Posted by Ashley Osgood
Yesterday, Venturebeat hosted a webcast featuring Skyhook’s own SchneiderMike to help attendees’ shape their app design, engagement, and monetization strategies in 2015. We discussed how to use contextual data like location to differentiate your app while making experiences more fluid to ensure it becomes essential to the lifestyles of your users and make money for you.
Data-driven context: The anatomy of a “location” data point and how to put it to work in your experience.
Categorizing behavior: Learn how to categorize user actions and what to do with the results.
Building app modes: putting the power of place to work in your app to anticipate user needs, monetize your app, and differentiate your app experience
Case studies that demonstrate what leading apps are doing and current best practices
The event gave attendees actionable takeaways, gave insight, and opened the floor to questions about our experience in how to make your app become a vital part of your users’ everyday lives.
With over 50 million apps a day, we discussed what those that manage to get found and used every day have in common with each other. We also delved into what the secret sauce that makes them different from the 95% of apps that never succeed.
Mike Schneider discussed how app developers can ensure users retain and use their app until it becomes habit-forming by enabling unique features that will make them stand out. “The apps which make it are the ones that provide something vital to their users,” Schneider said. “They have a way of giving a user some kind of value whether it’s discovering something in the place they are, helping them find something they love based on what they read already, or getting something done more efficiently. It’s all about understanding your user and serving them the functionality they need in order to get into the everyday flow of the apps’ users.”
The webcast also discussed what users want from an app today, and how to keep up with user expectations. “Users have become more sophisticated and so has the technology,” Schneider said. “The biggest thing we are noticing is that data is now being leveraged as a central part of the design process. Data-driven design is key to providing a vital experience, and building a great app is more than just coming up with a great idea and solving for it elegantly. App owners need to evolve continuously and get to know their users so they can anticipate what they want next not only in their road-maps, but in the next moment.”
With location and proximity marketing being such crucial themes for this upcoming year, we also discussed what part that data is playing in app, and user, retention. “Knowing location behavior can tell you a lot about your users,” Schneider said. “Map the functionality they use to the places they are in, and you can find patterns in how your app is used when a person goes to those locations. You can then use that data to figure out how to design for those places. Adding something like Skyhook Context Accelerator can help simplify this process by geofencing any and all similar places while also triggering place-based experiences when the user goes to certain locations you designate. We call this process Appticipation.”
The webcast wrapped up with a series of best practices and use cases, where we took attendees through what some forward-looking apps are doing today and what we envision the next generation apps looking like when context is deployed. One of those use cases highlighted The Home Depot app’s best practice in enabling “In Store Mode” for its customers - which serves customers a different experience when they are in the store making decisions vs. at home browsing and building lists.
We then took the Home Depot app a step further by recommending things like Help Mode, which could make customer lives easier by enabling them to opt into sharing their project list and allow for suggestions from store associates. Users could select from The Home Depot associates based on their expertise, or who is available at the time.
When you take the time to understand the role of your app and its functionality in your users lives, you can apply that knowledge to developing enhanced capabilities that revolve around context of your users. Adding context to your app to anticipate users’ next moves can make their lives easier and your app more vital to their day-to-day experience.