Apps are where it’s at. In the United States, we spend an average of 5 hours a day on our phones, and 87% of that is spent in apps.

But the App Store is a scary place. The average app loses 95% of its users after three months. Android apps are uninstalled twice as often as those on iOS, largely because of their popularity in the developing world: a phone with lower storage will require its user to manage app storage much more carefully. But even in the United States, smartphone users are particular and fickle, and will not hesitate to delete an app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs or it annoys them.

Top 10 Mobile Apps by Penetration of App Audience

How do you join 5% whose apps survive? Follow the acronym PREFER to make sure that your app will succeed:

  • Be Practical. Make sure your app is useful, and offers something that improves users’ lives. Whether your purpose is to inform, entertain, simplify, improve efficiency or build community, provide utility.
  • Be Restrained. Good apps are polite. They don’t ask for too much access to their users’ information, or grow overzealous or annoying with alerts.
  • Be Engaging. Two of the most important letters of the alphabet might be: UX. The experience of using your app should create what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow” – being effortlessly drawn in. The barriers to use are low: it’s easy to begin, with low or no set-up.
  • Be functional. Flawlessly so. One crash will make 92% of iPhone users delete an app. Data breaches make 87% of customers unlikely to use a business again. There’s no room for error.
  • Be Enticing. While you can’t be intrusive, you do need to find ways to lure users back. Reminders and notifications can help with this — but, of course, not too many.
  • Be Remarkable. What makes something memorable for you? Make those elements come alive in your app. Provide your users with an experience worth talking about, and they will.

Talk to your Intouch team to figure out whether an app is right for you, and how to make sure your audience will P.R.E.F.E.R. yours!