5 Psychological Hacks To Boost App Downloads
Sean McGowanSeptember 01st, 20174 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
Remember Google Wave?
It’s okay if you don’t—in fact, we’re pretty sure Google would like to forget as well. Google Wave was a mobile app designed to make the often-complex communication process between group contacts as easy as pie. At least, that’s what it was supposed to do.
Instead, the UX design agency that crafted the Wave’s interface seemed to make sure nothing was easy about this overhyped mobile app. Why did it fail, even after having Google’s name attached to it?
Because it had Google’s name attached to it.
The mobile app was marketed on such a grand scale that everyone’s expectations were astronomically high. Besides having a poor UX, Google failed at managing expectations. Users were so unforgiving with the app’s shortcomings that it led to a shutdown of the platform.
Had Google been able to live up to even bare expectations, it could have returned to the drawing board and rework the UX. But Google failed to account for the psychological influences of their users, namely their perception of the Google brand.
Designing for small, often subtle psychological phenomena may seem pointless, but with more than 4 million apps available on both the App Store and Google Play, you have to take into consideration the psychology of it while designing the platform.
To make sure your mobile app cuts through the clutter, here are five psychological hacks to get people to download your app.
1) Tell Them What They Want To Hear
If you want people to download your mobile app, you have to indulge their biases. The psychology of selective perception states people consciously or subconsciously engage with messages that align with their beliefs.
If you want your mobile app to receive the downloads it deserves, listen to what users want from you. A staggering 14% of users will not use a mobile app that is difficult to use, hence they are biased towards comfortable navigation.
To align yourself with this belief, provide an intuitive navigation, designed in such a way that traffic flows from one page to another. If people see your app as easy to use, they will be more inclined to download your app.
Instagram, the popular social media platform, hit it off with users by coming up with an intuitive navigation. Throughout browsing, the navigation options remain in the same place. The buttons are positioned in such way that they can be used with just one hand.
Users always know how to proceed when they want to access a particular screen. This is one of the reasons why Instagram has roughly 700 million active users worldwide.
2) Embracing The Counterintuitive
Reverse psychology is a great hack for generating a specific reaction by calling for something contradictory. In simpler terms, you do the opposite of what users might expect from you. The unpredictability of it is what captures the attention.
It’s a great ‘pull’ tactic that curbs content flooding. When you stop screaming at users, you are allowing them to relax and put a lot more thought into your mobile app.
Take a cue from Little Caesars, the popular pizza chain, that used reverse psychology to build up its email list. It might not be for a mobile app, but it is an effective tactic nonetheless. This campaign worked because it was witty and made people curious.
3) Align With The Customer's Self-Concept
What are the chances that you will earn a download if people say ‘this mobile app isn’t for me’?
You need to make consumers feel worthy of your app before downloading—they need to see themselves using your mobile app. That requires generating with content that is aligned with a customer’s self-perceived value or self-concept.
Before asking consumers to download your app, try to understand what their self-concept is. Then, find a way to fit your mobile app within their self-perceived value. This will help in shaping UX experience for your potential customers.
Next time, when your UX design agency is brainstorming concepts for your mobile app's UI, consider taking these three aspects into account:
Self-image - How users see themselves in society.
Ideal self - The type of user one wants to be.
Self-esteem - How much users love themselves.
This allows your mobile app’s design to align with a customer’s self-perceived value. Thereby, enabling a positive user experience, and potentially reducing customer churn rates.
The Persuasive Power Of Color
The color is the second most important aspect of getting people to download your mobile app, after functionality. When 90% of subscription and purchase decisions are based on color alone, your mobile app cannot afford to go wrong with its color scheme.
Color doesn’t just help boost your download count, it also promotes interactions and helps recall value. Here are a few color schemes that might work for your mobile app:
Monochromatic - he simplest color scheme, a monochromatic palette involves taking each color from the same base . This color scheme is very easy on the eyes, and can produce a soothing effect. Blue and green are the more popular hues used for this scheme.
Complementary - This scheme uses colors which are opposite to each other. Due to their high contrast, they easily grab attention.
Analogous - This scheme is made from related colors that don’t stand out from each other. One of the colors is the dominant one while the others are used to enrich the scheme. The only hiccup in this scheme is deciding which vibrancy of color to use.
Calm, a meditation app, uses an analogue color scheme, with blue as the dominant color and green to enrich it. This color scheme helps making users feel relaxed and peaceful.
Less Is More
A successful acquisition strategy is one which takes less time to get more customers. Many UX designers tend to fall prey to the idea of providing too many choices to customers. This eventually leads to choice paralysis.
When provided with too many alternatives to get to the same destination (downloading your app), you end up confusing the customers.
These confusions make customers unhappy and exhausted, leading to abandonment. To avoid this mishap, limit yourself from providing too many choices. Design your app with limited alternatives so your users can arrive at clear decisions.
Human is an all-day activity tracker app. It has a clutter free interface with minimum menu options. With less number of choices to make, users find the UI extremely easy.
It’s not just the data that's going to get you downloads—it's about humanizing your mobile app. These psychological hacks give life to your application, resulting in a platform that’s inherently more likable and human-centric. Influencing user psyche can help you develop strong personal relationships with your users and encourage constant engagement, lasting long after the download.
Niraj is the founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. When not working at Hiver on programming or customer support, Niraj likes to play guitar. Niraj can be reached on Twitter @nirajr.