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Breakdown of App Functionalities That Make It App’n

Web & Mobile

Josue Castillo wrote this article

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Building a successful application is an art form in itself.

Building a successful application is an art form in itself. Similar to the art world, there are common threads which can be observed and inform what we’re creating today. Why else would we spend so much time studying the greats — if only to learn from them?

It may feel at times these are one-off “masterpieces” that are impossible to replicate, but in reality, most successful apps have a lot in common.

Let’s take a look at some of the specific features and functionalities the most popular apps of the moment share.

Learning From the Apps of the Moment

There is much to learn by studying the success of popular applications, whether in your industry or beyond.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most downloaded apps of the moment, a few of which we’ll dive into below!

1. Facebook/ Facebook Messenger

2. Instagram

3. Youtube

4. Snapchat

5. Uber/Lyft

6. Amazon

7. Netflix, Hulu, Disney+

8. Zoom

9. TikTok

10. CashApp/ Venmo

Zooming in on Popular App Functionalities

Choosing the right features can seem pretty daunting, but preparation and planning on that front can go a long way.

When it’s time to build your own application, you’ll have a better idea of which functionalities could be beneficial for your app.

When taking note of specific features, it's important to examine with two lenses: What's trending and new right now, and what's tried and true for an app like yours. Click To Tweet

Strike a balance between these two lenses as you plan.

Find the sweet spot between accomplishing what your competitor apps seek to do, while also finding your own opportunities to do things differently in the app marketplace.

In-App Search Engine

One thing most users seem to agree on is the need for an in-app search engine, which allows users to access what they are looking for pretty effortlessly.

Three Steps of a Search Engine Algorithm:

1. Crawl

2. Index

3. Rank

A crawler, often called a spider or spider bot, allows an application to search existing content, sifting through code and in-app information.

Indexing is how the algorithm organizes the data. This step is essential because it organizes data in a way that is meaningful for us.

Rank then follows, when the search engine provides meaningful feedback to each individual user, depending on data input and previously submitted data.

A search engine is a great way to keep users in-the-know and ensure your app is ultra-accessible.

Another great way to interact with your users is push notifications!

Push Notifications

Push notifications are a great way to keep your users engaged and at the same time, provide relevant updates.

Utilized properly, they can seamlessly blend in with the user experience of your app.

Send promotions and enticing offers to every user in a mass push notification. Or, carefully tailor a clever marketing strategy via push notifications to help grow and retain your user base.

Ultimately, push notifications can serve as an integral part of your larger marketing strategy for your business.

Giving users access to inn-app posting capabilities is a great way to engage and update your customers as well.

In-App Posting

“One picture is worth a thousand words.”

Piggybacking off that famous adage, one post is worth a thousand words.

In-app posts, seen in apps like Instagram and Facebook, are another fantastic functionality that allows users to stay engaged with your app and ultimately, help grow your business. Simultaneous to this, provide the ability for your app’s users to follow other accounts they like or find relevant to their needs.

Not only will it help you better market your app, but it will entice other businesses and users to engage, grow, and stay updated with their in-app followers (your app, that is). It is truly a win-win for everyone.

Providing in-app posting, whether through a newsfeed or even dedicated message board, can add a personal touch for users to share their personality with the rest of the world. This can be a great community building element.

Apps like Instagram and TikTok in particular help fill users’ feed with current events and relevant user-generated content and most importantly, keep them coming back.

Adding posts to your application allows you and your users to become closer and better acquainted with your business. They’ll feel more a part of things.

In the absence of providing in-app posting on the user side, a comment section for your app’s content can be a great stop-gap. Of course, this means you’ll need to moderate or provide strict built-in comment protocols to keep things PG.

Just like in-app posts, in-app videos are another great functionality to make your app shine.

Video Sharing

This is where Tiktok truly excels, where previous apps such as the now-defunct Vine and tenacious Snapchat once reigned supreme.

Check out this post on the many reasons TikTok has so quickly amassed such a large following, including measures like adding a watermarked logo to app generated videos and providing easy in-app access to cross-post to other social media platforms.

In-app video allows your users to add even more personal flavor than can be achieved with in-app text and photo sharing alone.

Video content is easier to perceive than written or photo posts. Providing easy access to video subtitling capabilities only increases the likelihood of users logging in more often.

From where the user is sitting, this feels more like the experience they receive in their day-to-day. With videos, you can simply get more information across, and more effectively at that.

