How to Drive Engagement Using App Ideation & 5 Essential Ingredients

@Will | Social

On average, social apps can drive engagement levels up by 100-400%. Typically, they’re used to fuel brand evangelism, expand brand reach, and improve social rankings. But getting it right can be the most challenging up front exercise and will be the difference in a positive or negative return on investment.


Marketers are looking to leverage their organic growth in their social channels with social engagement applications and large consumer companies are learning that interacting with their target audience on their mobile devices and tablets is part of the holistic brand experience beyond the typical TV spot, billboard or banner ad. They know that successful engagement applications do exactly what their name suggests – they engage users through an actual branded experience rather than bringing the quick touch a normal ad impression creates.

ex·pe·ri·ence

ikˈspi(ə)rēəns/

noun
• an event or occurrence that leaves an impression on someone.

verb
• encounter or undergo (an event or occurrence)
• feel (an emotion)

So where to begin? Ideation…

The hardest part with app development is deciding what the app should do. Successful apps go through three essential steps in the ideation stage:

1) Zero in on what your brand is all about and what you’re selling.

Center your app on your brand and product – what makes your company and products cool? Your app concept and design must tie into this in order to make a lasting impression through the app experience. You don’t want to create and experience that everyone is talking about around the water cooler, but no one can remember the name of your brand.

2) Decide on an incentive.

This is one is simple – make the prize awesome and relate it into your brand experience. The better the prize the more users will show up on your app’s doorstep ready to fill out an entry form and start the experience (which will end up being so fun and cool they want to do it again and share it with all their friends).

3) Evaluate the engagement level of your current social audience.

The better your incentive, the less important this one is. But if you’re starting from square one (i.e. your audience “follows” you but rarely interacts), you will need have a cool prize and as few barriers to entry as possible (A.K.A. essentially a “straight-ahead” sweepstakes: enter to win). If you have an audience that loves you and interacts with your brand via social channels all the time, then you can make the process inside the app more complicated and get away with it.

Once you have come up with your app idea, you’re almost ready to build.

But make sure you’re idea has these five essential ingredients.

1) A promotion that is valuable to your target audience – again, the prize.

I know we already covered this, but it is of paramount importance. When crafting a promotion for social networks, it’s crucial to offer a prize that is enticing enough to get your target markets’ attention and create the will to enter.

2) A Fun and Exciting Vehicle – the app concept.

Once you have them interested and on your doorstep, delivering an application that makes interacting with your brand enjoyable is key to producing an experience that will make a lasting impression and encourage them to share the promotion with friends. This could be a game, a quiz, or UGC app…the list goes on. It really depends on what you are trying to ultimately achieve with the app.

3) Design – on brand, attractive and effective.

Make it slick, but keep the key goals in mind, conversions; entries and sharing. Without entries and sharing, the “social app” will flop.

4) Device Compatibility – an ‘equal opportunity’ experience.

Responsive design will let your valuable, exciting and fun, attractive and effective, new brand experience load correctly on all devices — with legible copy, simple entry fields and easily clickable buttons — computers and mobile alike.

5) Cross-Browser Testing – it needs to work…yes, for everyone.

This part is almost never, fun but absolutely essential; if you do not make sure that your app works as planned on every device and every browser, it probably won’t. And this will leave users having the opposite experience of what you set out to do.

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