THE BLOG
07/23/2014 10:58 am ET Updated Sep 22, 2014

Building a Mobile App for Future Funding Success

First impressions are the often the lasting impressions that consumers use to distinguish a company, brand, and when experiencing mobile apps. Consumers are fickle and are unlikely to use an app again if it isn't intuitive to use and instantly engaging - it's imperative that developers design apps with the user experience in mind, taking into account performance and quality, as well as design. Considering all audiences, prospective partners, potential employers, and possible investors, it is clear that investing time and effort into presenting your developed product in the best light will pay future dividends. For developers, when there is often one chance for success, this idea of first impressions is critical.

There have been multiple examples of games and services mentioned on TV shows, or featured on store fronts that have seen a sudden spike in downloads. But that alone is not enough to ensure success. According to recent research from CB Insight showing increased financing in the FinTech space, companies looking to build their brand reputation and enlist brand loyalist must capitalize on their first interaction to have a lasting relationship. In a competitive marketplace, it is sustained interest, rather than fads and fashions, which drives an app's success. While a spike in popularity may put your app in the top 100, actions must be taken to solidify that position. However, with thousands of new apps launching daily, and the danger of clones and copycats omnipresent, your product won't stay there for long. Once an app has dropped out of the top 100 lists, it can be virtually impossible to gain that market position again.

Rather than app developers focusing all of their efforts on being in a featured slot on a marketplace or visibility on a TV show, they need to think more broadly about their user acquisition (UA) strategy. While a lightning-strike approach may seem ideal for quick word of mouth pick-up, 'hope' is not a strategy. Developers need to closely analyze their user acquisition programs, and find the approach that will best work for them. In today's digital markets and with constantly improving attribution technology, it is now possible to plot out user acquisition and downloads vs. promotional spend, and push revenue into the relevant earned growth avenue.

Anyone launching a new app needs to extensively test target demographics to work out the best ROI on campaign spend, and attribute to those users acquired via identified ad networks, before embarking on a paid user acquisition campaign. The new economics of freemium involve even more clever hooks to encourage users to buy content, but in a world where everything is becoming free, it's up to companies to measure how valuable each customer is, and the cost in ad spend to acquire these users. Once developers have got the formula right, they need to aggressively ramp up their campaigns to increase earning potential.

App developers which invest in their own mobile apps and dedicate time and resources to building brand loyalty, will demonstrate their know-how and investment potential to potential VC investors looking to increase their portfolio. An app that is well designed, has a clear marketing and user acquisition strategy holds less risk than an app with many unknowns. When app developers set up their initial strategy, they must keep investors in mind, and the key drivers for an investable app business. Not only for the sake of securing funding during the angel round, but for funding later rounds, and support for continued business opportunities.

The app developer community is small and developers cannot afford to tarnish their app or personal brand during these early impressions. By using cash that has been earned through the app and investing this revenue back into the company to drive growth, as well as having a clear strategy to target and activate new users, apps will be better prepared for business longevity.