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How to Create an Addictive App?

Aug 20 2021




What makes an app addictive? If you own a phone then you’ll know what it’s like to spend an inordinate amount of time swiping and tapping your way to the next high score or leaderboard position. 

With most of the population now glued to a tablet, laptop or smart phone, app development is still rising as one of the most prolific design prospects.

Additive of smartphone and the apps: A new normal

The average user peeks at their smartphone about 110 times a day, and according to mobile analytics provider Flurry, more than 176 million users world-wide access apps on their device more than 60 times a day.

It makes sense that we’d be addicted to this magical device at the tips of our fingers. The smartphone doesn’t only provide us with various means of communication with the world, but also serves as a guide when making buying decisions, a source of information about the world around us, a tool to document our lives and get entertainment when we want it, no matter where we are.

According to data published by comScore, more than half of all digital media time spent by users in the US is dedicated to mobile apps. However, according to Nielsen, the upper limit to the total number of apps users access in any given month is 30.

What this means for mobile app developers and marketers is that the challenge is keeping users engaged and coming back to the app or in other words – make their app as addictive as possible.

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Obviously not all apps can be equally addictive. You can’t really compare the length of time spent using social apps (like Facebook or Twitter), games and media apps to that spent using apps geared for a specific need (like a shopping list or price comparison app) or brand apps. Yet, it is possible (and recommended) to make any mobile app an experience users will want to repeat and spend time engaging with.

Some of the tips here discuss the addictive properties relevant mostly to mobile games. The games category is one of the app store categories with the highest rates of addiction and is the most profitable category by a large margin. Even if you are not developing a game but an app, these tips will help you design your app to be stickier and more engaging.

In addition, the way we become addicted to games and mobile gaming apps has led to the popularity of gamification in the design and planning on mobile apps.


What makes mobile app addictive?

At the heart of addictive app design is the understanding that human beings are intrinsically pleasure-seeking and pain-avoiding creatures. Successful developers have mastered the multi-faceted mechanism of turning their users’ initial interaction into habitual behaviour. They do this by leveraging insights about the kind of stimuli that encourage repetitive reward-seeking. 

When a new user opens your app, you have the opportunity to lead them on a journey that instills a desire to keep playing. How well you do this will determine the number of times, if any, that they return. And more repeat visits mean more in-app purchases, more ad views and more social media shares…appreneur heaven, in other words. 

The odd thing about the kind of features that engender addiction in an app, however, is that they usually work just under the surface. They’re subtle. If you didn’t know about them, it’s unlikely that you would think to include them.

How to choose your keywords


Keyword relevancy 

If someone says can you sell me this pen, you should ask: do you need a pen? Meaning, you have to make sure that your keywords are relevant to what your app is offering. Even if you could rank in the top ten for an irrelevant keyword, even if that keyword has a high search volume, it won’t do you any good. Since people are looking for something else, the chances of you making the sale is pretty low. 

Track your competitors

In the market, there are apps offering similar services as your app and therefore targeting the same users as you do. for this reason, it would be wise to be in the same search results with your competitors by using competitor intelligence . you don’t want to miss out on target users who might use your app for a long time. 

Localize your keywords

As you can guess, an english and an italian user search with different keywords due to the language differences. You should localize your product page for different regions. Do not miss out on fruitful users just because you can not convey your value propositions.

Think like a user

Try to come up with some new keyword phrases to enhance your mobile user acquisition strategy. This way, you may find some keywords with high volume and high chance score.

Mobile app retention

So far, we talked about how to make your app more visible to the right people. At the end of the day, mobile user acquisition is about increasing your revenue. However, reaching the right people will not be enough to increase retention. You should make sure that everything works smoothly and as intended to maintain your user base. 

So what does retention mean for mobile apps? It measures the number of users returning to your app after a certain period of time. Remember that retention is a subjective metric, and it depends on your chosen time period. Mostly it is measured by 30 days but it can also be measured by 1, 7, and 90 days.

Measurement also depends on what type your app is. for example, you would not expect your users to return your app every day if it is a hotel booking app. that is why you should adjust your criteria specifically for your app.

App retention strategies

Now, let’s talk about this. How can you make users keep coming back to your mobile app? 

Be user-friendly

First and foremost, you have to give them a nice and easy welcome. Do not bombard them with a complicated and vague onboarding process.. keep them short. Keep them easy. 

Talk to your users

Do not abuse but benefit from notifications. Give them some information, a bonus or an update. If they are away for a long time, ask how they have been. 

Keep the connection alive but you have to manage a good balance there. If your notifications are too frequent, it may push users away. 

Check your ratings and reviews 

Your ratings play a significant role in download rates. Higher rates attract more users. Therefore, your goal should be to increase your ratings and bettering your reviews. In order to do these, the first place you should look for is app reviews. 

Good reviews are desired but bad reviews are just as important. Pay attention to the negative reviews. See if there are any bugs, dislikes or ideas about the current version of your app. Respond to those reviews. Show that you care. Show that you are trying to solve their problems. 

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