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    5 MIN READ

    What Motivates Users to Download Apps?

    By Derek

    This is a simple straightforward question, right? Well it is a simple question with a simple answer. First you need to know why the user is looking for an app. The simplest answer is so that they can solve an existing problem. So, what motivates users to download apps? Motivation is the keyword here. This is the driving force that leads to a user wanting to download a specific app, in this case, your business’s application.


    If you scratch the surface of the question, you will realize that it needs a broader look and this will basically complicate the answer. In most of the things that we do in our daily lives, there are multiple apps. All industries have countless applications and more are still being developed. The question is, if there are all these applications in the same industry, what will motivate them to download a new app?


    Again, it is likely you will go with the simplest answer which is that the new applications are better than the existing ones. The truth is that the mobile app era has been around for some time and pretty much every one making an app knows how to make a good fresh one. This means that the newness is not the only thing behind the motivation.


    It is not all about the problem that the app will solve for the user or about the quality of the app; it’s about both of these qualities and more. One download and use is different from the others but the most important thing is that it helps the user solve a problem better than other apps can. Most users download an app because someone told them to download it, they saw an advertisement or because they have nothing else to do.


    Suddenly, there is no simple answer to what motivates users to download an app.


    The quality of the application is no longer the only thing that determines its success. There are other factors such as the audience you are targeting, what they need, what they desire, the problems they are facing, the people around them and the marketing strategies you employ. This means that just having an app does not make the cut if all these other factors will not be put into consideration.

    The Little Things Matter

    A recent study by Yahoo explains a number of motivations that drive users to download new applications. These motivations are broken into a number of categories


    A user has a problem they think can be solved by an app
    A user is bored and looking for something interesting such as a game
    A friend recommended the app
    They have an app that does not meet their needs


    In most cases, people think that apps downloads are purely based on problem solutions. According to the study by Yahoo, the top reason why most people download apps is boredom. Yes you heard that right, boredom. 80% of the people downloading applications are simply bored and want to download something interesting and this is how they find themselves on popular app stores.


    The second reason is recommendations from other people. A user will be motivated to have the app on their phone because a friend told them the app is good or they came across an advertisement. Friends are most convincing when it comes to recommendations and this is according to a study by Google. There is power in word of mouth and the Yahoo study shows that the main reason why most people will avoid your application is because of negative reviews. The next time you see a negative review, you should think about this statement.


    There are many people trying to get rid of ads but studies show that a good number of people downloaded apps as a result of advertisements. This means that advertising should not be ignored. You can significantly increase the app downloads by advertising to a target audience with a focus on demographics, device used among other metrics. You just need to make sure the ad is created in an interesting way.

    Apps Can Solve Problems

    After boredom, word of mount and other motivators, the fact that apps can solve problems comes in. According to the study by Yahoo, though the main motivators are boredom and recommendations, an app that does not seem to solve problems as effectively as new apps will be abandoned. If there is a problem in solving problems, the user will most probably download a newer or different app.


    Most of the app downloads happen on the go when the user faces a problem. This is referred to as the hungry audience. This is because they are always looking for something the market is not currently offering. This means that when the app is downloaded, it will not be used all the time and might actually be deleted after the problem is solved. This puts problem solving as a common motivation why apps are solved.

    Understanding the Motivations and Reasons

    Increasing conversion rates, improving engagement and improving loyalty are all daunting tasks but absolutely necessary. If you do not know why people are using your app, nothing will make sense.


    In today’s world of technology, applications are part of everything we do. People spend an average of 30 hours every day on apps every month. This is according to a study by Nielsen. Any situation that starts with ‘I want to’ will mostly end up with the user opening an app and finding what they want. It is your responsibility to find out what they want and make sure the process of finding it is easy.


    To have a successful app that is downloaded multiple times, you should ensure that you find out the reason why the app is downloaded and the motivation behind the download. Understanding why a user will download an app will give you an idea of what to include in your app for more downloads. A good idea is to work with professional developers to get a great app. If you are here, then you are in the right place.

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