Everyone has those friends who we tease for being addicted to their phones. It seems like every time you look, they’re back on their favourite social media app or mobile game. While this type of dynamic may look funny at first glance, app developers are constantly on the search to determine how and why certain apps lead to this type of addictive mobile behaviour.
The truth is we're all connected to our smartphones a little more directly than we often realise. As data from mobile analytics firm Flurry shows, over 176 million users open apps on their phones 60 times a day or more. Other researchers suggest that number is even higher – sometimes up to 150 checks each day!
We all know that there making an app worth checking that much is the challenge many developers face every day. And with a projected $12.6 billion in mobile gaming revenue expected for 2016, you can bet that it’s a lucrative market to develop within. However, the challenge now is to make an app that really stands out among the crowd. You want to make your app addictive in a way that encourages users to check it regularly. Of course, how can you achieve this goal?
Understanding How Psychology Affects Mobile Usage
Believe it or not, the answer to this question rests in basic human psychology. If you pull back a little bit to analyse the data, you’ll see plenty of recurring trends and themes behind the most successful games and apps. And all of these factors rest in some element of human psychology.
Check out our list of the top 5 ways you can directly connect with this psychological aspect to make your apps even more attractive to users.
1. The Art of Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement simply refers to giving you something good for achieving a goal or completing a task. Highly successful apps are masters at providing positive reinforcement to players. Whether it’s a ‘Delicious’ declaration in Candy Crush or even a series of ‘Likes’ on Facebook, this type of reinforcement keeps you coming back.
The reason relates back to your own brain. These apps deliver dopamine during positive experiences – which makes you feel good. Obviously you’ll want to come back for more of those good feelings whenever possible.
2. Connecting with Users’ Emotions
Making an emotional connection can serve as a great way to encourage the regular use of your app. But how can you achieve this (seemingly) lofty objective? The truth rests in the subconscious.
This one relates to how your subconscious emotions and feelings create connections you may not realise. Believe it or not, popular items within games like candy or fruit are appealing from a subconscious level. And the bright, attractive colours these apps showcase reflect those underlying good feelings. By understanding and targeting these types of factors, you can make an even better connection with you audience.
3. Ever-Expanding Objectives & Goals
Once a game is over, what is the motivation to continue playing? Truthfully, users will often check back far less frequently if they have fully beaten a game.
The solution to this problem is to develop an endless game. This could be the type of game where you have virtually never-ending levels. It could be a game where your armour or equipment or level increases slowly give you access to more challenging areas. In all cases, the goal is to create an ongoing line of objectives that keep your player striving to succeed. It’s that success – and that corresponding dopamine rush – that keeps users playing.
4. Follow a Freemium Build Style
Love it or hate it, freemium is the type of mobile business model that consistently showcases success. Make your game easy to play and inclusive of all the points already listed above. From there, allow for in-app purchases to help better facilitate the game for players who don’t want to wait for upgrades, level-ups or other game components.
Part of this factor relates directly to the waiting period for achieving an objective within a game and getting that dopamine rush. If your app offers a faster and easier solution to achieve an objective, people will gladly pay a premium price for it. That way, you can offer your apps for free and still have a viable revenue stream from your users.
5. Socialise the App
When you’ve accomplished something great, what’s one of the first things you like to do? You want to let other people know about it! That’s where social media comes into play. Social media is another addictive outlet that utilises all sorts of psychology methods to keep us logged in. And it’s important that you have a connection to these outlets for your app as well.
Make your app easy to share, like, post, etc. This will give users a direct way to show off what they’ve accomplished in a place where other people will see it. This can make users feel even better about the app while simultaneously showcasing your app to a broader audience. Even better, this type of sharing may even encourage others to download it.
Have anything else to add? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.