Stories

Adding stories to your app is about more than just sharing experiences. Stories provide a way to not bombard your users with content on their feed, providing a separate interface to share day-to-day life.

While Snapchat paved the way with stories, pretty much all the other social media applications followed shortly thereafter.

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Youtube quickly began implementing it. Most recently, Twitter introduced Fleets as a cross between stories and live audio sharing functionality now seen in up-and-comer Clubhouse.

Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day, and there is now a huge market for stories. Particularly if we take tally of all the big dawgs scrambling to quickly implement them into their app.

User profile-generated stories are an important channel for sharing experiences close up in a compact format. Click To Tweet

They can also be a clever way to run more ads and increase app revenue at the same time.

This is simply the way of things in an increasingly saturated mobile marketplace. Popular apps seize onto what’s trendy to stay relevant and  keep and increase their share in the marketplace.

Your app should be no different.

When logging into your social media app (or any other type of app), you can make it easier for your users to sign in by integrating social login capabilities.

Social Login Integration

54% of users report they may actually leave a website or app, rather than complete an individual registration form.

You may want to consider opting for a social login API for your app verses including your own login functionality.

Plugging in a simple API to enable social logins for your app could not only save you upfront in development costs, but also maintenance down the road.

Password fatigue is real, and if data is what you’re after with your own user registration process, it may be a moot point: 88 percent of users in a survey reported they often sign-up with fake information.

This can limit any pesky password or login-related requests from users, which can end up costing your company on average about $70 per request!

Top Social Login Services:

1. Facebook

2. Google

3. LinkedIn

4. Twitter

5. Github

With social login integration, your app is guaranteed to flow better and require less thinking overall for your users. This is always a good thing with an ever-shortening attention span and ever more apps demanding user’s time.

Next, you’ll want to monetize your app’s services.

There are two ways you can integrate payments into your app.

The first way you can integrate payments into your app is by charging users before they use your app.The second way you can integrate payments is through a third-party app payment gateway like Stripe API.

Live Audio Sharing

Finally, the latest shiny app functionality to arrive on the scene: the ability to livestream audio in real-time for users to join in.

Clubhouse has taken the app world by storm, launched in April 2020 with just 1,500 users, currently it has over 6 million and counting.

This is especially compelling, considering it’s not even available for Android devices right now.

Entrepreneurs and elite members of the business community took to The Clubhouse app like water during a drought throughout the height of the Pandemic. Think of it like a podcast that’s happening in real-time, except you can only access the content as it is being generate, just like radio content. Social media companies have since taken note, working to swiftly integrate the features that have contributed to Clubhouse’ runaway success into their own platforms.

It’s rumored there’s a Hulu documentary in the works.

Facebook is reportedly working as we speak to create a live audio component.

In the same vein, Twitter Fleets allows users to share ‘fleeting’ thoughts via text, photo or video and after 24 hours, they’ll disappear from view. However, this has more in common with the previously discussed ‘stories’ feature that’s slowly being integrated in popular social apps across the board.

Likely in a bid to hone in on the brand’s upward trajectory, there was even a trojan disguised as a Clubhouse app for Android.

But the Clubhouse app’s success has not come without its own controversy. Even with an exclusive invite-only app sign up, inflammatory content has found its way onto the app.

As is the case with all content that is user-generated, careful moderation is needed to ensure a positive user experience. As we know, harmful online rhetoric can lead to negative real-world outcomes.

Clubhouse is far from the only app dealing with this major implication of the fourth industrial revolution. Facebook has long been a focal point in the fight for better content moderation, with Twitter and Discord similarly embattled.

The challenges of moderating live audio are set against the broader, global battle over content moderation on big social media platforms, which has even drawn complaints in the political arena as being either too restrictive or dangerously permissive.

Final Thoughts

All things considered, spending time to plan and figure out which features work best for your app can be the difference between a successful app and an app that falls flat.

Always remember, just because it is trendy and in-demand doesn’t mean it will work for your app.

Same goes for what’s tried and true.

Not to mention, the impact brand has on making or breaking an app’s success.

These are all things you’ll need to take into account as you study the app marketplace and learn from its success stories (and failures, too).

Questions on which features are right for your app? We are here to help you make it app’n with your app!

About ChopDawg.com: Since 2009, we have helped create 350+ next-generation apps for startups, Fortune 500s, growing businesses, and non-profits from around the globe. Think Partner, Not Agency.

 

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