The app store is a very different place than it was when it first launched. In the early days, the app store was dominated by novelty apps. These were apps that were designed to be nothing more than a bit of fun.
They had no real purpose or value, other than to provide a brief moment of entertainment. However, as the app store has grown, the bar has gotten higher and higher for new apps to succeed.
Consumers have more choices than ever before, and they are becoming more discerning in what they download. If an app only has short-term novelty value, it is unlikely to gain traction in today’s heavily saturated app market. This doesn’t mean that there is no place for novelty apps.
There are still plenty of people who enjoy a bit of fun on their phones. But the days of fart button apps and bubble wrap simulators dominating the app store are long gone. If you want your app to succeed, you need to offer something more than just a brief moment of amusement.
Struggle with Novelty Apps
To understand why novelty apps are struggling to find success in today’s app store, it’s important to look at how they became popular in the first place.
The Apple App Store officially launched on July 10, 2008. Before then, apps like Weather, Notes, Calendar and Photos came pre-installed with no way to access third-party apps.
Then everything changed.
The App Store allowed developers to create and sell their own apps for the first time. This was a game-changer for the mobile industry, and it quickly led to a boom in app development. In the first year after the App Store launched, over 1.5 billion apps were downloaded.
In the early days of the app store, there were far fewer choices available to consumers. This meant that even the most basic and novelty apps had a good chance of being downloaded and used. If an app was even mildly entertaining, there was a good chance people would give it a try.
Novelty Apps in Their Prime
This led to a lot of great app ideas, but it also led to a lot of bad ones. The app store was quickly flooded with low-quality, novelty apps that offered nothing more than a brief diversion.
But as the app store has grown, the number of choices available to consumers has exploded. There are now millions of apps to choose from, and it’s getting harder and harder for new apps to stand out.
This is especially true for novelty apps. Because these apps tend to be lightweight and offer only a brief moment of entertainment, they are often quickly forgotten about once people download them.
In a world with an endless supply of apps, there is little incentive for people to keep an app on their phones if it isn’t offering them something of value.
After all, when was the last time you thought it would be fun to play with a virtual bubble wrap app? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been since 2008.
The Future of Novelty Apps
So, what does the future hold for novelty apps?
It’s hard to say. The app store is an ever-changing landscape, and it’s impossible to predict the Next Big Thing.
However, one thing is certain: if an app is going to succeed in today’s market, it needs to offer more than just a brief moment of amusement. It needs to have some sort of lasting value.
The Reality of the App Store Today
The app store is an incredibly competitive place. There are millions of apps available, and new ones are being added every day. In order to be successful, your app needs to offer something that other apps don’t.
If you’re thinking about releasing a novelty app, it’s important to make sure that it has some sort of lasting value. Otherwise, it’s likely to get lost in the sea of choices and never be downloaded.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every app needs to be groundbreaking or life-changing. But it does need to offer something that people will want to use on a regular basis. Otherwise, it’s likely to end up as just another forgotten app.
What Makes an App Purposeful Versus Novel?
When you’re brainstorming app ideas, it’s important to ask yourself what purpose your app will serve. Is it something that people will use on a daily basis? Or is it something that they’ll only use once and then forget about?
If your app is nothing more than a bit of fun, it’s likely to have a hard time finding success in today’s app store. Now, what about gaming apps? Of course, games are nothing but a bit of fun.
Why do gaming apps have success while novel apps fail?
The answer is simple: gaming apps offer value. They provide an escape from reality, a way to relax, and a fun challenge – a challenge that often grows the more you play with increased levels and friendly competition.
They are designed to be addictive and keep people coming back for more. In other words, they offer something that people want and are willing to spend time on.
Do Novel Apps Have Any Chance of Revival?
The irony is that a handful of novel apps may have had a chance for long-term (or semi-long-term) success if they had gamified their app.
- A bubble wrap simulator app? Boring.
- Pop as many bubbles of bubble wrap in 30 seconds? A bit more exciting.
- A fake beer drinking app? Yawn.
- See who can “chug” the fake beer the fastest? Not a terrible concept.
You get the idea!
The fact is, most novelty apps are nothing more than one-trick ponies. If you want your app to be successful, you need to offer something more.
There’s An App for That: Designing an App with Value
There are a variety of types of apps that are successful in the app store today. Gaming apps, productivity apps, and social networking apps are all doing well.
But what makes these apps successful? And more importantly, what can you learn from them?
- Gaming Apps
Gaming apps are successful because they offer an escape from reality. They provide a way to relax and have some fun. In addition, they often challenge players and keep them coming back for more.
- Productivity Apps
Productivity apps are successful because they make people’s lives easier. They help people get things done faster and more efficiently. And they often do this in a way that is fun and easy to use.
- Social Networking Apps
Social networking apps are successful because they allow people to stay connected with friends and family – and even strangers, celebrities and businesses. They provide a way for people to share their thoughts and feelings, as well as photos and videos.
In addition, social networking apps often offer a sense of community, which is something that people crave.
What do these all have in common? For one, every time a user opens the app, they can expect to see something different than when they closed it.
There’s always a new level to reach, a new task to check off, and a new photo or video to view or mimic. In other words, each app offers value.
Brainstorm Mobile App Ideas with Purpose
The next time you’re brainstorming app ideas, think about what purpose your app will serve. What value will it offer? How will it make people’s lives better? Keep these things in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to designing an app that has a chance of succeeding in today’s app store.
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About the Author
Joseph Russell is an award-winning app designer, app strategist and founder of DreamWalk. Over his 11 year career, Joseph has helped hundreds of businesses and startup founders plan, design, develop and launch successful apps.
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