I had a bunch of people asking me about my twitter post regarding 2015 app trends (https://twitter.com/carterthomas).
These predictions come from my own networking/conversations in San Francisco and from looking closely at historical markets, specifically the internet. Apps will evolve very much how websites did, but the MARKET will evolve differently…because apps are a closed system as opposed to the WWW which is open.
Let me explain a bit more:
1. Updates > Launches. As more apps enter the store, getting organic and “launch” traffic is going to fall the wayside. It's like launching a blog – just because you sign up for Tumblr and have a good domain certainly doesn't mean you're going to get traffic as soon as you launch. This is where apps will go. This is NOT a bad thing at all, it just means that the focus will start to slowly shift from making hundreds of apps to splitting time between volume and depth.
2. Facebook ads dominating. I spoke about this last winter – Facebook's demographic targeting is ridiculous. Because they own so much data + people (especially with their WhatsApp purchase), they can pinpoint everyone and everything. Look for them to revolutionize mobile advertising.
3. Engagement > Keywords for discovery. Engagement of apps is going to become the ultimate metrics for Apple and Google in terms of rewarding good search rankings. There simply isn't enough room for keywords and titles to accomodate everyone the way that quality apps can. Key takeaway – build apps for users, not for downloads.
4. Push notifications will be huge. Along the lines of engagement, the ability to deliver information and retain users will become very important. While I don't see email getting phased out anytime soon, push notifications are certainly going to become a bigger part of the app experience. Marketing campaigns and deep linking to specific parts of the app using these notifications will become even more powerful than they are now.
5. Source codes will be sold for architecture, not prior historical proof. When you look at website templates, you never see someone talking about how much money they made with that template – they just show you features and what it's built for. That's how app source codes should be seen. Why it's unique, why it's great, why it's an inexpensive way for you to build winning marketing/engagement strategy. I think this still has a way to go because the charts and niche markets can still be arbitraged, but you'll see prices drop and quality increase.
6. “Registrations” in apps will be gold. Getting users to Oauth with Facebook or email will be a goldmine for your apps. Not only because of the marketing data (as I mention in my previous post), but because of the algoritms you can build to serve them better experiences. The more you can have someone engage in your app, the more success you will have.
7. Less VC exits. I think 2015 is going to see less apps being acquired for their user base and more apps being acquired for their conversion potential. Example would be if I have a medical app that can turn any LSAT student into an average revenue of $7 via In-app purchases, that would be more attractive than an LSAT app with 1M users, but no revenue potential.
In other words, the “bubble” will shrink and VC's will start assessing apps the way they do other businesses. Bad news is that there will be less Cinderella stories and valuations. Good news is you'll be able to sell an app for 5x revenue like you could with another business.
Of course I can't predict the future, but I think this is where it's going!
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