delIn an ever expanding ecosystem of apps, it is extremely difficult to become top dog. Even the subcategories and niches, you have to work hard to ensure you come out on top and part of that is understanding that it’s not all about downloads.

We’ve already posted about the importance of user engagement. That’s the only way to really measure the success of your app and to ensure it will enjoy a long and profitable life.

Research has shown that on average, only 3 in 10 users will retain an app for more than 90 days. But getting 9 or even 10 out of 10 to retain it for that long isn’t really the best aim , you want to provide something that they will go back to time and time again. Depending on your app and its purpose, a user could keep it forever.

An app will not enjoy success if you build it simply because everyone else has started to. It’s got to be looked after, maintained and improved for it to do well. In short, you have to make a real effort with it. It doesn’t need to be where all of your attention is diverted, unless the app is your whole business, but it certainly does need a portion of your attention and hard work.

With 50 Billion apps downloaded to 248 million active devices (and that’s just iPhone) it’s pretty obvious that some apps will have to be deleted. But you have to make sure that yours is the wheat and not the chaff that will be discarded and deleted in this period of mass appicide. Here are a few ways of making sure you keep your app on top of the pile.

1)           Start off with a good idea. If it’s poorly thought out, the few users that download it in the first place will tire of it quickly.

2)           Design it well. Even if your idea is a game-changer, users won’t give it a chance if it isn’t well designed. First impressions count.

3)           Welcome users. Show them how to use the app and why it is so useful. That way, they’ll be much more likely to open it for a second time, rather than trashing it.

4)           Research. Releasing your app is not the final step. It’s only the beginning! Track data, use it and improve.

5)           Updates. App updates not only keep your app relevant but give you the opportunity to use what you have learned from your research. Updates allow you to build on successes.

6)           Remind everyone of who and what you are. New users, lapsed users and your loyal ones. All can benefit from a targeted reminder of why your app is great and what’s in it for them.

“Appicide” sorts the good from the bad. Make sure your app doesn’t fall into the second category, and you won’t need to worry about appicide ruining what you’ve built.