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Target specific audience for app success: report

As the mobile application market matures, marketers will need to hone in on a specific target audience to create and refine apps that work for that particular group of users, according to a new report from Flurry.

Flurry?s Christmas app download report showed that the Christmas app download spike is diminishing over time, signaling that the market is maturing away from the shiny-new-object stage. There was still a large jump in app downloads on Christmas compared to the first few weeks of December, but the jump was less than in previous years, showing that marketers will need to evolve along with the changing app market.

"The app market is crowded and consumers have more choice than ever before in terms of how to be entertained, how to shop, how to work, how to book travel, etc.," said Mary Ellen Gordon, director of industry insights and analysis at Flurry, San Francisco. "At the same time, they now expect to be able to do everything on mobile.

"To stand out in a crowded market, it's really important that developers understand what problem their app is solving, and for what audience," she said. "Then they should develop a marketing strategy to specifically target that audience.

"It's impossible to be everything to everyone and the more focused your product is and your marketing is on a specific audience segment, the more you can measure results and figure out what's working."

Christmas spike
For the report, Flurry looked at more than 400,000 apps to determine Christmas trends. The results showed that app downloads were up 91 percent on Christmas Day compared to the average day in the first three weeks of December.

Flurry found that Christmas app downloads were up 11 percent in 2013 from Christmas downloads in 2012, but average December day downloads were up 25 percent in 2013 from average December day downloads in 2012.

This growth has slowed immensely from the previous year where Christmas downloads increased 97 percent from 2011 to 2012 and average December day downloads increased 90 percent.

Flurry interpreted the data as a sign that the app market is maturing, and Christmas does not have the same impact on app downloads as it used to.

Most consumers already have the apps they want or need, and few are getting their first smartphone or tablet on Christmas. Consumers who are receiving or purchasing their second or third mobile device already know what apps they like for the most part and are not as likely to go out and purchase lots of new apps on Christmas.

This translates into less of an increase in app downloads on Christmas day.

The countries that are newer to mobile and may be more likely to download new apps tend to not celebrate Christmas so they would not contribute to increases this time of year either.

Within the app market, leisure apps saw the most action over Christmas with games and social apps being downloaded on Christmas at twice the rate they were on a typical December day. Media and lifestyle apps also saw a lot of growth over Christmas.

Since marketers can no longer assume a general jump in downloads over Christmas, they will need to come up with a new strategy in 2014.

Flurry advises that marketers specify an exact target user group for their app and market directly to them. Instead of trying to attract the general public, marketers should go for a niche audience.

These niche users will be more valuable for a marketer and will be more likely to stick around, as long as the app provides a unique value for those users.

?If you look at the most popular apps, they fall into a pattern: Make something easier, give valuable information, save money or entertain,? said Marc Parrish, an advisor at Appboy, New York.

Mr. Parrish is not affiliated with Flurry. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

?However, the commonality across all of these is providing a tailored experience for groups of users, if not each individual user,? he said. ?Think of Pandora, foursquare, Groupon, LivingSocial, ESPN, even Angry Birds ? they all provide a huge component of personalization for a specific audience. It's what breaks you from the pack.?

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York