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How to Make Apps for Millennials Part II

There are over 1.5 million apps available across iOS, Android, and Windows platforms and the vast majority get lost in the shuffle. As more developers…


There are over 1.5 million apps available across iOS, Android, and Windows platforms and the vast majority get lost in the shuffle. As more developers and brands tap into the $25 billion per year market, breaking into the top 10 requires an impressive 4,000 downloads a day. And now that 80% of millennials in the U.S. own a smartphone, their opinion can have considerable influence on your app’s success.

How do mobile entrepreneurs and marketers gain traction with this influential generation?

Companies need to answer the question every millennial is asking as they tap the “Install” button in the app store: What’s in it for me? What can companies do with their mobile products that will attract these coveted consumers and keep them connected? For mllennials, it’s all about being offered something new, whether that's information or experiences they cannot get anywhere else.


Offer Them Something New

The biggest mistake companies make when creating their own mobile app is redundancy. Instead of offering a new service through mobile, companies attempt to recreate the brick-and-mortar experience in their apps.

For example, Starbucks’ app provides store location information and a place to store a user’s favorite drink order. But Google Maps can easily find a Starbucks location and offer walking, driving, and public transportation directions. And remembering your favorite drink order? That shouldn’t be too tough. You certainly don't need an app for that.

Successful companies like Pocket and ScoreCenter use mobile as a way to offer new products and services enhanced by mobile’s ease and accessibility. With the majority of millennials owning smartphones, it’s easy to assume that they're connected at all times:  in the subway, in classrooms, in the movie theater, and yes, on the toilet. (In 2012, a survey by 11Mark found that 75% of Americans admitted to using their phones in the bathroom).

The challenge in hooking millennials is first, uncovering a need, second, responding with a feature that only you can deliver, and three, making that the focus of your app.

Three years ago, Domino’s didn’t have the best track record with its pizza. Sales were down and customers weren’t pleased with their cheesy products. In 2010, the company decided to make mobile delivery the core feature of its new app. This gave hungry late-night millennials the ability to order pizza with a couple clicks instead of having to talk to someone on the phone. The combination of online ordering and Domino’s honest rebranding strategy, admitting that their old pizza recipe wasn’t very good, resulted in a full 236% stock increase that same year.


Pocket, ScoreCenter, and Dominos are successful because they’re not asking users to create new behaviors: reading articles while commuting, checking sports scores, and ordering pizza aren’t new habits.

Instead, these companies are disrupting existing routines by providing the same services conveniently at millennials’ fingertips. When done right, mobile can open new doors for brands. With hundreds of thousands of competitors on the market, it’s more important than ever to capture millennial users by offering a unique mobile experience that enhances their everyday routines.

Find Emilie Futterman's Google Plus profile here: Google

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