innovative or highly desired features. 

A lack of updates will also hurt your app’s stability and usability, especially when users upgrade their devices. Furthermore, Apple and Google demand that developers update their apps to meet the requirements of their latest operating systems and APIs. Failing to do so will result in the removal of any un-updated apps from the App Store and Google Play. Third-party Android stores also have specific app update policies that you must follow if you publish on these. 

Security concerns around hacking and data breaches have become the norm recently. Since many people use mobile apps for financial transactions, you must ensure that your app never has any security vulnerabilities. Even if you’re developing a mobile game, you must never take security issues lightly since hackers exploit these also to gain access to user credentials. So, always roll out patches and updates as soon as you know of or encounter a new vulnerability.

How App Updates Help Keep Your Tech Stack Current?

You may be proud of your studio for using the latest technology stack to create your apps. But technology moves forward rapidly, especially in the mobile space. What’s trailblazing today can quickly become outdated in a matter of months. Therefore, you never want to stick to the current versions of your integrated development environments (IDEs), APIs, frameworks, game engines, backend technologies, testing, and deployment tools. 

Sure, your programmers may want to use long-term support (LTS) releases for a more stable development environment. But eventually, you’ll need to pull the plug and move on to the latest supported version. Your team may whine about such a decision since they will feel more comfortable with the older tooling. But ultimately, they must use the tooling that increases stability, usability, and quality.

The beauty of mobile development tooling vendors is they have close relationships with the device manufacturers. Thus, they build their tools according to current and future hardware specifications. And that’s fantastic because this means you’ll often gain a free performance boost and increased stability when building your app with the latest tools.

Furthermore, you’ll be future-proofing your app since it will run adequately on devices about to hit the market. So, you’ll have the assurance that your app will run on devices you haven’t tested for yet. But this doesn’t mean that you should ignore testing altogether. Always test on an emulator if you lack access to a specific mobile device. 

As part of your mobile app maintenance processes, ensure that you keep up to date with what your tooling vendors are releasing. Read their blog posts and release notes regularly, and update all your development tools timeously. 

What Are The Different Types Of App Updates? 

There are several kinds of updates you can roll out, but not all will be suitable for your app. We explain which app updates are best suited for which purposes here: 

  • Feature release updates: Your users will provide feedback about features they want, so you should roll out feature release updates with these additional features. If your app proves popular, you may need to implement these kinds of releases several times a year.
  • Functionality updates: You should roll out functionality updates when upgrading an existing function. The frequency of these updates will depend on how often you need to upgrade the functionality of your app.
  • Maintenance updates: If your app suffers from vulnerability issues due to a cybersecurity threat, you must release emergency hotfixes immediately. You may also release a preventative update for potential attacks, an adaptive update to deal with upcoming changes, and a corrective update for patching up quality issues.
  • Monthly updates: All new apps need monthly updates to gain and retain user trust. Also, it’s necessary to release weekly updates if your app suffers from serious usability, stability, and security issues.
  • Updates for watershed events: You can surprise and delight your users by releasing an update to celebrate the first year of its release. The update must include a significant change or improvement to set your app apart from competitors. 

How To Implement Mobile App Maintenance Successfully?

All the stages of the mobile app development process are challenging. But you can make the maintenance process of your app more manageable by following these steps:

  • Document your mobile app maintenance plan: Always keep notes and documents produced by all stakeholders involved in your project. Ensure that all team members can retrieve these documents easily when necessary.
  • Prioritize training: Ensure your team is up to speed with the latest app update procedures and technologies. 
  • Establish effective communications pipelines: You want to keep all stakeholders in the loop at all times. Keep your communications open and secure for all the relevant parties, and keep everyone informed of any crucial events that require their attention.
  • Keep ahead of compliance and policy changes: The app stores constantly alter their guidelines and policies, so you must adhere to these to avoid any nasty surprises. Furthermore, stay current on regulations in the different territories you publish.
  • Regularly test the effectiveness of your app’s UX: Always be mindful of the end-user experience by testing your app’s UX. More often than not, a bad UX is why most users uninstall apps, and it’s fixable with an update. 

 

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Why Do You Need To Partner With A Reputable Studio?

As you can tell, mobile app maintenance requires hard work and sticking to a tried-and-tested plan. If you already have prior experience with the processes mentioned earlier, you know what to expect. Yet, you may still need the assistance of a talented mobile developer to help you deal with all the complexities involved with regular app updates. And if you’re new to all this, partnering with a studio is undoubtedly the right choice. 

A highly acclaimed and reputable studio like NS804 will help you deploy your app updates on time and within budget. We’ll look at your plan, goals, and requirements with an analytical eye and offer solutions that will drive your app down a successful path. 

Furthermore, we’ll help you evaluate methodologies and development technologies that will lead to the best possible upkeep of your app. We’ll also help you implement new features, fix bugs, and optimize your app so you can focus on other aspects of your app development endeavors.

In Conclusion

Mobile app maintenance is a crucial part of the entire app development cycle. Never ignore this part, as your users expect you to deliver updates that will keep them stuck to your app. If you do this right, you’ll extend the potential lifespan of your app, driving additional revenue and business. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you plan, prepare, and deploy app updates like a pro!