Games are by far the most popular category in the app store, according to a survey by Statista. Among the users, which is in the nature of the thing, are in contrast to categories such as business or aids above average number of children – a target group with very specific requirements.
If an app for children to be successful, then it is important to note in addition to the children – the users – and the parents. Because they are the ones who have the last word before downloading.
Free, Freemium or Paid. What is the financial model?
Basically, the content must always be good, no matter what the strategy of an app looks like. Before the start of the development phase, the question of monetization has to be answered. Is the app a marketing tool that supports a particular product or brand? Or is the app the real core of a business model? Only those who are aware of whether and when an app is paid for, can build a stringent concept. For all apps, regardless of the users, the costs must be communicated transparently in advance. However, especially for children, it is important that in-app purchases can only be made by the parents and the children are protected from unexpected costs.
The thumbnails must clearly show the USP
Children, like adults, look for the icon on the app store in the app store to show it on the home screen. The thumbnails, which also provide an impression of the gaming experience of the app prior to the download, therefore make a crucial contribution to the download decision. If these images are not immediately clear, what added value the app offers, what happens directly after the login or with what special features it captivates the users, the app loses interest of the children. And if parents can not imagine what exactly they are downloading for their children, then they will not even take that step. The first impression counts!
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Start directly with an action!
Children are curious and impatient – that’s a good thing! If an app lasts too long with long intros, explanations or user manuals, the children’s attention is quickly gone. To keep the interest, it therefore makes sense to start directly with an action (instant action). A simple field that lets you jump into the game with a “Here we go” or skip the intro if necessary, helps to channel the impatience of the users in the best possible way.
Children need a self-explanatory and adequate UI and UX design
The age of children coming into contact with smartphones and apps for the first time is falling. This realization also implies that the target group consists of users who are not yet able to read fluently or not yet. Offering help via text fields is therefore not an option. The app must therefore be designed so that children can intuitively understand and use the application. It is important to pay attention to the level of development of the target group so that it is demanded but not overwhelmed. Useful animations can be helpful, for example pointing fingers pointing to the next step. Or little mascots that guide the children through the app as a recurring motif and accompany them during the game. If such interactions do not take place, motivation quickly turns into disappointment and the app is no longer used.
After the release of the app, just hoping for sudden success is a bad idea. With currently 2.1 million apps in the Apple AppStore, the competition is huge. In order not to perish here, an app always needs a communication concept that accompanies the launch, attracts attention and finally also the necessary downloads. Reviews and test reports are the first port of call for targeted attention. Increased visibility can also be achieved through a meaningful combination of digital and analogue in both directions: If the app is a marketing tool for a specific product, then actions are available at the POS, which transfer attention from the store to the app. At the same time, the opposite way is conceivable, over which, for example, vouchers can be redeemed from an app in the store.
Privacy protection is a top priority for children’s apps
Certainly, the analysis of tracking data can provide interesting information that can be used to continuously improve apps. But if children are the target group, other – even higher – standards should be set, so that even children who can not yet estimate the importance of a simple check mark, are protected. For example, based on this special duty of care, Apple prohibits advertising and analytics services in children’s apps. Anyone wishing to collect data about their use behavior with the app should use live tests that keep the data in a safe place and protect the privacy of the children.
Marathon instead of sprint. Regular tests and care must be!
An app is not ready when it’s ready to download in the stores. Then most of the work is done first, but an app must also be regularly adapted, maintained and enriched with new content. The requirements of the providers can change as well. Of course, the costs incurred should always be considered. In order to work efficiently, regular tests, which ideally begin even before the rollout, are absolutely necessary.
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Rolf Kosakowski is the founder and CEO of KB & B, a marketing agency for children’s and family marketing and a proven specialist for questions about these special target groups.
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