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How to Make Apps for Millennials

There are over 1.5 million apps available across iOS, Android, and Windows platforms yet 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 yet 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 4,000 downloads a day. 80% of millennials own a smartphone, so their opinion can have considerable influence on an 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 themselves 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 millennials, it’s all about convenience.

It’s All About Convenience

Consider Uber and ScoreCenter, two very successful apps, and compare them to the mobile products developed by Longhorn Steakhouse and Starbucks. What about Uber and ScoreCenter make them so appealing to millennials? What have Longhorn Steakhouse and Starbucks missed?


Successful apps offer ease, convenience and functionality so users can simply open them up instead of resorting to using a browser, such as Safari. Uber, ESPN, and the rising star, Pocket, all offer important functions for their users, whether it’s finding a car in a city, checking scores while you’re out to dinner with your in-laws, or easily accessing articles you want to read while commuting to work.

These useful functions are what apps like Starbucks and Longhorn Steakhouse are missing. Sure, you can use the Starbucks app to find the nearest shop location, but anyone can throw a rock in Manhattan and chances are it’ll go through a Starbucks window. And the Longhorn Steakhouse app? All users do is flip a 3D steak on a grill. It’s much more rewarding to do that with a real grill, and it smells better too.


The ability to save articles to read later in locations that lack a network connection is convenient. Knowing that you can request a car to take you anywhere and then pay for directly from your phone, therefore eliminating the need to hail a cab and pulling cash out of your wallet is convenient and time-saving. Never missing out on a game because you can access all highlights and scores in one app is convenient. But if all your app offers is information that is more easily accessible somewhere else, or a silly game that in no way compares to CandyCrush, breaking the top 10 becomes a fool's errand.

Pocket, Uber, and ScoreCenter are successful because they’re not asking users to create new behaviors: calling for a car, checking sports scores, and catching up on news on your commute aren’t new habits. Instead, they’re 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.

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